Song of the Day

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December 14, 2022

SUSS: “The First Thaw”

By: Jack Anderson

Back on Monday we mentioned that we’d be plying the final Songs of the Day with nothing but Holiday tunes. But honestly, today’s spotlight is a bit looser of an interpretation…and it comes on behalf of New York City ambient country outfit SUSS. See, SUSS has endured several dramatic changes of season in the past couple years, least of which concern the weather.

Coming off the success of their 2020 LP Promise, SUSS rode the momentum right back into the studio for their next record, Night Suite. But just as they’d wrapped, SUSS co-founder Gary Leib tragically passed away. With Night Suite already completed and drenched in a sense of loss, SUSS soldiered on as a three-piece with a master plan: create a series of EPs that contextualize Leib’s final contributions within SUSS’s evolving formulas.

Night Suite was followed by Heat Haze this past June and Winter Was Hard just last month. Concluding with Across the Horizon, this comprehensive four-parter was compiled into an eponymous, double-disc chronicle just a couple weeks back. Of course, SUSS‘s consumption has to be done in one sitting for the full effect. But in lieu of still-busy schedules, and perhaps even some end-of-year anxiety, you can also jump straight to Winter Was Hard. Like a sans-dialogue Gary Paulsen novel, this six-song suite will transport you to a bleak and trying tundra of arctic arrangements, warmed only by fond memories and our primal need to survive. Within that blizzard, the near-meter-less-ness and barren instrumental pairings of “The First Thaw” make for an especially magnificent piece of meditation.


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