JOVM’s William Ruben Helms belatedly celebrates Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday.
JOVM’s William Ruben Helms is gearing up to hit the road again, y’all.
JOVM’s William Ruben Helms belatedly celebrates Willie Nelson’s 89th birthday.
JOVM celebrates Willie Nelson’s 88th birthday.
Austin, TX-based indie rock act Sun June — founding members Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury with Michael Bain (guitar), Sarah Schultz (drums) and Justin Harris (bass) — can trace their origins to when its founding members started the band while they working long hours in director Terrence Malick’s editing rooms, and they would practice whenever Malick was out of town.
Sometime in 2017, they worked with Cross Record’s and Loma’s Dan Duszynski and fellow Malick album and Sleep Good’s Will Paterson on their first set of demos before eventually settling on their current lineup. While working on their Evan Kaspar-produced full-length debut, 2018’s Years at Estuary Recording Facility, the members of the band caught the attention of Keeled Scales Records‘ label head Tony Presley, who lived above the studio and signed the band.
Recorded live to tape without overdubs or any other processing, Years as the band explained in press notes was a “we’ve-been-a-broken-up-a-long-time” album with the material exploring how loss — of friends, family members and even partners — evolves over time, and how one deals with it, but while not being too heavy or serious.
Sun June’s sophomore album Somewhere reportedly showcases a gentle but pronounced maturation of the band’s sound, while featuring 11 songs that bristle with love and longing. The album’s third and latest single, “Bad Girl” is slow-burning and cinematic bit of dream pop centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths and Colwell’s tender vocals. While sonically bringing Slow Air-era Still Corners and others to mind, the song longingly looks back on the freedom and carefree nature of youth with a simultaneous sepia-tinged nostalgia and the perspective gained from getting older.
“Bad Girl is about a deep manic drive to regress into the person I used to be — back when being bad was cool and being cool was everything,” Sun June’s Laura Colwell explains. “I was given a lot of freedom as a teenager and always took advantage of it. After I lost a good friend in high school, my fear of death was overwhelming. The song reflects on how that fear combined with my own thrill-seeking affected my decisions since. It cycles through self-destructive choices I’ve made in relationships to avoid responsibility, and how my fear of loss has lead me down some dumb paths. The tone is sad and resigned, but also self-righteous somehow.
“There’s something pushing and pulling between the lyrics and the beat, so we thought a dance video might draw out some internal tension,” adds Colwell, about the recently released video. “We filmed around Lockhart, TX, where we recorded the album, because there are so many farms and fields out there that are unchanged despite the area’s growth. We took some inspiration from films like Blood Simple and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which were also shot in rural towns just outside of Austin. Basically, we tried to channel Frances McDormand, Willie Nelson, and Haim (if Haim were an only child).
Somewhere is slated for a February 5, 2021 through Run For Cover and Keeled Scales.
Acclaimed Stockholm-based sibling folk duo First Aid Kit — Klara and Johanna Söderberg can trace the origins of their career to growing up in a rather creative household — their father was a member of the Swedish pop rock act Lolita Pop and their mother taught cinematography. As children the Söderberg Sisters loved performing, often giving concerts using a jump rope as a pretend microphone. Klara wrote her fist song when she was six.
When Klara was 12, a friend introduced there to Bright Eyes and it led her to Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Carter Family, The Louvin Brothers, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. That same year, she received a guitar as a Christmas present and quickly learned to play it.
Johanna Söderberg grew up listening to a wide range of music including Britney Spears and German techno; however, watching O Brother, Where Art Thou and listening to the film’s soundtrack changed her life: both the film and the soundtrack inspired her to sing “Down in the River to Pray” with her sister. Fascinated and impressed by how they sounded together, they started to get more serious, eventually busking in the Stockholm metro and in front of liquor stores.
As the story goes, Klara came up with the band name when she was 13. She was looking through a dictionary and found the term “first aid kit,” and thought it best descried what she wanted her music to be. As they were getting more serious about being a band, the Söderberg Sisters began writing their own original material inspired by Devendra Banhart, CocoRosie and others.
In 2008, they began to receive attention across the blogosphere for their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” And since 2008, the Söderberg Sisters have managed to receive international acclaim — they’ve been nominated for two Brit Awards for Best International Group while releasing four critically applauded albums, four EPs which include 2018’s Ruins and Tender Offerings EP, as well as a number of singles and covers.
Recorded close to a decade ago and unreleased until recently, the acclaimed Swedish duo recorded a straightforward yet gorgeous cover of Willie Nelson’s beloved
“On The Road Again.” And while marking the first bit of material from the duo since the release of the aforementioned Ruins and Tender Offerings, their latest single adds to a growing list of covers. But more important, proceeds from the single will be donated to Crew Nation, a charitable fund created by Live Nation to help those working backstage, who have lost work this year as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines. Of course, interestingly enough, because of the lockdowns and quarantines, Nelson’s classic feels more relevant and hits much deeper and differently than ever before. I’m longing for live shows, travel and adventures; of the new friends I’d meet; of the new food I’d have; the new things I’d see and know.
As we speak, I think of being with some newfound friends in Montreal and how we passed along a bottle of beer while we were walking from dinner to a showcase; of an older woman crowd surfing during Corridor’s set at Le National; of chatting with a group of incredibly Midwestern women in between sets at The Wood Brothers and Nicki Bluhm at The Vic Theatre; of randomly running into a new festival friend in an airport bar and cheering to our safe travels home; and of so many more things I can’t do and miss so much. The video adds to that dull and constant ache I feel lately — but while capturing the Söderberg Sisters (who are absolutely adorable, by the way), their backing band and crew goofing off on the road, playing in front of enraptured fans and more.
“We’re excited to release our version of ‘On The Road Again’ by Willie Nelson. We recorded this cover a couple of years ago and recently found it while digging through the archives,” the Söderberg Sisters explain in a statement. “The song is a country classic, it feels like we’ve known it forever. Because of the situation with COVID, sadly, the theme of the song has never felt more relevant than it does today.
We made a video for the song using cellphone footage from our tours throughout the years. Going through all those videos made us emotional. It made us realize how much we appreciate being able to roam freely around the world. How much we love the feeling of playing live for people, in the flesh. How much we miss our incredible band and crew.
All the proceeds from the streaming of the song will go to Crew Nation. So much of the magic happens behind the stage. It’s easily taken for granted, but without our touring and venue crew live music wouldn’t be possible. It’s important that we help them out right now.
Oh, how we wish we could get back on the road again! Hopefully we’ll see you down the road sometime soon.”