Sheena, Anika and Augusta - Simple Pleasures (Cover Artwork)

Sheena, Anika and Augusta

Simple Pleasures (2019)

Asian Man Records

Lemuria, Cayetana, and Chumped are beloved pop-punk and indie bands who a few years back were the buzz of the scene. Features in the New York Times and across music tastemaker blogs named it the year of women in rock highlighting stories of a rising indie scene led by women and gender expansive individuals. Despite the existence of all of the aforementioned bands for many years previous, the newly heightened attention was well deserved for a celebrated trio of artists long known to their fan bases for cultivating something special. It would likely come as a shock at the time that a few years later, Lemuria, Cayetana, and Chumped are all in some form of hiatus while their singers explore new projects. Sheena, Anika and Augusta being one of them.

Sheena, Anika and Augusta formed on the friendship from their associated acts and Simple Pleasures is the result of a winter cabin weekend holed up in the Poconos. Just that combination alone was enough for Mike Park of Asian Man Records to offer up his label for release of sounds unheard. The EP’s both an expression of friendship amongst the songwriters and the nourishing power of simple pleasures in the face of hardship, be it societal or individual. The four tracks feature a song led by each of the artists and an acapella closer “For Billy,” which layers gorgeous and rhythmic harmonies centered around the feeling of falling like tears over the recorded hiss of silence.

Simple Pleasures is somber featuring minimal instrumentation limited to hushed acoustics and muted guitar allowing the vocals to be the focal point. Each songwriters’ individual style sticks out on their tracks. “Billboards Bodies” offers a conviction filled narrative about the self-fulling nature of harmful stereotypes against women. “If I’m always on the defense / Than I’ll never get shit done / And you revel in your ignorance / And you’ve won,” sings Augusta Koch. “Conversations with Nicole” covers the sadness, empowerment, and joy that comes with exploring your emotions and body after sharing with another. Opener “Beast” draws the listener in with just the first glimpse of harmonies that exist throughout the release.

At just over 8 minutes, it’s hard not to reserve judgement for Sheena, Anika and Augusta’s Simple Pleasures. However, it’s likely no judgement or overthinking is needed to understand this EP. It’s about three respected and poetic artists exploring their friendship and solidarity while welcoming others to take part in the simple pleasures of an acoustic guitar shared amongst friends in the dead of winter.