Blues Goblins Blues Goblins


I was once trapped in Seattle customs with Sam Coomes. His band, Quasi, were waiting for their instruments to show up (they did). I was waiting for my future wife to be allowed through (she never was). We didn't speak.

My first review of Blues Goblins, this tricks-y, bamboozling, skewed collection of early 20th Century blues classics reinterpreted by the Quasi singer, with help from saxophonist Stanley Zappa (who sounds lifted straight from late '70s Brit art-rockers Red Crayola) was along the lines of: It's crap! Ignore it! Indie heartthrobs infatuated with The Beatles and Disney soundtracks should never make solo records; especially if they end up sounding like off-kilter, naîvely early Meat Puppets with John Lennon's "Yer Blues" on an endless loop. I dropped that draft: both mendacious and unfair. I was only typing it cos--fuck man, Sam's in Quasi, and the more time he spends on his other projects, the less Quasi we'll have. Quasi is Quasi! Sweet, melancholy delight: my shattered dreams (see first paragraph) given rare relief.

I was once trapped in a converted mausoleum in Brighton, England with Quasi: just a battered keyboard, and a handful of the stationary converted. My feet ran riot. Sam and I did speak afterwards: "Sometimes I have a psychedelic vision of myself omitting beams of red light on stage," he told me, "like in a comic book or something." I wondered what he was on about: now, I understand. Half this new solo album sounds like a demented, beautiful re-reading of childhood torments and visions--the blues treated with equal amounts respect, harmony, and twisted repetition. If you want to cheat: listen up, and listen down to Charlie Patton's "Spoonful Blues." where the bottleneck hums insanely, wistfully and, yes, psychedelically to itself, while Sam allows his voice to follow the tune wherever it leads; or the subtly psychotic Curly Weaver tune, "Born To Die," the familiar organ sound back to lead the taunting. These are strangely pure beams of red light that Sam possesses the power to wield.

The 10th draft simply read: Listen to the bloody record. And please don't forget Quasi either.