A former punk drummer, the Brooklyn-based Couch reinvented himself as a solo artist in 2016 via the shockingly strong Animal Instinct EP. Animal Instinct introduced the world to his soulful, synth-laced pop, earning him labels like "a Bryan Ferry pop crooner" (Louder Than War) and "unpolished and charming" (High Times).
Couch's songs are gems – infectious rockers and ballads, descended directly from the power pop and new wave greats of the late '70s and early '80s. For debut full-length Mystery Man, Couch enlisted Twisty Cats frontman Peter Mavrogeorgis as producer and co-musician – Mavrogeorgis' production credits include Grinderman, The National, Sharon Van Etten, and more. The result: ten perfect songs, bursting with Couch's songwriting prowess and quirky charm.
"My favorite bands are Cheap Trick and Buzzcocks," says Couch, "but this is more of a personal record than a band effort, highly influenced by power pop solo artists like Nick Lowe." Add to that, some of the synth-candy of new wavers like Duran Duran and The Psychedelic Furs, and the picture takes shape.
More than just a formidable songwriter and vocalist, Couch is a personality. With his yearning vocals and cartoonish look, he embodies the part of a lovable, lovelorn anti-hero, wandering through his songs like a doomed detective in his own neo-noir film. The neo-noir metaphor runs deep – from the album title, to the album cover, to song titles like "Vertigo" and "Framed." Couch lists films like Body Heat and Body Double as some of his biggest influences. His lyrics are equally romantic, dark, and funny: "I'll be gone before too long / But for now I'm a mystery man on a holiday / Asking you to stay," he pleads on the title track.
Couch is a fixture in the New York scene these days, spotted regularly on the stages of haunts like Berlin and Our Wicked Lady, rarely without his signature black cap. Recent shows include gigs with Paul Collins, The Plimsouls, and nearly all the city's notable new bands on the rise.
A true original, Jonny Couch wields passion, humor, and a deep understanding of rock n' roll, to irresistible ends. As one High Times writer put it: "I once saw Couch and his band play in front of an auto-body shop in the middle of a white-hot day... Couch dropped sweating to the scorching sidewalk and reached out a trembling hand to a passerby. She stopped and gave him a chance. Maybe you should too!"