There was a brief period in the nineties when weird music was in the spotlight, MTV embracing the likes of Ween and even Mr. Bungle. While that nonconformist time is well past, there are still indie artists who are letting their freak flag fly, such as Sam Coomes & Janet Weiss, a.k.a. Quasi, on their first new record in a decade, Breaking the Balls of History.
A duo that has connections to the likes of Pavement and releases on Sub Pop Records, Quasi have earned their weird nineties stripes. History opens with the Sebadoh-esque weird kiss-off that works in “Last Long Laugh”, and ends with the early Flaming Lips-esque organ ramble “The Losers Win”. There’s a weird rocker (“Back In Your Tree”) followed by a weird bop (“Queen of Ears”), a wild organ party (“Riots & Jokes”) and a swaying ode to “Gravity”. Coomes even filters his political anger through strange sounds on “Doomscrollers”, “Nowheresville”, and “Rotten Wrock” (though probably could have used better separating the near back-to-back-to-back back half songs on the track list).
Weird music isn’t for everyone – that’s kind of the point. But on Breaking the Balls of History, Quasi do it well (and at only 36 minutes, don’t belabor their weirdness, often a problem for unusual styles). Weirdness still has a place on the sonic landscape today.