Montreal's Sheer Agony started in late 2010, when Christian Simmons and Jackson Macintosh started amassing tape-based studio equipment in their apartment. Initially looking to fuse Sell Out-era Who with The Homosexuals and The Soft Boys, the two found compatriots in Markus Lake and Greg Napier and put their vision to tape, resulting in a few songs on Bandcamp that lead immediately to a now very much out-of-print 7" with the great Canadian label Fixture.
Several North American tours later, Sheer Agony have emerged with Masterpiece, their debut long player for Couple Skate. Heavy players in the sprawling, potent DIY scene of Montreal and Drones Club, which has produced too many great bands and labels to list, Sheer Agony perfectly channel the weird energy of their scene and aforementioned influences into a potent blend of neo-psych swirl and proto-punk succinctness.
Couple Skate Records are extremely excited to announce the signing of Los Angeles-based songwriter Michael Vidal. After years of blazing coasts and continents, DIY enclaves and contempo-art spaces alike as the singer / guitarist of LA punks Abe Vigoda, Michael Vidal has stepped out of the combustible, hyper-color tropical punk of his former group, and onto his own into more pastoral, lush territory. Dream Center is Vidal's inaugural work, originally released onto cassette in 2013 from LA label Big Joy, reissued onto all additional formats from Couple Skate Records.
The music of Dream Center is a wonderful and diverse spectrum of looping, beautiful guitar pop (featured on "Dreams" and "Appraisal") that evokes the deeper emotional shades of the likes Blue Nile and Prefab Sprout, and crystalline instrumental pieces ("Mono No Aware") reminiscent of Durutti Column and the earlier days of Felt. All touchstones aside, the music of Vidal's Dream Center is an impressionist paean to love, loss, and existence, an exciting new beginning for a uniquely creative spirit.
A thick green mist, a lush chill vibe; after 5 years and countless self-released tapes and CDs, Mega Bog -- the brainchild of songwriter Erin Birgy -- has complete her best work to date; a swirling pop cloud called Gone Banana. Influenced equally by the emotional psychedelia of Kevin Ayers and the pop whimsy of Steely Dan, Banana is a joyous declaration of artistic independence and purpose. Changing line-ups more than most people change clothes, Birgy is an enigmatic musician and a true weirdo.
Alternately a tender songwriting project, a blazin-hot jazz-rock combo, or an open forum for goofy one offs and fragile experimentations, Mega Bog is ultimately whatever Birgy wants it to be on a given day. For Banana, she gathered a loose group of Seattle's thriving experimental pop and improvised music scene. Sounding equal parts Ariel Pink and Prefab Sprout, they rip through 9 hazy burners with a sneaky tightness hidden behind layers of drizzle and reverb. Birgy's rich voice croons and bends around the shifting walls of sound, organizing and refocusing the swirl. An immersive listening experience for oddball pop addicts, peek into the life of a truly strange soul.
Lord is the debut from Seattle-based punks FF, a trio comprised of Claire Nelson, Harley Thompson, and Michael Abeyta. For the entirety of their nascent existence they have existed on the fringes of the fertile enclave that is the Northwest DIY underground, materializing a singular vision of gloomy, ethereal punk anthems along the way. For sure, the touchstones are there – My Bloody Valentine, The Wipers, Sonic Youth, the Flying Nun Records cabal – but the collection of songs that compile Lord breakout from the suffocating box of 90’s revivalism, and offer a profound alternative to an overwhelming culture of nostalgia.
Recorded over the bulk of 2013 with Seattle engineering wiz Dylan Wall (Weed, Craft Spells), Lord is a collection of songs that capture a band on the cusp of their potency. Lord will be released October 20, 2014 on Couple Skate.