Tues Sept 9
(203 SW 9th)
6 pm, free
Hot Shit is rough. Quasi fans will recognize Sam Coomes' and Janet Weiss' signature melancholy lyrics, and buoyant rhythms on their new record, but gone is the organ-driven, fuzzy distortion of Featuring Birds. Hot Shit is full-force unhewn, raw blues recording aesthetic. As Sam's voice strains itself, reaching for the higher registers, you can feel the heart and the soul, the blood and the guts of the traditional riffs he cultivated on his Blues Goblins project.
It's the sound of band-aids and broken glass, with mucho personality, but still very personal. (In fact, the album is personal even down to its artwork. Janet did the design and layout for the record, and all of the paintings and sketches are by Sam.) This rough, personal feel was no accident. As Sam says, "The way technology in the world of music is developing, it's tending to standardize things and everything can be tightly controlled. You can make things just perfect with technology. We decided that would not be our forte at all; we wanted to emphasize the real flesh and blood, the handmade aspect of it, both with the music and lyrically too.Ó
Continues Janet, "That is really the heart of the record, I think--the desire to reconnect with the music and the art and the process of making a record.Ó
I ask if that connection was missing in their last outing, and Janet responds, "It was maybe a reaction to the last album, or just a reaction to the state of music. We were just feeling like bands are so manufactured--cookie cutouts of bands that have gone in the past, but without the danger, without the personality. I just think a really good thing about Quasi is that we have a lot of personality between the two of us, and there are a lot of things that we believe in, and a lot of things about music and making music that we feel really strongly about. We have an idea of music that is alive and loose and that has rough edges and mistakes.Ó
On Hot Shit, another manifestation of Quasi's passion is in their reference of politics and societal issues. Most palpably, at the end of the song "White Devil's Dream,Ó Sam says, "A big fuck you to George BushÉDick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Ashcroft.Ó I wondered if they felt a responsibility to voice their political viewpoints, and Janet answered, "On this record, we felt more driven to talk about the state of politics in this country, and comment on things that are intrusive into our lives--things we feel are happening in this administration that are wrong or disruptive. It's hard to sit quietly right now when you're bombarded with, really, the worst things you could imagine your government doing.Ó
Sam continued, "Our responsibility is to try and play honest music and to play music about how we feel at any given time. One of the things we felt at the time was anger and disgust at the government.Ó
It's this idea of musical responsibility that pervades Hot Shit--from its political statements to its recording aesthetic, the album has artistic integrity. After six albums, you have to give props to Quasi's lack of pretense, and abundance of rock 'n' roll authenticity.