Harmonic showcase

Who said the music world had to be based on dog-eat-dog competition? Take Livonia-based Suburban Sprawl Music as the counter-example. It has a reputation as a musical collective and a record label where musicians from a seven-band roster all contribute to the operation.

Adam Kempa is one of the major players in SSM. Not only is he a member of two of its bands, the Pop Project and the Recital, but he also manages much of the label's Web site while maintaining his full-time gig as a Web developer.

Kempa describes SSM as a sort of gregarious utopia where label-mates avoid the pitfalls of jealousy and competition to exist in harmonious solidarity. "So many people are somehow invested that everyone wants the best for each release, Kempa says of the label, whose roots go back to 1999. "Every band gets behind all the others."

Expect to see the all-for-one ethos on display this weekend at the label's summer showcases. Friday night's event features Kempa's two bands along with Child Bite and Syscrusher; Javelins and El Boxeo headline Saturday. These groups represent styles ranging from eclectic punk to shoe-gazing pop. Child Bite, for instance, sounds a little like Devo on speed, while the Recital is eloquent and mellow. But all the bands share raw enthusiasm and a sense of songcraft.

For less than 10 bucks, you can be a part of this grassroots musical movement. Maybe Kempa said it best: "It's just a party."


At 9:30 p.m., Friday, June 29, at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 30, at the Elbow Room, 6 S. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-6374.

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