Podcast: Shadowboxing with Sinking Suns

The Madison noise-rock trio celebrates a new album, “Death Songs,” with a July 29 show at Mickey’s Tavern.


One of the illustrations Sinking Suns member Dennis Ponozzo created for the CD booklet accompanying the band's new album.

One of the illustrations Sinking Suns member Dennis Ponozzo created for the CD booklet accompanying the band’s new album.

Madison band Sinking Suns‘ songs take place in situations where things have been very bad for a very long time. But despite the ever-present dark themes of rage and conflict, this music doesn’t wallow: It charges ahead in a lean blend of noisy post-punk and bluesy hard rock. There’s room for rhythmic and textural variety in the trio’s approach, too. On the 2014’s EP Songs Of Revenge, drummer Gabe Johnson and bassist/vocalist Dennis Ponozzo embrace something approaching the typical noise-rock lurch on “Drown In Black” and “Vacant Eyes,” and stir up speeding turmoil on “Fathoms Deep.” Meanwhile, Scott Udee plays it sparse and atmospheric at once, inserting dissonant chords and eerie, pitch-bending atonality.

The band has just released its first proper full-length, Death Songs (I sense a pattern here!), and will be playing a show on July 29 at Mickey’s Tavern. The nine tracks on this album aren’t a departure from what the band’s done before, but do work in some new flavors here and there. “Headstones” is a bizarro surf-rock stomp that recalls Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Snakes, “Firewater” intersperses wiry post-punk with pleasingly chunky power-chord riffs, and “Ghosts Of Old Mexico” offers a harsh take on the vaguely Southwestern flavor that’s always been present in the band’s music. For the CD version of Death Songs, Ponozzo also made a booklet with shadowbox-style illustrations to accompany each song. (The one pictured above is for “Death Song.”)

All three members of Sinking Suns joined me on this week’s podcast to discuss their evolution as a band, taking their time with releasing music, and the album art. Give our conversation a listen here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and catch WORT-FM’s weeknight local news show, which partners with us to produce these. Thanks to Dylan Brogan for producing this interview.

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