Sama Dams, comprised of husband and wife Sam (vocals, guitar) and Lisa Adams (organs and vocals) and Chris Herman (drums), the Portland, OR-based trio, by way of Indiana, Ohio, and Iowa, have quickly developed a reputation for an avant-garde and forward thinking sound that employs elements of R&B, soul, jazz, funk and rock. And in some way, the comparisons between the trio and the likes of Radiohead and The Dirty Projectors seems – well, fairly appropriate; however, from the incredibly slinky and plaintive cry of “My Ears Are Ringing,” off the band’s sophomore effort, Comfort in Doubt, there’s another genre-mashing band that some of my colleagues have forgotten as an equally fair comparison – Toronto’s “The Darcys” And much like the material off their the Toronto-based quartet’s sonically arresting Warring, “My Ears Are Ringing” is a sparse song comprised of angular guitar, the soulful sense of harmony between Sam and Lisa Adams, swirling organ chords, and the precise and atmospheric, jazz-like drumming of Herman. The track manages to be seductive yet incredibly moody and tempestuous while evoking regret, shame and desire simultaneously, which is something that most of us have intuitively known but couldn’t quite express.
In an interview with CMJ, Sama Dams frontperson Sam Adams explains the theory for the video as follows: “The computer animated video for ‘My Ears Are Ringing’ was conceived and directed by a friend of Chris Hermsen, David O’Brien. It deals with the pervasive grip of cultural blind spots, and the inherent power of new ideas to dislodge us from a calcified existence. The video opens with the image of a jagged and craggy-edged man embedded inside a mountain. Within him is a network of mines, where geometrically shaped workers mine for cube shaped rocks to fuel the mountain man’s mind. The miners’ work seems monotonous and without end. Their very world, themselves included, is constituted of the same hard-edged cubes they are toiling for.” With that in mind, the video manages to be a stunning and haunting visual display – and in some way, extremely fitting for the song.