Breaking the Balls of History: Limited Loser Pink Vinyl LP
Breaking the Balls of History is Quasi’s tenth record, landing ten years after their last record, on February tenth. Three tens, which aligns with the thirty years they’ve played together. Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss have become Pacific Northwest icons, and Quasi has always felt so steadfast— their enduring friendship so generative, their energy infinite, each album more raucous and catchy and ferocious and funny than the last. But we were wrong to ever take Quasi for granted. For a while, they thought 2013’s intricate Mole City might be their last record. They’d go out on a great one and move on.
Then in August 2019 a car smashed into Janet’s and broke both legs and her collarbone. Then a deadly virus collided with all of us, and no one knew when or if live music as we knew it—the touring, the communal crowds, the sonic church of the dark club—would ever happen again. And with the obliterated normal came an unexpected gift: uninterrupted time, hours every day, to make art. Quasi couldn’t go on the road, so they got an idea: they would act as if they were on tour and play together every single day. Each afternoon, Sam and Janet bunkered down in their tiny practice space and channeled the bewilderment and absurdity of this alien new world into songs. Janet’s strength returned and rose to athlete-level stamina.
The incredible result of those sessions is Breaking the Balls of History, recorded in five days and produced by John Goodmanson at the legendary Robert Lang Studios in Shoreline, WA. Here are two artists at their prime, each a human library of musical knowledge and experience, entirely distinctive in their songcraft and sound. In Quasi-form, the band becomes alchemically even greater than the sum of its parts: Janet’s galloping drums and Sam’s punk-symphonic Rocksichord and their intertwining vocals make something gigantic, anthemic. In the thick of a cataclysmic social and political moment, they’ve crafted exquisitely melodic songs that glitter with rage and wild humor and intelligence, driven by a big bruised pounding heart.
While it reflects the darkness of our time, Breaking the Balls of History surges with energy and pleasure and joy. “It felt so life-affirming. I can hear in the music how happy I am to be there and to be playing at that level again,” Janet said. “I get to exist.” Sam and Janet have lived through enough to understand that nothing is permanent, and that when your faith in humanity sinks, you turn to the life force of what you can rely on: the people you trust, the community that claims you, and what you can create. You can’t control the time. But you can make a record of a time. And luckily for us, Quasi has again.
- Sub Pop
- Vinyl LP