The Red Sun Band

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The Red Sun Band
Origin Sydney, Australia
Genres Indie-rock, Dream pop
Years active 2003–2009
Labels Enchanted Recordings
Website Official site
Past members Sarah Kelly
Lizzie Kelly
John Matthews

The Red Sun Band (styled as theredsunband) is a rock band from Sydney, Australia. Composed of sisters Sarah Kelly (guitar, lead vocals) and Lizzie Kelly (keyboards, tambourine, backing vocals), the band performs and records as a three-piece, with the addition of a male drummer/backing vocalist.

The band are inspired by acts such as Mazzy Star and Cat Power, which is evident in both their production ethic and the treatment of the lead vocals. On the local front, the band received support from the numerous mid-late 1990s Australian bands who played a brand of atmospheric indie-rock informed by the shoegaze movement of the early 1990s, such as Sounds Like Sunset and Gersey, who gave the band their earliest support slots.


The band originally played as a two-piece, with Sarah on bass and John Matthews on guitar. Serendipitously, the two founding members of the group had previously met at kindergarten. "In the class photo we are the two kids at the front holding the sign; 'Arncliffe West Public School Year Kindi 1986'", writes Matthews on the band's official site.[1]

The pair performed in two-piece format before the addition of Kate Wilson on drums, who was followed by David O’Leaf (aka David Olliffe of The Vines). The best known line-up of the band came in 2003 after the departure of O’Leaf, with Matthews switching to drums and Kelly to guitar.[1] This made way for the addition of Kelly’s younger sister, Lizzie on keyboards. Not unlike bands such as The Dandy Warhols, early My Bloody Valentine or The Doors, The Red Sun Band employ keyboard bass, rather than electric bass.

The band’s debut album, "Peapod" was released in 2004 on Slanted Recordings and produced by Magic Dirt's Dean Turner – credited as Dean Dirt. It was recorded in St. Kilda at Hothouse Studios - the studio of former Kids in the Kitchen bass player, Craig Harnath.

On 27 March 2006, principal songwriter, Sarah Kelly, was awarded the Jessica Michalik Music Endowment by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA).[2]

The Red Sun Band have played with such artists as Cat Power, Magic Dirt, Youth Group, The Panics and were on the bill for the 2005 Big Day Out festival.

On 24 November 2007 during a live gig at the Northcote Social Club, Sarah announced that John Matthews had quit the band 4 days previously. The band has since performed with drummers, Joe Hammond, Nicholai Danko & Jasper Fenton.

Original drummer, Kate Wilson, now plays with Sydney bands The Laurels and The Holy Soul.

In 2009 the band separated. Lizzie Kelly moved to Toronto, while Sarah Kelly remained in Australia, forming Good Heavens with former Wolfmother musicians, Chris Ross and Myles Heskett. According to Sarah Kelly, the band's separation came as a result of the departure of John Matthews and the death of their producer, Dean Turner.[3]



  • Peapod, August 2004, Slanted Recordings[4]
  • The Shiralee, June 2008, Enchanted Recordings


  • Devil Song (7 inch single), July 2004, Slanted Recordings
  • Sleep Forever (CD single), April 2004, Slanted Recordings[5]
  • Pavement (CD single), November 2003, Slanted Recordings[6]
  • The Eagle (7 inch single), 2008, The Passport Label


  • Like An Arrow (CD EP), November 2007, Enchanted Recordings


External links[edit]