Iron & Wine The Sea & the Rhythm

An augmented version of a tour-only EP sold on Sam Beam’s extensive tour for last year's The Creek Drank the Cradle, this new EP features five songs culled from the same bedroom recordings as his debut full-length. Rather than a collection of castaway songs that were obviously cut from the album for a reason, The Sea & the Rhythm is both a beautiful reminder and a suitable introduction to Beam's intimate, warm timbre and delicate melodies. Like his debut full-length, the EP has a strong sense of monotony (mostly due to its lo-fi production) that could easily render the songs forgettable if it weren't for his strong sense of melody, lyrical ingenuity and, most importantly, the incredible feeling that Beam is purveying each note and lyric directly to the listener without ever coming across as anything close to insincere. (Sub Pop)