“I can definitely guarantee it’ll be very chill, a very relaxing night, with a bit of angst thrown in there,” says Laura Colwell, lead vocalist and songwriter for Austin “regret pop” outfit Sun June, who will be headlining The Lounge at World Café Live Tuesday, February 22nd. “I’m so excited for Philly. I have a lot of family there and it’ll be the first time for a lot of them to see us play,” she adds. I’m chatting with Laura via phone, from the road (literally the side of the road, where she’s eating lunch, she tells me), as they kick off this round of dates, which will take them through the beginning of April. Their US tour was meant to follow a tour of Europe in January, which nixed due to the pandemic, making these their first shows of the year.
“The European tour got cancelled because of COVID. All of Europe couldn’t facilitate us coming in and out of borders… We’re still trying to figure out how to get over there. It feels like yesterday we were on the road with Shakey Graves, but that was two months ago; the pandemic has just totally screwed up the timeline.”
The self-described “regret pop” band (“We came up with that because it just fit the themes of the songs we were playing and then it wound up fitting the sound,” says Laura.) has an origin story far more interesting than most. It all began when Colwell met now-boyfriend and Sun June guitarist and songwriter Stephen Salisbury while working on Terrence Malick’s 2017 Song to Song (featuring Lykke Li, Florence Welch, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, John Lydon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tegan and Sara, and First Aid Kit): “There was just a guitar and an office and our friend wanted to record our version of Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’ but we did ‘Where is My Life?’” “It’s definitely a way to make the best of your long workday situation, start a band with your friends,” she tells me, laughing.
Sun June released their sophomore LP, Somewhere, in February of 2021, which they consider to be their prom record: “Really it began as more of a sonic storyboard or mood board; we tried to make it sound prommy. We put ourselves in an alternate timeline and global cooling was a thing and Albuquerque, New Mexico… Some of those songs gained a little more romanticism even after they were written because we were trying to sound prommy [laughs].” The record has received an abundance of critical praise (Stereogum calls it, “Dreamy and wonderfully considered rock songs,” and VICE comments, “Sun June make expansive and gorgeous indie rock tunes anchored on the strength of lead singer Laura Colwell’s voice.”), but Laura tells me that it is their fans whose reactions mean the most to the band: “I think it’s always nice to hear that people are listening to it, no matter what their reaction is [laughs]. People on social media reach out and let us know that they’re digging it and that’s really cool… We hope everyone can find their own personal connection to the music; we hope everyone can find their own grief and happiness.”
Last month Sun June released Somewhere (Expanded), which includes three new songs (“Reminded,” “Easy,” and “Tom Petty”), which Laura tells me have become some of her favorite tracks to play live. Although Sun June plans to be on the road for a decent portion of 2022, they also have some new music that’s been in the works for a while: “We’re kinda in the middle of scheduling stuff. We have songs that we’ve been working on a long time.” And Laura tells me that there’s a good chance that fans will get a preview of some of those new numbers at their upcoming appearance at World Café Live: “We’re also trying to put out unreleased songs on this tour and give those a try. I’m excited for those.”
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