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Review: Sun June @ Rough Trade

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Sun June's effortless serenity painted a portrait of long summer afternoons making the whiplash of walking out into Bristol's rainy May night paramount.

By Jake Paterson, Co-Deputy Music Editor

I first discovered Sun June's music whilst on a family holiday in the summer of 2021. It was at this point where for the first time in nearly 18 months I'd been free of the anxiety of self-isolation and let out into the warm coastline with people I loved. The tracks 'Bad With Time' and 'Bad Girl' played through our apartment with the sound of waves in the background.

Jump forwards two years and a hell of a lot has changed, but the feeling evoked by Sun June has not. For their first ever full-band UK tour they treated the crowd to cuts as far back as 2018's Years and new tracks off their yet to be announced forthcoming LP.

Sun June @ Rough Trade | Jake Paterson

The band set the tone with atmospheric fantasy. Dream-pop inflections took off from more slowcore inspired ballads as layer upon layer of guitar line built into something delicate but pulsating. 'Reminded', a bonus track on the 2021 album Somewhere, shimmered in the backdrop of fairy lights in the Rough Trade live room. 'Bad Girl' continued to swallow up the crowd and instead of being spat out again we were kept tantalisingly within their midst.

Between songs, the band talked about the importance of playing live music for the mental health of both crowd and performers. Travelling to the UK to play in front of a handful of people on a cold Tuesday night was testament to this; the love comes out of the value in the shared communion of the live experience and not any motivation for money.

As we were treated to 'Discotheque', 'Bad With Time' and 'Everything I Had' the swirling dream-pop caught an intimate groove and I caught myself swaying along under the hazy red lights.

Sun June @ Rough Trade | Jake Paterson

Towards the end of the set we entered new territory for both the band and the audience as they played a string of brand new songs. Both 'Sage' and 'Mixed Bag' picked up from where Somewhere left off, but the closing track 'John Prine', a synth led ballad about falling asleep at the wheel listening to the folk musician, was a moment of true emotional reprieve.

And then, as if woken from a daydream, the set was over. Having been drawn into a fantasy for the short hour long set, the real world came crashing down and an instant nostalgia took over me.

For music as interior and intimate as this it was hard not to be transported back to those days on the coast, the lyrics "Everything I had / I want it back" circling around in an endless loop.

Featured Image: Jake Paterson

Have you listened to Somewhere?