New York-based instrumental quartet SUSS play a distinctive form of ambient Americana, emphasizing the droning qualities of country music and Western film scores. Combining the high-lonesome sound of pedal steel guitars and harmonicas with meditative synthesizers and loops, the group's music owes as much to Brian Eno's collaborations with Daniel Lanois as to the film scores of Ennio Morricone and Ry Cooder. The band's self-released 2018 debut, Ghost Box, became a surprise underground hit and a staple of ambient playlists, leading to the band's signing with Northern Spy.
Two of the band's members, Bob Holmes and Gary Leib, were also members of the country-slanted new wave group Rubber Rodeo during the '80s. SUSS' other players are pedal steel guitarist Jonathan Gregg and additional guitarists Pat Irwin (formerly of the B-52s and the Raybeats) and William Garrett. Ghost Box, the first SUSS release, was originally issued through the band's own E.V.P. Recordings in early 2018. Immediately, the seven-track recording gained an online following and received several excellent reviews. Northern Spy gave the album an expanded reissue later in the year, which only added to its acclaim. Non-album 7" single "Chisholm Trail" appeared in 2019, preceding the band's darker second full-length, High Line. A more spacious third effort, Promise, was released near the end of 2020. ~ Paul Simpson