In the all-too-fleeting world of indie rock acclaim, Quasi are as close to an institution as it gets. The Portland-based trio have been around since 1993, and their music has remained refreshingly wrinkle-free. Led by Sam Coomes on vocals, keys, and guitar, and ex-wife Janet Weissâ€”of defunct rock goddesses Sleater-Kinneyâ€”on backup vocals and drums, Quasi have been quietly releasing loud music for almost two decades.
Their latest release, American Gong, feels perfectly at home among the rest of their distinguished discography. From its high tide opening track onward, Gong boils over with the kind of manic, tempestuous rock and roll that bands seldom deal in anymore.
Fellow Sleater-Kinney alum and current NPR Monitor Mix writer Carrie Brownstein wrote the one-sheet bio that accompanies press copies of the album. Her description of the record is unsurprisingly glowing, but nevertheless accurate:
Quasi’s new album, American Gong, is still ringing in my ears. And by ringing, I mean that it’s obliterated and unstuffed the cushiony music that’s been singing me to sleep for the past few years. Gong lurches and veers; it reels, resets, crawls and moans. But the album also professes beauty; it surfaces from the murkiness and soars. In the midst of this awesome sonic storm are expertly crafted compositions and arrangements, gravel and grime-coated rock, psych and pop tunes that never lose their shine.
Much like those afore-mentioned tunes, Quasi’s shine has never dulled. To see what all the fuss is about, head over to the Casbah on Sunday, March 14th. A whopping three bands will be opening for them: fellow Portlanders Explode Into Colors, British psych-rockers Pivot, and San Diego’s own Little White Teeth.
Needless to say, this lineup is not messing around, so hopefully your dermatologist hasn’t forbidden you the occasional face melting. Tickets for the event can be purchased here. Earplugs, however, are sold separately.