SSM

SSM

BandRock

Biography

To say that things came together quickly for Detroit avant-rock outfit SSM is the mother of all understatements. Like a torrent of madness, the kind that produces works of shocking brilliance, the trio of singer/keyboardist John Szymanski, drummer Dave Shettler and singer/guitarist Marty Morris ground a pearl from sand in less time than it takes most bands to tie their collective shoelaces.

Known best for their significant contributions to Detroit rock via the Hentchmen, the Sights and the Cyril Lords, respectively, the members of SSM have created a debut album more highly anticipated by their fans than anything they've done separately. From the shambolic rumble of "Exit Strategy" to the pumped-up R-n-B of "No Looking Back" and the spastic synth-beat of "Ain't Love," SSM represents the full range of possibilities available to the creative consciousness when artists stop worrying and learn to love the chaos. Szymanski's man-possessed yowl and Morris's teen heartthrob pop lament set the unusual arrangements off in handsome style. And Shettler, one of the finest rock drummers to emerge from Detroit's full-flower garage explosion, swings effortlessly between live drums and evocatively-programmed percussion.

Chris Koltay recorded SSM at his own studio High Bias Recordings in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. The band pulled the album together quickly, but said the process itself was very laid-back. They already knew what they wanted the album to sound like, and kept a few tracks from 2005's (extremely) limited and numbered demo LP1 (recorded by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.) New tracks like "2012," a song about an "unattainable female Venusian," and "You're Next on My List of Hearts to Break" round out the powerful force this album proffers. The results are captivating. Lumbering bass, pop and art-rock all find their way into the mix.

And the band's live show, a heady collision of strobe-light infused ecstasy and throbbing, low end sexuality, has proven to be just as explosive as their recorded music. After the completion of the LP1 demo in the fall of 2005, the band joined the Black Keys on the road for the duo's sold-out West Coast tour - further tightening the screws on the new machine.

The New York Times even took notice of SSM on the road: "Unruly analog keyboards and dinky rhythm machines define the sound as much as overloaded fuzz-tone guitar, and the tunes slip free of three-chord orthodoxy. The old garage-rock lust is there, but so are tidings of apocalypse...Despite the vintage equipment, this is no 1960's revival; it's a warped reinvention" (Jon Pareles). Not only the press, but also the labels took notice of SSM, and the band was signed to Alive Records (part of the Bomp! Family and home to Two Gallants, Black Keys, and Soledad Brothers) in the winter of 2006.

Now their fans are eagerly awaiting the release of the self-titled debut and ensuing national tour. SSM also recently wrapped the filming of their video for "Sick" which will be featured as an extra on the album. SSM is burning brightly, moving toward a sonic revelation of indeterminable power. All will be revealed, friends -- be there when the curtain comes up.