» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Iron & Wine
Woman King EP
Sub Pop Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

June 10, 2005
The extended player, commonly known as an 'EP', is an oft-overlooked form of recording, unless in fact it is something that demands the attention of the listener. Iron & Wine's Woman King EP is a release that does such a thing.

Sam Beam is the force behind Iron & Wine, as he writes all the material and usually performs it with the same three or four people, including engineer/producer Brian Deck (of Red Red Meat and Califone; producer of Tortoise, Liz Phair, Modest Mouse, etc.). The Beam-Deck connection comes through again on Woman King to create the moniker's characteristic weepy, infectious rocking-chair indie pop.

The recording is produced to the point of being almost too clean and hi-fi, an aspect that threatens to undermine the gritty, lo-fi nature that makes Beam's creations so appealing. At the core of this 'front porch' sound are instruments that rarely find their way into a pop spotlight: Beam's characteristic, music-box-sounding acoustic guitar is at the center, surrounded by banjo, violin, light drums, tin bells and even dulcimer. It is his voice, however, which truly drives the modest, forlorn feelings home; his strong, higher range is accentuated by the soft and sweet melodies of Sarah Beam.

In six songs and 24 minutes, Woman King is a brief and yet satisfying taste for what Iron & Wine is all about. Whereas his critical success, Our Endless Numbered Days, encompassed a blend of listless, nostalgic songs and percussion-driven aggressive tunes, the current recording plays mostly to the upbeat side, and this mood is consistent throughout. The EP is especially potent during tracks "Woman King," "Jezebel" and "Evening on the Ground (Lilith's Song)", and leaves the listener in tune with Beam's mood, desiring more.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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