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Samiam - Whatever's Got You Down (Cover Artwork)

Samiam

Samiam: Whatever's Got You DownWhatever's Got You Down (2006)
Hopeless Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

With 6 years between full-lengths -- in which veteran Cali-punks Samiam labored through a sorta hiatus status in which several overseas tours occurred -- one would think the band should be willing to embrace a whole new audience. But as Whatever's Got You Down proves, they could certainly lure back .
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With 6 years between full-lengths -- in which veteran Cali-punks Samiam labored through a sorta hiatus status in which several overseas tours occurred -- one would think the band should be willing to embrace a whole new audience. But as Whatever's Got You Down proves, they could certainly lure back a few of their own fans, too.

Whatever's Got You Down at its core is purely heartfelt punk rock. Growing up in the same scene and timeline as Jawbreaker, there's quite a few similarities: the raw 24 Hour-like dirge of great standout "Take Care;" "Do You Want to Be Loved," which interestingly samples the haunting opening chords of Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" at its start; the Horace Pinker nodding verses of "Storm Clouds;" the burly stop-start tumble of "Anything"'s intro. Samiam undoubtedly sound like a particular band they've surely influenced through their years too, though: Hot Water Music. Through modest hooks and simple, fetching lines, Jason Beebout's voice is rough and yet absolutely soars through emotional cuts like "When We're Together" and the aforementioned "Take Care." I think it would be silly to say Samiam channels the aura of the Gainesville band's stint on No Idea Records, but I can sense that the current overlapping of fans between the two would find a lot to appreciate on Down.

It's just really odd that musically, the band plays emotionally urgent punk rock in one of its far better stages yet are able to get away with so many unusual flourishes doing it. They can throw in pretty octaves ("Do You Want to Be Loved") or lines of absolute, simple bitterness or desperation ("I meant everything I said / You're lucky we're still talking at all;" "I miss you so much"). It's a huge mid-life crisis -- a fucking heartache really, but it actually sounds sincere coming from Samiam's narrative.

While not likely to make the same impact of the band's early-to-mid-`90s landmarks, Samiam has made a fine addition to the album catalog of Adults Talking About Relationships Intimately (ATARI), and an equally fine addition to their own. Consider this first pseudo-post-reunion effort a solid success.

Do You Want to Be Loved

STREAM
Take Care

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Samiam - AstraySamiam - You Are Freaking Me OutThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Falcon - UnicornographyHot Water Music - Fuel For The Hate GameThe Lawrence Arms - Apathy and ExhaustionHot Water Music - CautionThe Clash - London CallingJawbreaker - Dear You

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
taargus (January 28, 2010)

Fact: Cracked crash cymbal. Why would anyone intentionally do this? Overall production on this album is horseshit and that fucking annoying crash sticks out like a boner in a speedo. The only that is more unlistenable in my opinion is the way that The Sword's cymbals are twice as loud as the rest of the band in the mix. The songs (from both bands), however, are as solid as anything else in their catalogues, so I keep listening...

VStoriesFallen (May 22, 2007)

At first I wasn't so sure about this album, but the more and more I listen to it, the more and more I fall absolutely in love with it.

Anonymous (December 6, 2006)

the new samiam is weak. The production, albeit intentionally unusual, doesn't sound good! Period. That sort of stuff was acceptable on Soar and Underground when the band was getting started, but they came a long way with sonically superior production which really brought their gritty/edgy sound more alive on albums like Clumsy and You Are Freaking Me Out. This new effort is a total regression.

Mat_T (October 10, 2006)

Good stuff. Production is a bit weak compared to Astray, but it is still great.

A shining light in a year of shitty cds.

paperlantern (October 5, 2006)

i agree...the production on this is terrible...the songwriting is great however the production makes this one of their weaker efforts...

Maks (September 28, 2006)

i've just heard "when were togheter". amazing. i didn't noticed it was out yet.

Anonymous (September 28, 2006)

Same here.

fortyminuteswesterberg (September 27, 2006)

listening to this gave me a specific wave of nostalgic happiness i haven't gotten from a new release since the last social distortion.

Scruffy (September 27, 2006)

Also, The Lemonheads and Weird Al came out this week.

Anonymous (September 27, 2006)

Amazing! 6 years well worth the wait. The Falcon and new Lucero getting released the same day......better than any holiday by far!--pabstboy

GreenVandal (September 27, 2006)

This is really good.

sweetsuperior (September 27, 2006)

just picked it up and wow! it doesn't sound like they're trying to sell records and be a huge band. it sounds like a punk record! how novel! yeah, the mix is wierd and jason's vocals aren't pitch perfect; do you want samiam to sound like my checmial romance? i sure as shit don't. i'm just glad to have another from these guys!

i do feel that sergie's holding back the BIG hooks for the new solea lp...

Anonymous (September 27, 2006)

Love this record.

Anonymous (September 27, 2006)

And this is listed below a band that formed a year ago because...? No disrespect to Brendan and crew, but come on, Samiam are legends.

Anonymous (September 27, 2006)

Been a fan of Samiam since Billy came out. I enjoy everyone of their albums and think they are great. When I first heard sound clips off this album I was skeptical. The mixing sounded strange and the way the singer sings on this album is different. Well I picked it up today and after repeated listens I am very pleased with this release. It is rough and gets some getting used to but after a while it is the same old Samiam and the songs start to get stuck in your head! Good job!

