'Dog' Day Afternoon

Iron & Wine offers up its most eclectic and adventurous music to date on "The Shepherd's Dog," due this week via Sub Pop. First single "Boy With a Coin," which is marked by hand claps and Sam Beam

Iron & Wine offers up its most eclectic and adventurous music to date on "The Shepherd's Dog," due this week via Sub Pop. First single "Boy With a Coin," which is marked by hand claps and Sam Beam's multi-tracked vocals, has been spinning at college radio since July.

Beam says he was aiming to make a "more playful" record this time around, and that spirit is felt on tracks like the jaunty, piano-infused opener "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car," the summer-friendly "Lovesong of the Buzzard" and the drumless West African highlife of "House by the Sea."

The artist's lyrics also take a turn for the surreal on the sitar-inflected "White Tooth Man," which references postmen crying while opening the mail, people being trampled in a Christmas parade and others who get sick after eating a meal in a strip club.

Members of Calexico guest on "Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)," which would have been right at home on the two groups' collaborative EP, "In the Reins." Elsewhere, "The Devil Never Sleeps" incorporates saloon piano and a down-home country feel, while Beam's electric guitar is the primary component of "Carousel."