With Hot Shit, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss of Qusai continue the get-in-the-van good fight.

In the past, Quasi existed as a kind of musical juxtaposition: The duo was married but formed the band after its divorce, and though the music consisted of a big happy organ, in-the-pocket drums and sweet harmonies, Coomes' words were anything but joyful.

And because of their various musical associations -- Weiss is the drummer for lauded punk trio Sleater-Kinney and both have toured and played with Elliot Smith -- people often wrote more about their relationship and ancillary projects than about Quasi itself.

So here's the skinny: Coomes and Weiss are still not married and Hot Shit sounds like nothing they have put out before. The album is guitar-based and raw, with Coomes' wobbly voice seldom aided by Weiss's harmonies. This time out, Quasi have largely forsaken the roxichord, and the songs are less melodic and more rock-oriented. The lyrics are politically charged, climaxing with a ballsy rant against the Bush administration at the end of "White Devil's Dream." Better see this pioneering male/female duo before John Aschroft sticks the Patriot Act on 'em . . .

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