Album: Iron & Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean (Beggars)

Having fused folk, country and African rhythms with singer-songwritery perfection, there didn't seem anywhere left for Sam Beam to go after 2007's kaleidoscopic The Shepherd's Dog.

Here, Beam adds funky Stevie Wonder synths to the mix. And marimba. Lots of marimba. Again, Beam has created a unique cosmic (and karmic) American music. Perhaps wilfully, the album's catchiest song, "Monkeys Uptown", is peppered with the F-word. Mainstream radio's loss.