Portland, Oregon-based indie pop duo Quasi teamed singer/guitarist/keyboardist Sam Coomes and drummer Janet Weiss, who not only previously joined forces in the band Motorgoat but also married and divorced. After a 1993 split single with Bugskull, little was heard from Quasi until 1996, when the duo issued the Early Recordings collection. In 1997, Weiss joined Sleater-Kinney for their classic Dig Me Out album, but she also continued collaborating with Coomes, and that same year saw the release of the Quasi album R&B Transmogrification. Its 1998 follow-up, Featuring "Birds", was among the year's most acclaimed independent outings, and in 1999 Quasi resurfaced with Field Studies.
By the new millennium, Weiss and Coomes found a new label home with Touch and Go. The Sword of God appeared in 2001, marking Quasi's sharpest material since their inception. Two years later, the band's snide sense of humor was found once more on the politics-heavy Hot Shit. In 2006, the band returned to the studio and, with the help of producer Dave Fridmann, released the rollicking When the Going Gets Dark. After adding Jicks bassist Joanna Bolme to the lineup and moving to Kill Rock Stars, the group released its seventh album, American Gong, in February of 2010.