Iron & Wine

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Last Saturday night we had the great pleasure of finally seeing The Head & the Heart perform live at the Madison Theater in Covington, KY. I say “great pleasure” because there’s really no better two words to describe it than GREAT (def: remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness) and PLEASURE (def: a source of delight or joy). We drove all the way down to Covington to see them open for Iron & Wine, since the show here in Indianapolis sold out quicker than I’d anticipated, and we weren’t about to let these guys make it through the Midwest without a visit from us…

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I’m still not totally taken with Sam Beam’s latest album as Iron and Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean – it has its moments for sure, but overall it just sort of sounds like the “college music” I spent most of college avoiding.

To be fair though, the opening track, “Walking Far From Home”, is an out-and-out gem that right from the start sets the bar unreasonably high for the rest of the album. It’s a gorgeous lyrical panorama along the lines of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” or even Beam’s own “The Trapeze Swinger,” then coupled with a beautifully haunting melody laid over lavish orchestration and production. That over-the-top production has gotten a lot of ink in recent reviews (or a lot of “pixels” I guess is more accurate), both for good and bad. But on this song at least, the production does exactly what it’s supposed to do – it turns a good song into a memorable moment, an artifact that is distinct in and of itself, above and beyond the power of the music and lyrics by themselves. It turns a simple recording of a man singing a song into a work of aural art. Am I waxing too eloquent? Just listen for yourself:

mp3: Iron and Wine – Walking Far From Home
from the album Kiss Each Other Clean (buy it here)

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You might have noticed yesterday that we have a brand new face around here! Our very good friend Niels is going to be a regular contributor from now on, popping up as much or as little as he likes. So be sure to give him a warm-whale-in-a-cubicle-welcome so he’ll feel at home on here!

Niels has been a close friend of mine and Logan’s for a long time, and a big part of our musical taste for just as long. In fact, I’m pretty sure the first time the three of us hung out was going to a concert in Park City, so there you have it. Music friends 4L. <3’s up in here. Well here’s a little playlist to celebrate Niels getting on board, and to just celebrate  all of my (our) amazing friends. I have no doubt that I’ve got some of the best friends in the world, and I know that Niels and Logan feel the same way, so this is for all you guys/girls. Enjoy!

mp3: Mason Jennings – Living In The Moment

mp3: Iron & Wine – Friends They Are Jewels

mp3: Mates of State – Like U Crazy

mp3: LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

mp3: Camera Obscura – I Need All The Friends I Can Get

mp3: Joe Cocker – With A Little Help from My Friend

mp3: Simon & Garfunkel – Old Friends

mp3: The National – Green Gloves

mp3: The White Stripes – We’re Going To Be Friends

mp3: Adem – These Are Your Friends

mp3: Lagwagon – To All My Friends

PS: That Lagwagon song on the end happens to be one of my very favorite songs from my youth. It’s a little out of character for this site, but punk rock was a big part of my teenage years (AKA: my bros before nice-young-ladies years) – and punk rock, with all it’s angst and us-againt-the-world pathos, also happens to be one of the most friends-centered genres of music out there (ahem, Bro Hymn). And you know what? In it’s drunken juvenile sort of way, this song is just as affecting as the more eloquent ones on here.

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