When: Fri., March 4, 7:30 p.m. 2011
Singer-songwriter Sam Beam said his major-label debut was going to be a throwback to 70s soft rock, and he wasn't kidding. Though Iron & Wine's fourth full-length, Kiss Each Other Clean, is more burned-out-houseboat rock than yacht rock (particularly the Van Morrison-like "Glad Man Singing"), I can practically smell a haze of patchouli incense and see a Warner Brothers label spinning on a cheap turntable, even when I listen to it on iTunes. While you can count me among the fans who miss the pregnant whisper of Beam's earlier work, I like the slightly gritty slickness of this album's decadent arrangements. And Beam's lyrics remain full of stunning turns of phrase—both stunningly apt and stunningly baffling, born of a deep understanding of the rhythm of words. One could accuse him of playing it a bit safe on Kiss—particularly in light of the leap he took with 2007's The Shepherd's Dog (Sub Pop)—but I have faith that the audacity lacking on the album will emerge onstage. —Monica Kendrick
Price: Sold out.