An indie rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, Sonna were founded in 1998 by guitarist/vocalist Chris Mackie, drummer/guitarist Jim Redd, and bassist Paul Petersan. Guitarist Jeremy DeVine, who established the Temporary Residence label in 1996, joined soon after the group's formation. Since much of Sonna's material was instrumental, they were often categorized as post-rock, but they always maintained a melodic sensibility as well as a penchant for experimentation and subtly complex arrangements.
Sonna made their debut in 1999 with three-song EP These Windows Are Pistons, as well as a split 7" single with the band Paul Newman, in which both groups performed takes on a song titled "Way to Breathe No Breath." In 2000, Sonna (now including bassist Drew Nelson in place of Petersan, who relocated to Texas) contributed The Eventual Bow to Temporary Residence's EP series Travels in Constants. The group also released the 7" single Kept Luminesce/Mirameko on Static Caravan. Sonna recorded their debut full-length, We Sing Loud Sing Soft Tonight, with Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio Studios. The album was released in 2001 to critical acclaim.
In 2002, Temporary Residence reissued Sonna's out of print Static Caravan 7" on CD, and the EP Make Shift Carousel also appeared. The latter was a collaboration with electronic artists Sybarite and Lilienthal; Sonna recorded raw acoustic tracks that were then remixed and added to by the others. They toured constantly during this period, sharing the stage with artists such as Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Tarentel (for whom drummer Redd also played), and Explosions in the Sky. Meanwhile, DeVine joined the English band Fridge as their touring guitarist. In early 2003, Sonna released the Albini-recorded Smile and the World Smiles with You. By this time, half of the band had relocated away from Baltimore -- DeVine to Portland and Reid to San Francisco -- and Sonna became inactive. All of the group's non-album recordings (with the exception of Make Shift Carousel) were compiled on the 2016 double-LP Keep It Together. ~ Jason Nickey & Paul Simpson