Iron & Wine

THEN: Not to doubt their ability to unearth a great band, but at first glance Iron and Wine might appear a very un-Sub Pop signing. A mellow fellow, hushed vocals, an acoustic guitar and a tape deck do not normally make up the type of act the label is renowned for. However, it quickly becomes clear that their judgement on Sam Beam's talents was spot on.

NOW: It still sounds like some lost tapes of a folk genius from the 60s or 70s. Sparse guitar, haunting vocals whispering evocative stories on the memories of loves found and lost. While I prefer his 2nd full album (Our Endless Numbered Days), this is still a great record - easily recommended as a soundtrack to staring out the window on a long train journey.

SUB POP SAYS: “An ode to an older … part of America defined by “traditional values,” pastoral imagery and arcane manners.”

KILLER TRACK: Upward Over The Mountain - although ‘Killer’ so isn’t the right word

NEXT: 2003 - The Postal Service - Give Up