Iron & Wine offers up its most eclectic and adventurous music to date on "The Shepherd's Dog," due Sept. 25 via Sub Pop.
Iron & Wine offers up its most eclectic and adventurous music to date on "The Shepherd's Dog," due Sept. 25 via Sub Pop. First single "Boy With a Coin," which is marked by hand claps and Sam Beam's multi-tracked vocals, will precede the album on July 10, backed by the non-album cuts "Carried Home" and "Kingdom of the Animals."
Beam told Billboard.com earlier this year 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."
With the exception of "Carousel," every song had its basis in a backlog of material that Beam has been gradually chipping away at for years. "It's still pretty sizable," he said. "I'm already working on the next one. A lot of them, you think you're on the right track, but when it comes time to record, they don't seem different enough."
Iron & Wine's lone show at present is a July 14 set at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.
Here is the track list for "The Shepherd's Dog":
"Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car"
"White Tooth Man"
"Lovesong of the Buzzard"
"House by the Sea"
"Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)"
"Boy With a Coin"
"The Devil Never Sleeps"
"Peace Beneath the City"
"Flightless Bird, American Mouth"