Sam Beam, who makes music under the hard and drunken moniker "Iron & Wine," has a wife, a few kids, and a little plot of land outside of Austin, Texas. His albums—rustic, lo-fi outfits of hushed whispers and acoustic guitar—are best with whiskey, a warm fire, and a loved one nearby. But in 2005, he started upping the ante; his Woman King EP had more complex instrumentation and song structure, much like his stellar In the Reins collaboration with Calexico that year. And consider the ante upped: his latest, The Shepard's Dog, is his best yet; at once warm, comforting, and even daring. Is that a sitar in the beginning of "White Tooth Man"? Who knows. It's been on repeat in my iTunes, nonetheless. With Califone. — Karla Starr
Van Halen, KeyArena, 7 p.m.
Aside from Led Zeppelin’s recent reconvening, this is probably the Least Likely to Happen Rock Reunion of the decade, and by all accounts, they’re managing to make most of the ticket holders happy. Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang is apparently more awkward than agile in his stand-in role for bassist Michael Anthony, and rumor has it that Anthony’s recorded backing vocals are being piped through the P.A. to compensate, but other than that, it sounds like all the other cylinders are firing. Diamond Dave’s vocals have retained elasticity and power, and despite not wearing their ages well, both Van Halen brothers are hitting their marks with all the force that made them famous to begin with. Expect plenty of photos and a live review on REVERB (SW’s music blog) the morning after. — Hannah Levin
Van Halen, "Hot For Teacher"
Thought for the day: Now that the guys in Van Halen are like 50, aren't they a little old to be hot for Teacher?