Sam Coomes – “Stride On” (Stereogum Premiere)

Sam Coomes has a storied musical past. He’s one half of the experimental indie-rock duo Quasi alongside former spouse Janet Weiss (of Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag), as well as a session musician whose performed on records for Elliot Smith and Built to Spill (he co-produced the latter’s most recent studio album Untethered Moon). And now, at age 52, he’s releasing his first solo album, Bugger Me. Here’s some background from Coomes himself:

The idea was to keep to a rigorously minimalist aesthetic, and balance classicist impulses with an overtly non-mainstream approach. The fact that Bugger Me is a murky, maybe even a little creepy sounding album is no accident. It is entertainment music, but entertainment music meant for those not served by more mainstream entertainment music. Maybe one might want to take a break from Sheer Hellish Miasma & enjoy some simple tunes that maybe speak to the same sense of the absurd, that likewise reject commercialism & market-based aesthetics, & even now & again pay a little homage to the raw synthesizer noise we have grown to love & even crave. Maybe timeworn themes such as love & war still resonate in the dusty backrooms of your mind (indeed maybe they are the only themes which do so).

Lead single “Stride On” transposes the expressive irony of Quasi onto a kitschy carnival organ, and moves with about as much elegance as a conga line — it’s unfashionably gaudy, but you can’t resist the urge to join in the merriment. “Stuck in a hole, short of the goal/ Say hello to my friend the mole,” Coomes delivers with arid amusement, taking himself about as seriously as he seems to take the listener. The song is loosely an empowerment anthem about moving forward in spite of “your broken toes,” but it’s sarcastic in a manner that suggests you should be ashamed of feeling down in the first place. Yet there’s something mystical in Coomes’ detached whimsy — something captivating, if not enlightening, in how inconsequential it all feels. Listen below.


01 “Stride On”
02 “Tough Times In Plastic Land”
03 “Everybody Loves A War”
04 “Shined It On / Lobotomy Eggs”
05 “The Tucchus pt I”
06 “Cruisin Thru / Just Like The Rest”
07 “Fordana”
08 “Corpse Rider”
09 “The Tucchus pt 2″
10 “Bugger-me”

Bugger Me is out 8/19 via No Quarter in North America and Domino in the UK and Europe. Pre-order it from iTunes, No Quarter, or Domino.

CREDIT: John Clark