All along, Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes — when they weren’t busying themselves with Heatmiser and Sleater-Kinney and the Jicks, or being married and then being divorced — were Quasi. So when they do occasionally choose to wear their Quasi pants, fans freak. On American Gong, its eighth record, the band (now a trio) offers more of what makes people love them: out-of-nowhere jams, lullaby-choruses, singsong rhymes and dissonant juxtapositions. In fact, it’s a bit of a show-off record — not hoity-toity, but a portfolio, almost, of everything they’re capable of. “Bye Bye Blackbird” starts as a contagious, loud-quiet-loud rock song, before shuffling off into an all-out jam session. “The Jig Is Up” showcases Coomes’ sugarcoated vocals alone. And track six, “Black Dogs & Bubbles,” swings widely from toe-tapping anthem to downright heavy.
But all of it — the fidgety sound, the sudden change-ups: This is why you love Quasi.
DOWNLOAD: “Bye Bye Blackbird”