Music

The Man with No Plan

Sam Coomes Lets Quasi be Quasi

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Sam Coomes has accepted the fact that he's not much of a planner. It's been close to a year since Quasi has played in Portland. More than two since the band released an album. However, the lack of any real plan might be the key to the band's longevity. You can't argue with the results: Every couple of years we know we'll get a new Quasi record, and it'll be good.

That's not to say Coomes or bandmates Janet Weiss and Joanna Bolme have been sitting idle. Coomes moonlights in Oakland avant-garde band Pink Mountain; Weiss and Bolme are both full-time Jicks. And Quasi did play a handful of dates in 2008, most recently at New York's Knitting Factory—a show curated by Coomes that included an impressive lineup of bands including Sic Alps and Brooklyn blog babes Crystal Stilts.

Now it appears the time has come to direct more energy into the band Coomes and Weiss started together 15 years ago. Quasi is in the early stages of a new record and has already tested some of the new material out live.

"I'm optimistic of the new songs because most people think they're covers," Coomes says, "and if they think we didn't write the song, that's a good thing."

It will be the first Quasi album with Bolme, who joined the band in 2006, which Coomes says will free him up to do a little more strumming. However, more guitar doesn't mean less pop—quite the opposite in fact.

"It's going to be more of a pop-centric record," he says. "Less ranting and raving as far as political perspectives."

Coomes, of course, is referring to Quasi's last two albums—2003's Hot Shit! and 2006's When the Going Gets Dark—which vented ever so subtly on the evil doings of the What's-His-Name administration.

With the country hopefully ready to right itself, Coomes says he's ready to turn to more personal issues on the new record. Who knows? Not surprisingly, he also says he doesn't really have a plan.

Coomes can tell us this with a certain degree of certainty: "I'm working on letting Quasi be Quasi, and letting pop be the way."

Good enough.

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