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Field Studies

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 7, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1999 LP from Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney) and Sam Coomes (ex-Heatmiser).

Amazon.com

The audacious concept of Quasi--a divorced couple playing mournful yet sometimes hilariously embittered songs on only keyboard or guitar and drums--is nicely at odds with the power and catchiness they generate. On their fourth album, former Heatmiser bassist Sam Coomes and indefatigable Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss fill their sound out with a varied palette of keyboard textures and, on two cuts, even a string section. Coomes twists Surf's Up-era Beach Boys style on the deceptively sunny "Under a Cloud," asks "How many hours can a minute hold?" on the sweeping "Me and My Head," and even gets momentarily positive on "Smile." Weiss, for her part, contributes "Two by Two," a brief, beautiful romance postmortem. Stripped down as it may be, Quasi's music is as elegant as Rufus Wainwright's baroque pop, and as magically pained. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 7, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: September 7, 1999
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Up.
  • ASIN: B00000K1MY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,673 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Michael on November 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Well, I may be just another happy prole but the last two CDs from Quasi lead me to believe that there is still hope for pop music. Just how does Sam Coomes manage to wangle such a sound out of his beat up Roxichord? And finally in Janet a drummer who knows how to drive a pop song along to a delirious peak. The hook-laden choruses and careful attention to song structure reminds me of the 60s Kinks, Big Star and The Move. But the sound will remind you of no other band. The wall of sound fuzzed-out keyboards create a sonic world that belongs only to Quasi. And for my money, Sam's slash and slide guitar work - used judiciously on just a few tunes - is the best thing to happen to rock since the B-52's realized that you don't need all six strings to make some music. Forget what some jaded reviewers have to say here about the lyrics, because they are clever but real attempts at dealing with the aftermath of a broken relationship. By all means, buy Featuring Birds and Field Studies, and don't miss their awesome live show. It is practically a religious experience.
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By A Customer on April 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Quasi has yet to replicate their incredible live sound on record. Only 'R&B Transmogrification' comes close, although it is far too dry sounding. On this album Sam Coomes, once again, churns out some great melodies and great rhymes. However, much of the kick of the two previous albums are missing--which means that the sounds here are far removed from the burst of noise that one hears at a live Quasi show. For the great songs this album is lacking 1) the noise (the absence of the roxichord is evident on this album) and 2) Janet's versatile and kinetic drumming (ex. 'our happiness' on 'Featuring 'birds'').
The most effective songs here feature Elliott Smith on bass. His playing is, as always, very tuneful. And in the tradition of Led Zeppelin, Quasi has released 'Birds,' the supposedly featured track of the previous album, an album later (see 'Houses of the Holy). One false note is the obnoxiously long 'A Fable with No Moral.' As the title states: this song goes nowhere. This song should have been subtitled 'Empty Words.'
But despite my reservations, Quasi is infectious. The album ends with a gorgeous ballad ('Let's Just Go') that ends abruptly and we are left with the buzzing sound of the amps before the plug is pulled.
Go check 'em out live...
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Format: Audio CD
Picking up where they left off may sound like a turn off, but when you make music this good, why change a thing? Its one thing to write decent pop-rock n'roll songs, but to make them so the listener wants to listen to them all day and all night is a relm many music makers can't claim to be in. Janet and Sam are in this relm. I had to warm up to the first handful of songs on 'Field Studies,' simply because they kind of lacked the punch of the starters on "R&B" and "...Birds" but was taken in completely by the time the album ended. Sam's lyrics(i think he wrote all the songs this time)and melodies are on once again especially with 'Me & My Head,' 'Two by Two,'and 'Smile.' Its amazing what he(they're) is able to fit into a bar of music. Sam is able to pen words that teeter perfectly between somewhat silly and simplistically deep and thoughtful. Janet is tops not only with the drumming but the sound of her drums is remarkable. Her voice once again compliments Sam's perfectly, giving the final result one of those "great-parts-in-a-song" butterfly feelings you get inside of you. 'Field Studies' is a bit smoother song structure-wise than the other Quasi offerings and isn't as fuzzy and distroted. It isn't one of those, "you need to listen to the whole thing at once" albums but each song on 'Feild Studies' in some ways links itself or segues perfectly into another song; much like 'The Soft Bulletin' by The Flamming Lips earlier this year. Needless to say, its a very wonderful music listening experience.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is not for everyone. It's rather slow moving most of the time and some of the songs (The Golden Egg, The Star You Left Behind, A Fable With No Morale) fade forever into an instrumental. The attitude of Sam Coones could be a definite turn off. I suggest you download some of it before purchasing. I, on the other hand am not one of those people and enjoyed these aspects. Beautiful pop melodies, insightful lyrics, and the essence of Quasi completely hooked me. The only problem I truly have with the album besides a couple of duds (Don't Mean Nothing), is the way they arranged the songs. If the shifts had been better and a more effecient order, the album would go by much quicker and would seem much more cohesive. Instead, you get the feeling that the moaning and groaning of Sam Coones is never going to end. But most of the time - that's a good thing.
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By RadioEdit on March 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This album was suggested to me by a friend, and i had never heard of Quasi before this. But WOW, what a great album. I actually pulled the car over and listened to the whole damn thing.. This is the album that the Beatles didn't hang around long enough to record. Even so, Quasi has a unique sound, and while everything nowadays is a rehash of something else, Quasi definately puts forth a beautiful sound. Empty Words.. wow..
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