Iron & Wine Albums?
December 20, 2008 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Which Iron & Wine album should I buy first? I've heard a few songs here and there and I like their sound. What's essential?
posted by ColdChef to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Get the album with Calexico, "In the Reins"...intro to two great bands for the price of one!

ACtually, if you want solo Beam, go for Our Endless Numbered Days. Oh god it's beautiful.

(shepherd's dog took me three listens to get into. OEND took about fifteen seconds to fall in love with.)
posted by notsnot at 8:27 PM on December 20, 2008

Our Endless Days Are Numbered is the one that grabbed me. The Creek Drank the Cradle is also very very good.
posted by kimdog at 8:27 PM on December 20, 2008

The Woman King and The Sea and the Rhythm EP's are really wonderful too, especially the title tracks.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:30 PM on December 20, 2008

My favorite is Our Endless Numbered Days.

All Iron & Wine albums are currently on sale on iTunes for $7.99, and there are a bunch of cheaper EPs as well.
posted by charmcityblues at 8:32 PM on December 20, 2008

I also prefer Our Endless Numbered Days.
posted by salvia at 8:34 PM on December 20, 2008

The only Iron & Wine song I've heard comes from the album Our Endless Numbered Days. The song was Passing Afternoon, and it's gorgeous.
posted by Night_owl at 8:36 PM on December 20, 2008

Which songs have you heard? His stuff -- Iron & Wine is just one guy actually, Sam Beam, with a band sometimes -- has changed a lot recently. The earlier recordings are mostly (all?) acoustic and have a wonderful lo-fi quality to them.

I have Creek Drank the Cradle and the EP The Sea and The Rhythm. I absolutely adore both of these. I don't know the other early full-length recording, Our Endless Numbered Days. I also have Shepherd's Dog but it is very different. It is good but it is not like listening to the same guy.

So, if the songs you have heard are the acoustic, sort of floaty ones, I would go with the earlier recordings. But really, there aren't that many; you could probably just get all of them and be happy with the multifacetedness.

On preview, I guess I'll get Our Endless Numbered Days! Also I have been meaning to get the Calexico one too. I like them a lot also. Glad to hear it's a good album.
posted by librarina at 8:41 PM on December 20, 2008

One of the things that I dearly love about The Creek That Drank the Cradle is that it was recorded in Beam's bedroom on a crappy, eighties-era four-track recorder. The particular hiss of that era of analog home studio equipment is intimately familiar to me and musicians of my era who cut our first demos on decks like that one. I find it homey and nostalgic and, in the context of Iron and Wine, beautiful and artistic.
posted by stet at 8:43 PM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

I always come back to The Woman King, but they are all good. I love the album with Calexico as well.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:59 PM on December 20, 2008

Another vote for The Creek Drank The Cradle. As others have mentioned, it is extremely lo-fi and wonderfully intimate. It consists entirely of Beam's acoustic guitar and whispered vocals. If you prefer a bigger sound, I'd suggest Our Endless Numbered Days or the In The Reins disc with Calexico.
posted by iamisaid at 9:15 PM on December 20, 2008

The earlier you go, the more lo-fi and solo. The later you go, the cleaner, bigger and more intricate it will become. Altogether, I prefer his earlier stuff: The Creek Drank the Cradle and The Sea and the Rhythm.
posted by Corduroy at 9:32 PM on December 20, 2008

My favorite Iron & Wine album - the one that has most consistently good songs (in my opinion) - is Our Endless Numbered Days. Nevertheless, my two favorite songs are not on that album - "Upward Over the Mountain" is on The Creek Drank the Cradle and "Jezebel" is on Woman King. And The Sea & the Rhythm has some sweet tunes, too.

In conclusion, you should be good whichever choice you make.
posted by shaun uh at 9:38 PM on December 20, 2008

Here's another vote for Our Endless Numbered Days. That was the album that made me love Iron and Wine.
posted by pootler at 11:50 PM on December 20, 2008

My vote goes out for: get them all and listen to them in order. I love the progression in his style.

Then, find out where he stops on the next tour and make it a point to get there. I've seen him twice in Florida and my God! He gives an excellent show.
posted by bilabial at 1:47 AM on December 21, 2008

Another vote for The Creek Drank the Cradle - stet put well the reasons why.
posted by tybeet at 3:35 AM on December 21, 2008

The Shepherd's Dog isn't getting a lot of love on here, but I think it is great. Woman King is also a superb EP. The album of his I like the least is the one with Calexico, but I think that pretty much all of them are tremendous.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 9:17 AM on December 21, 2008

You'll enjoy any/every Iron And Wine album. Get some Calexico too. But this week I found Terry Allen's 1975 album, Juarez, and I can't stop listening to it. Maybe everyone already knows about him, but I didn't.
posted by spork at 9:32 AM on December 21, 2008

In short, you should buy all of I&W's output, then go find yourself My Morning Jacket's At Dawn and either of Cash's last two albums before he passed. Whenever I listen to any of those albums, I feel like I should be driving a pickup truck late at night through the middle of nowhere. Saaaaaaaad, beautiful music.
posted by Bageena at 9:34 AM on December 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

just take it in smallish doses- i know from personal experience that too much Iron and Wine listening (especially in the car by yourself) can freak you our after a while.
posted by genmonster at 9:52 AM on December 21, 2008

The Creek Drank the Cradle is by far the best album of the 1890s. At least it sounds that way. One of the most amazing artistic achievements I've ever heard, honestly.
posted by billysumday at 1:46 PM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's all essential...there's not too many.

But yes, start with Creek Drank the Cradle and then listen to the rest of the albums in the order that they came out. I thought the Iron & Wine/Calexico album was a little weird, but when you listen to it in the context of the other albums, you realized it's exactly as it needs to be.
posted by redsparkler at 8:38 PM on December 22, 2008

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