Anonymous (September 27, 2006)

bide my time sounds like a replacements song

bryne (September 26, 2006)

I loved Astray but I'm having a hard time getting into this.

arrhythmia (September 26, 2006)

wow Dull really is a good song
jeez

Anonymous (September 26, 2006)

not as good as Astray but i like it

wyzo (September 26, 2006)

After much thought, turns out my genre of choice is ATARI.

The vocals on this are oddly mixed, which after repeat listens, you do get used to for the betterment of the album on some songs "do you want to be loved", while on others, "when we're together", the opening shriek can still catch me by suprise if I'm not watching the volume. And only in the verses, Or versi, if so inclined. Why say turtles? Turti is so much more effective.

Can't say I ever got a Hot water music vibe from samiam, though Hot Water Music seems to be limitlessly referenceable. Name one band that someone hasn't referenced with HWM, and I'm sure a google search will turn something up.

Nice Horace Pinker reference, the Pinker is near and dear.

Can't wait for the next Solea record. Has Hopeless finally released a decent record again?

wyzo

branden (September 26, 2006)

cant get into this band at all

Anonymous (September 26, 2006)

LOVE this album...Track 11 Holiday Parade is my favorite. I've been a long time fan & if you'd like a first album to pick up I'd recommend YOU ARE FREAKING ME OUT...."Astray" is damn fine too...and if you enjoy this and haven't heard Solea, then what are you waiting for.

Anonymous (September 26, 2006)

Just get all of their albums, every single one is great. If you only want to get one or two, it should be (in my opinion) clumsy and astray

baseball (September 26, 2006)

i haven't heard all of Samiam's releases but i've been listening to this stream for the past 2 days and i am enjoying it more and more each time

i don't own any of their stuff so i'm probably going to go to the record store after work today and pick something up by them....if they have other ones besides this which would be best to get?

Anonymous (September 26, 2006)

great record. great band. great guys.
bryan
www.horacepinker.com

Jenningstheanesthetist (September 26, 2006)

"the recording job on this is absolutey aweful, just makes it sound like a demo tape. the vocals and music just don't get you into it like we all know that jason and sergie are capable of. seems forced, maybe they're trying too hard or taking a different approach (sometimes it doesn't even sound like jason singing)"

Couldn't have said it better. I can't believe it's Jason at some points.

Anonymous (September 26, 2006)

i've been a huge samiam fan since back in high school (1988) and spent a lot of time at the berkeley square (rip) and gilman just living the dream. they've really become one of the best bands to come out of the sf east bay/gilman scene from back in the late 80 and early 90s. they are one of those bands that puts out great records one after another and manages to make tham all sound different but yet keep the samiam ingtegrity and tradmark "wall of sound". but i have to be honest here guys... what happened? the recording job on this is absolutey aweful, just makes it sound like a demo tape. the vocals and music just don't get you into it like we all know that jason and sergie are capable of. seems forced, maybe they're trying too hard or taking a different approach (sometimes it doesn't even sound like jason singing), but if so, it's not really working yet. like maybe a bunch of songs that never really made it on other albums. buy this record if you've been a fan and have the rest. don't buy this record as your first samiam experience, but after you've heard the others.

vitustinnitus (September 26, 2006)

did something happen to the singer to make his voice sound different? i'm no authority on samiam, but i own astray, and picked this up as well, and his voice sounds different. as in, he gargled too many razor blades to try and sound like frankie stubbs.

Anonymous (September 26, 2006)

the singer sounds like Chad from ALL on this song

Anonymous (September 26, 2006)

wow...i'm really out of the loop. i saw this today and thought it was another band taking samiam's name so i didn't pick it up.

SloaneDaley (September 26, 2006)

For me I was hoping it would somehow be in my top 3 Samiam records held by Soar, You Are Freaking Me Out, & Astray, it failed in that.However It is a fine record that I enjoy more than Billy but right now not as much as Clumsy. Storm Clouds might be one of my favourite songs of the year and Take Care is a great tune as well.

Anonymous (September 26, 2006)

Storm Clouds is such a good song.

dolorbrigand (September 26, 2006)

THE best Hopeless release this year. Will probably make it into my top 10 albums for this year *snugged right next to Latterman*

Inspection12e (September 26, 2006)

It better be in my mailbox tomorrow. You hear that Hopeless!?!

LeightonESmith (September 26, 2006)

I got a huge Hot Water Music vibe coming off this. Or should I say the Draft......

LeightonESmith (September 26, 2006)

I got a huge Hot Water Music vibe coming off this.

Nap (September 26, 2006)

still dont think this album is good
kinda boring

danperrone (September 26, 2006)

i really love the first four tracks...then it just gets "ok"

colin (September 26, 2006)

very strong but... there isn't a "dull" or a "bird bath" or "why do we" on this... just a song that really grabs me and makes me want to give the album a solid listen.

GlassPipeMurder (September 26, 2006)

A good release from Hopeless! Incredible!

BrendanKelly (September 26, 2006)

great

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