The Red Sun Band -- sometimes written as theredsunband -- were formed by Sarah Kelly and John Matthews in 2002. Kelly played bass and Matthews guitar, and in that first year they experimented with several drummers before Lizzie Kelly, the younger sister of Sarah, joined them. She played keyboard bass, which encouraged her sister to switch to guitar while Matthews took over the drums. This lineup released their debut album, Peapod, in 2004 on Slanted Recordings. Dean Turner from rock band Magic Dirt produced the album, under the pseudonym of "Dean Dirt." The next year they played at the Big Day Out Festival and in 2006 Sarah Kelly was awarded the Jessica Michalik Contemporary Music Endowment, a $10,000 grant dedicated to a girl who had died at the 2001 Big Day Out. The money turned out to be vital as the band were unhappy with their record label, in particular with the delays that prevented them beginning to record their second album and the push to continue touring. These annoyances caused Matthews to abruptly quit the band in the middle of their 2007 tour. His role was filled temporarily by various guest drummers until Jasper Fenton (also of Warhorse and Dead Doll China) joined the band in 2008. Finally freeing themselves of their contract with Slanted Recordings, they recorded their second album in two months. The Shiralee, named after D'Arcy Niland's novel, was released that year.
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