In fairly rapid succession, the duo began recording as Quasi and divorced; amazingly, the band survived the end of the relationship. After self-releasing a cassette and CD, Coomes and Weiss signed with Up Records and released their indie label debut, 1997’s R&B Transmogrification, followed by 1998’s Featuring “Birds” and 1999’s Field Studies (the latter two releases were supported on the road with Quasi opening and serving as the backing band for singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, Coomes’ former Heatmiser bandmate).
After signing with Touch & Go, Quasi released a trio of acclaimed albums — 2001’s The Sword of God, 2003’s Hot Shit!, 2006’s When the Going Gets Dark — featuring their sonic signature of upbeat melodies and tempos balanced against dour lyrics of heartbreak and dissolution (which Coomes and Weiss both insist haven't been influenced by their personal break-up for a good many years).
Quasi added bassist Joanna Bolme, Weiss’ bandmate in Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, as a permanent member in 2006. Coomes and Weiss remain pathologically busy outside of the band, he with his solo project Blues Goblins, Pink Mountain and Built to Spill, she with Sleater-Kinney (on “indefinite hiatus” since 2006) and the Jicks.
American Gong, Quasi’s just-released album and debut for Kill Rock Stars, injects more fun, psychedelic guitar histrionics, acoustic musings, distorto-Blues and Beatlesque avant Chamber Pop into the proceedings. They haven’t been a couple for more than a decade and a half but, with Quasi, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss make crazy beautiful music together.
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