Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Iron and Wine Kind of Smells Like Fall

>> Featured Artist: Pelle Carlberg

This Swedish songwriter Pelle Carlberg has apparently been tooling around in pop bands since the late '80s. Breaking solo in 2005, he seems to dwell in the pleasant-pop genre that been home to artists like Belle and Sebastian and, well, nearly all of the every other Scandinavian indie artists on the market.

Still, Carlberg has managed to bring something new to the table. His lyrics are well-written, even if they dance in and around theses and topics that have been explored time and time again. His music is part Beatles, part Beulah (even though Beulah is also certainly part Beatles).

"Clever Girls Like Clever Boys Much More Than Clever Boys Like Clever Girls" - easily the longest title of a song ever featued on the Toaster - is a cut reminiscent of the aformentioned Scottish indie pop outfit, from the diction to the way the dominant melody is much more complex than it seems - refusing to repeat three or four lines at a time. The track itself is more complex than comes across, building with layers that are not immediately heard.

Another interesting cut from Sweden, it would seem...

>> Album Lookout: The Shepherd's Dog
Iron and Wine - Due Out: September 25, 2007 Sub Pop

It's hard to write about Iron and Wine without a sense of awe. Everything Sam Beam does reeks of perfection and mystery. With next week's release of The Shepherd's Dog, Beam also now appears to be borderline compulsive in his output pace.

Since I caught the late show of Iron and Wine with Calexico last year, I've been high on expectations for whatever comes next. And, just as a true fan should be, I'm scared of being disappointed. After the Decemberists' Crane Wife and Rilo Kiley's Under the Blacklight (the latter, by the way, is far worse, but the Decemberists' follow-up to Picaresque might be the bigger buzzkill in my book), it's hard not to be a little wary of future output.

Apparently Sam Beam isn't scared. And, if "Boy With a Coin" is to believed, Beam and co. don't disappoint.

>> Reverting to: 1970

Admittedly, I'm a little light in my knowledge of "the greatest Irish songwriter" (as Glen Hansard put it at the Swell Season show last month). But this song, "Into the Mystic," which also happens to have been played during the Swell Season's encore, is as close as it gets to a masterpiece.

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