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Samiam "Clumsy" CD

Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2009 @ 8:00am » permalink

Samiam - ClumsySamiam formed in California in 1988, and having released their most recent material in 2006, from what I can tell this longstanding group is still kinda/sorta active (I think?), though certain members are now performing in other bands as well. Despite having read about Samiam in shitloads of different zines when I was a kid, for some absolutely inexplicable reason I never actually checked out their music until about three years ago when a couple of people who follow this site strongly recommended 'em to me in the same week. Needless to say I was hooked right away, and bought up a handful of their albums immediately thereafter. And as has been the case with a few bands I've written about in the past, my favorite Samiam album just so happens to be their first and only major label outing – their fourth album, "Clumsy" – which was released in 1994 on Atlantic Records. The band seems to garner a shitload of comparisons to Jawbreaker, which isn't completely off by any means, though I wouldn't necessarily make that comparison myself. I'd say most of the connection comes from the fact that both bands have a unique sound that bounces around between a few comparable styles, thus making them harder to pigeonhole into one genre or another. Is it emo? Indie rock? Pop-punk? All of the above? None of the above? I don't really know, nor do I care, because these guys have written some absolutely incredible tunes, and while I'm sure some ignorant listeners would argue against the quality of this album solely due to its major label source, I think "Clumsy" all comes together perfectly: From the crisply polished (but not overly so) recording and the overall feeling of the performances to the downright impeccable songwriting. "Capsized" has gotta be one of the greatest songs ever written, and should be all you need to be sold, but a number of other tracks on this disc fall right behind it in terms of blending catchy choruses with emphatic melodies and actual emotional substance. So great…

Samiam "Capsized"

For some strange reason this seems to be the only Samiam album that's not available digitally, but thankfully you can easily grab the CD for a great price new or used. And since you can get it for less than a buck in the used department, you know this is one of "those" albums that must just be criminally underappreciated. So if I can return the favor and introduce even a handful of listeners to the greatness of this band through this post, then my work is done…

Purchase:

@ Amazon.com
@ Half.com

16 Comments...

  1. Tyrone says:

    I love this record, as well as most Samiam releases. I was always told to check out their albums and always thought they would never be as good as the Samiam album I was really into at the time, but I was always proven wrong. Such a good fucking band.

  2. Brandon says:

    Yes! I'm in the same boat. Always told to check this group out and just never got around to it until about a year ago. In addition to this record I really like You Are Freaking Me Out.

    Good stuff.

  3. Tom_dk says:

    Saw them live way back in 1990 (could have been 91?), didn't know a thing about them, and they comply blew me away. Five years later my own band opened for them at the same small club. Great live band!

  4. Tim says:

    nice pick. samiam is one of my favorite bands and this might be their best album (although I kinda prefer billy because it just seems to have a bit of a darker feel that stands out from their other material) and capsized is a fucking masterpiece tune. used to spend whole weekends driving around smoking joints and listening to this shit. ahhh memories.

  5. Chris says:

    I've been lucky enough to catch these guys live in the 90's on several occasions…including the Clumsy tour. I remember the amazing SAMIAM – SIMS skateboards rip off tour shirt graphic quite well. They always put on a great show.

    I know a lot of people were introduced to them through snowboard videos. My friends and I powered through many a road trip with this CD on repeat. Nothing better to get you going before hitting the snow. So, so good.

  6. cv says:

    About 11 or 12 years ago I was introduced to this band by some guys who were also into Jawbreaker and some other bands of that ilk. I had "soar" and "billy" and liked them a lot back then but eventually sold them off. About 4 or 5 months ago I ended up repurchasing them and I still like them a lot. I got the "self titled" cd which is also pretty good. Will have to pick this one up too, especially considering how cheap it is. Another band that I kind of associate with this sort of thing is Seaweed, though they were a bit more "mature" or whatever. If you don't have "weak" by them, pick it up pronto.

  7. Birkir says:

    Such a good album. I go from this on and Astray… back and forth. Cohesive and consistent releases and their best in my opinion.

  8. Andrew vd Berg says:

    Very underrated band, as i can recall that in the Netherlands when these guys would come, not a lot of people would attend the shows. Still, this is one great record, fitting to be played in the morning during the autumn season. It has that kind of mood and their strongest asset is the voice of Jason Beebout. With any other singer the songs, would probably be just half as good and that says an awful lot. Samiam can be compared to Jawbreaker, and even Lemonheads (warmth of the vocals). Great great band

    Andrew

  9. Adam G says:

    Incredible band. I first heard them back in '96 when I saw them headline in Leeds, England, with Texas Is The Reason supporting. All their releases are great (although their most recent album was slightly disappointing and sounded a little tired). Clumsy was one of the albums that completely expanded the type of music I listen to and I still remember the first time I put it on my stereo aged 18. I've always thought Samiam have a fairly unique sound in the way James Brogan plays his lead guitar phrases over the songs – often emulated but never bettered.

  10. Chris says:

    Chalk up one dude for whom this is the first introduction to the band. I've heard the name thrown around, but couldn't distinguish it from Samian or whatever, always thought they must be unremarkable. Boy, was I wrong. I've downloaded the entire album off some blog and was hooked right from "What We're Told". Unstoppable shit. Like someone else remarked, the vocals are what pushes this band to the top. I don't like the "carefree" stuff like "She's a Part of Me" as much, but the more somber/doleful shit hits right home with me.

    Not that there's a direct comparison between the two, but Samiam and By a Thread are two best finds of this general type of sound that I've come across on this site. So, once again – thanks.

  11. Chris says:

    * "As We're Told"

  12. JL says:

    I saw them also on tour with Texas Is The Reason. Great live band. You should also check out Solea. The band has the singer of TITR and guitarist of Samiam (Sergie). Especially their s/t album is really good. "Clumsy" really throws me back in time, this is my favorite Samiam album. They don't really have bad albums, even the last one's OK though the production is pretty weird.

  13. Adam G says:

    Yes, I also think the production is very strange on "Whatever's Got You Down". The way the vocals are tracked sounds like a demo take! Almost sounds like they mailed Jason the music and said "sing over this at home when you get a free moment"!

    Another thing I've also noticed about Samiam is that the third track on every album is awesome. Go back and take a look and you'll see what I mean.

  14. Tim says:

    don't know why they mixed the guitars so weak on whatever's got you down. it takes away a lot of their punch. and jason's voice seems to have aged alot since astray. regardless there are some very good songs on the album.

  15. Pete says:

    'Clumsy' was my introduction to the band around the mid 90s but Samiam never clicked for me until a friend copied me a tape with the first album and 'Soar'. There is something very special about how this band sounded over their first three albums. I think in many ways it's because the drumming is so good, David Ayer (2nd drummer) keeps the spirit of Moving Targets and Grant Hart alive with a really quick and driving style. I prefer the vocal delivery and lyrics in the earlier output also, Jason Beebout is so earnest and sincere. The guitar interplay is something else to be noted, it's obviously very influenced by D.C. bands but I read an older interview where Sergie said at this point they were listening to Sonic Youth's 'Sister' heavily. 'You are Freaking me out' is a really cool album, they had a few problems getting that one out.. I was fed up of waiting! I know there was a CD released called 'The New Red years' which was a compilation from their first three records. Don't overlook this stuff :)

  16. I was introduced to Samiam via BMX videos. Many of the RIDE BMX Magazine videos have their songs in them. I liked what I heard and downloaded all that could from them. I've been listening to them for about 10 years now. Definitely one of my favorite bands.

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