Sawyer Dust's New Single "Noble Rot" is a Sticky, Psychedelic Rush

Before heading off on a short tour, playing a few shows with the West Coast lo-fi pop artist JAWNY, the Baltimore-based experimental pop artist Sawyer Dust, is back with the new track "Noble Rot," a vibrant slice of woozy psych-pop that's packed with blissful guitar chords, ear-worming synths and slacker rock beats.

Photo by Katelynn Sanders

Following his last single, the cruising "Signature Move," and fittingly strange cover of Haruomi Hosono's "Sports Men," the Baltimore-based experimental pop artist Elli Ponomarenko, aka Sawyer Dust, is back with another surreal rush of off-kilter sweetness.


The synth-smeared "Noble Rot," is a dizzying and personal new offering that sputters adrenaline. Settling into a ramshackle environment he has been toying with since his debut single, Ponomarenko's itchy tones and quivering effects are immediately striking on this new cut. His tapestry of buzzing synths and wonky beats that chirp over his jangly guitar riffs feel refreshingly modern and nostalgic at the same time.

"I came up with the guitar riff while on my couch watching this weird art film my friend Victor showed me," Ponomarenko said in an email interview with Paperface Zine. "I like to use the studio as an instrument and the writing just kind of came to while recording. Lyrically, I kind of detail some personal dialogue that I had meditated on, boarding a plane leaving Berlin. The final verse being in German is kind of an homage to some of the friends I made in my brief visit there on a tour."


While the busy and sonically packed new single is reminiscent to the wavering energy of Painting With-era Animal Collective, according to Ponomarenko, the new single was inspired by the eccentric production style of English musician Bo En's.


"I know Bo En used a lot of stock MIDI instruments and that's what I did on this track," Ponomarenko said. "I made these violins off of a Roland suite sound demented just by adjusting some small parameters via automation and I was really happy when I got where I landed with those. It definitely feels like I'm getting a bit more comfortable navigating in the studio beyond just laying down a guitar track and writing around it these days. Having a lot of fun with new softsynths and hardware."


Ponomarenko will be playing a few shows in November, including some in support of his friend JAWNY, who he recently went on the road with, even playing at Lollapalooza.


"It was incredible. I never thought that I would ever be playing on stage to such a gigantic crowd. Let alone a crowd that was going absolutely buckwild," Ponomarenko reminisces

about playing Lollapalooza. "Jacob [JAWNY] found me on SoundCloud like six years ago when we were both little dudes on there and we immediately just had good chemistry. We started occasionally commuting to each other to collaborate on recordings and here we are now. So cool to witness his growth as an artist. I feel like on the occasion that it does supplement my growth as an artist to be an associated act, it is an opportunity that I am extremely grateful to have."


Sawyer Dust Tour Dates:


Mar. 3 — Oakland, CA @ New Parish

Mar. 8 — Washington D.C. @ Union Stage

Mar. 15 — Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground

Mar. 26 — Baltimore, MD @ TBA