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Quasi



Quasi is sort of a dedicated indie rock fan's wet dream. They're kind of obscure and they have lots of obscure, hard-to-find recordings on lots of cool labels, but they feature a pair of important indie rock musicians -- Sam Coomes, who we know from Heatmiser, The Donner Party, and Motorgoat and Janet Weiss, who drums in a little band called Sleater-Kinney. Better yet, the duo used to be married, but they still record together despite being divorced and all. And then, there's their sound: fuzzy, lo-fi production, super-catchy, driving, distorted hooks, and oodles of irony and cynicism. A little Pavement, a little Built To Spill, a little Guided by Voices, maybe a little Brainiac.

This is not a knock. Sam Coomes is a terrific songwriter and Quasi is a terrific, thoroughly enjoyable band. Let's hope Coomes and Weiss are able to remain friends in spite of whatever past conflict they've had. Things seem to be working out, as Quasi is releasing albums at a fairly rapid clip. Their latest, The Sword of God, came after a move to Touch and Go Records from Up!, where they had released R&B Transmogrification, Featuring "Birds", and Field Studies. It features the oh-so-catchy (but oh-so-caustic) "It's Raining." "Mammon," meanwhile, appears on Quasi's Early Recordings, a 1995 collection culled from early singles and unreleased stuff.

Post-Sword of God, the dynamic duo went on to put out Hot Shit (2003), an enjoyable collection of politically inscribed indie rock fun. Coomes has always struck a certain balance between high and low, and here that's magnified to some extent, particularly in the mix of clever wit and crass bluntness, the latter of which reaches its apogee on the simple but effective "White Devil's Dream," just a pair of verses about the "white man's game" of "bombs dropping like rain" and followed by a litany of fuck you's delivered to the current administration and Tony Blair (written during the early days of the most recent Iraq war) -- sophisticated it ain't, but certainly satisfying on a base level if you share Coomes' view of things. The entire affair is couched in a newfound love for rollicking Southern blues-rock arrangements which nicely complements the band's erratic lo-fi indie fuzz, making Hot Shit the kind of political rock you can enjoy around a backyard barbeque pit.