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Pseudo Cruelty 

Wednesday, Oct 24 2007
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Though not the most famous ex- husband-and-wife rock duo, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss of Quasi might be the king and queen of making the cathartic best of their lingering tension. Way back in the '90s, Coombs happened upon a magically grating sound by running a Rocksichord (an unpopular electronic harpsichord designed in the '60s) through heavy fuzz-pedal distortion. At shows he would punch, kick, and stand on top of the fragile keyboard as Weiss (of Sleater-Kinney fame) performed drum solos as triumphant as any classic arena act. The two would harmonize to sweet melodies made bitter by Coomes' dour lyrics, which regarded romantic love fatalistically. Once you knew the context, it was hard to imagine that snide songs like "I Never Want to See You Again" or "You Fucked Yourself" weren't directed at each other. Since 1998's stellar Featuring "Birds," Coomes and Weiss have made records increasingly epic in scope, with a wealth of added instrumentation and improved production. The Rocksichord was retired after years of undeserved violence, but the band's ire has hardly diminished. Weiss still provides metronomic Keith Moon explosiveness and Coomes' pen is still acidic, but his targets have shifted from exes to warmongers on tracks like 2006's "Death Culture Blues."
Fri., Oct. 26, 9 p.m., 2007

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John Garmon

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