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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quasi's American Gong

New Music this Week!
by Nick Parker

American Gong

Quasi's new album is out Tuesday 2/23 on Kill Rock Stars

Nailing Down A Career - For reasons I can’t quite explain, I have found communicating what’s so great about Portland’s Quasi to be a difficult task. Lots of friends who usually share my taste in music fall silent when I start to say how I came across Quasi playing support for Sebadoh in London a decade ago, and they immediately offset a thousand crappy support acts I had seen up to that point.

My friends look out of the window with indifference when I say I saw them at Reading Festival a couple of years later, and they won over an apathetic crowd in ten minutes as drummer Janet Weiss tried to musically lift her bandmate Sam Coomes’ spirits after his Rhodes died on stage. My friends begin to roll their eyes as I sputter and drool over the huge wall of sounds that one massively overdriven keyboard played by Coomes, backed up by one truly creative drummer in Weiss, can hit you with. All this seems to be in vain…


The New Quasi - Now they are a new band though, no longer a two-piece, adding the Jicks’ Joanna Bolme. Perhaps this will change their whole direction, and make them a little less musically eccentric? (I am concerned only for my friends’ sake.)

No luck for my friends. I’m pleased to report that Quasi are still that very unusual thing: a band that sounds unlike most of the rest. As well as uncommonly good song construction, and abnormal tone, they have Coomes’ vocals, which are suffused with an emotional commitment that is itself rare.

Black Dogs and Bubbles” is really the album’s high-point. It’s not perhaps as high as some of the best, past material by the band (like almost anything from 1998’s Featuring Birds), but it shows the band can still sound uniquely live and energetic. It also demonstrates that, when Coomes’ switches from keys to guitar, Bolme’s bass can offer that missing rumble which brings the band together.

I’m glad Quasi have stayed true to their sound, and I suppose my friends will just have to get up to speed with Quasi’s excellence, or miss out.

March 9 - Arcata, CA - The Depot
March 10 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
March 11 - Visalia, CA - The Cellar Door
March 12 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland
March 13 - Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar
March 14 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
March 15 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
March 17 - Denton, TX - Hailey's
March 21 - Norman, OK - The Opolis
March 22 - Kansas City, MO - Record Bar
March 23 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
March 25 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
March 26 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
Marc 27 -- Portland, OR - Doug Fir
April 15 - St Paul, MN - The Turf Club
April 16 - Madison, WI - The Annex
April 17 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
April 18 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
April 19 - Montreal, QC - Il Motore
April 20 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East
April 22 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
April 23 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
April 24 - Washington, DC - The Black Cat
April 26 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
April 27 - Atlanta, GA - 529
April 28 - Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
April 29 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
April 30 - Newport, KY - The Southgate House
May 1 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall


Quasi
Web / Myspace / KRS page

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