Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Like Mark Eitzel's best work with American Music Club, Featuring "Birds" finds Elliott Smith's old Heatmiser cohort Sam Coomes in the sort of hope-deprived mood that leads not to suicide, but to nonstop wisecracking: "Life... more »
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Amazon.com's Best of 1998
Like Mark Eitzel's best work with American Music Club, Featuring "Birds" finds Elliott Smith's old Heatmiser cohort Sam Coomes in the sort of hope-deprived mood that leads not to suicide, but to nonstop wisecracking: "Life is dull, life is gray / At its best, it's just OK / But I'm happy to report / Life is also short." Driven by ex-wife and Sleater-Kinney member Janet Weiss's powerhouse drumming, Coomes's overamped electric keyboard is the perfect vehicle for his wryness and melodicism. --Rickey Wright
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Death becomes them...
John O'Hara | Boston, MA USA | 12/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Is it indie? Is it some avant-garde spin on prog-rock? I don't know. It's not like Featuring "Birds" is all that difficult to get a feel for--the struggle between death and delicacy is pretty self-apparent. Two divorced veteran indignants, Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, and Sam Coomes from Heatmiser (Elliot Smith, anyone? Half of the songs poignantly, yet lovingly, trash him) team up to depress us all with clever lyrics and emotionally wrought chord changes that I can't describe any better than what Lloyd-Webber's dramatic passion would sound like if it wasn't cheese.The harmony between Coomes and Weiss is as fragile as their apparent will to live, which makes it all the more beautiful. At their best, for instance, "Hard To Turn Me On," Quasi can be gut-wrenchingly personal. Judging from my knowledge of this band, this song is downright GIVING to the listener. There are some weak points on this album, but that's like criticising the Mona Lisa because portraits have been done before. Bad analogy, nevermind... "Happiness is Guaranteed," the leadoff song, is a little too heavy-handed, and "The Happy Prole" has been done better by older bands with the same philosophy, but what can you do, eh? Listening to Sam Coomes sing, I can tell he really means every word. I can feel the self-importance as well, but that comes with the territory. "Never Wanna See You Again" almost feels like one of those cheeseball triumph songs of a generation. I swear, and I listen to a good deal of music, the first time I heard this album, I actually felt optimistic concerning modern music. Quasi would be ashamed..."
This is as close to perfection as they come
John O'Hara | 08/02/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I clearly remember the first time I saw Quasi. I had no clue who they were, but they absolutely blew me away. The first time I listened to "Birds" I had the same experience. Live they reminded me of Sonic Youth, though on the album the only thing that remotely speaks of Sonic Youth is the first 30 seconds of "Our Happiness Is Guaranteed", which is full of Janet Weiss's (also drummer for Sleater-Kinney) strong drumming and Sam Coomes's (formerly of Donner Party and Heatmiser) chaotic roxichord playing. The other thing that I think reminded me of Sonic Youth was the power and genuine love of music that this band has. And this is no glossed over "Bull in the Heather", this is "Kill Yr Idols". From that first 30 seconds to the beautiful song "Only Success Can Fail Me Now" which concludes the album, it keeps my attention entirely. This is indie rock at its finest, and no song sounds like a filler. Sam's lyrics about dead end! jobs ("Paranoid and tired/You quit before you're fired/But they got you in the hole/So you play the happy prole"), broken relationships ("If I kept the things inside at least I never lied") and all the other things that make life suck ("Pay your rent/Pay your bills/Pay the doctor for your pills") come across with humor. What also takes their songs to a whole new level is that the woman that Sam is singing about is sitting 10 feet away, drumming away. This record is absolutely NOT whiney or pretentious. The only artist besides Sonic Youth I can think to compare them to is Sam Coomes's former band-mate Elliott Smith, because, like Elliott, they have very original sweet sounding songs but the lyrics are honest and, um, not so sweet.Unlike Elliott though, their songs are not quiet and are slightly more upbeat sounding. I could blabber on and on about the genius of this band, but i'll let you find out for yourself. Please get this album now, because t! hen you will be one of the lucky ones who heard of Quasi be! fore their world domination, which i'm sure will be coming any day soon. And, forget all this critic-type stuff, this record has it where it counts-meaning that is just sounds really cool to listen to."
Our happiness is guaranteed
race_of_doom | USA | 10/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Featuring 'Birds'" was purchased, by me, on a rainy night in a really cool used CD store about six months ago. I bought it on a whim, because an Internet friend of mine seemed to be really super-duper obsessed with it, and even named her website after it. I knew she had good tastes in music, so, without even hearing Quasi before in my life, I decided to take a chance.When I brought it home and unwrapped the shrink wrap and played it, I, at first, didn't like it too much. I was into early R.E.M. and new-wavish alternative from the eighties, and wasn't particularly into indie rock. It wasn't until (oddly enough) "It's Hard To Turn Me On" played when I started getting into it. By the time the last song ended ("Only Success Can Fail Me Now"), I was completely hooked. I put the CD on repeat and read a good portion of a novel I wanted to read for long time.The lyrics are absolutely wonderful. Everyone knows the perfectly clever opening to "California," but there's so much more here, too -- for example, the few lines in "Ape Self Prevails In Me Still" aptly describe how I feel about myself right now. "The desire to disappear, yet remain here/It is clear, dear - ape self prevails in me still." I want to get out of this awful small town, but I somehow, in some strange way, I feel compelled to stay. Simple, yeah, but perfect."I Never Want To See You Again" is, besides "Only Success Can Fail Me Now," probably the standout here. The intensity of the performance combined with Sam Coome's passionate delivery hits me every single time.There are no weak tracks in here, unless you count "Birds" (a minute and a half of birds making annoying noises) as a real song, which it isn't. Just a nifty little segue, pretty much.The last track, "Only Success Can Fail Me Now," is simply one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard in my short, dumb little life. As another reviewer said, you never, ever want this song to end. It ends this album on a very high note.If you haven't heard "Featuring 'Birds'" yet, you really need to. It might not hit you right away, but soon enough, in full effect, it will -- and you will be hooked."