Trippy rockers Sleepy Sun began in 2005, when UC Santa Cruz students Bret Constantino (vocals), Matt Holliman and Evan Reiss (guitar), Hubert Guy (bass), and Brian Tice (drums) formed the bluesy garage rock act Mania. However, the band's music gradually became more expansive and eclectic, and by 2007 they were known as Sleepy Sun. Rachel Fannan of another Santa Cruz act, Birds Fled from Me, saw the band's first gig as Sleepy Sun and wanted to join the group; after sitting in with the band at a gig, they invited her to record with them in Canada, where they were working on their debut album with producer Colin Stewart.
Sleepy Sun self-released the album Embrace; shortly after, Guy left the group, with Jack Allen picking up bass duties. Sleepy Sun relocated to San Francisco and played several prominent gigs in 2009, including the Noise Pop Festival that February and All Tomorrow's Parties in May. That festival's boutique label, ATP, signed Sleepy Sun and reissued Embrace in summer 2009; the band was also scheduled to play the 10 Years of ATP Festival happening that winter. The band recorded heavily in 2010, releasing a series of 10" singles as well as digital EPs and second album Fever, all still on the ATP label. The group toured heavily during this time as well, opening a U.S. tour for Arctic Monkeys as well as doing their own headlining dates. In late 2010, Fannan left the band, citing conflicts with bandmembers and not being allowed enough of a voice in the creative process. She went on to work on solo material under her own name, and Sleepy Sun quickly regrouped for a tour with Texas psych rockers the Black Angels.
Spine Hits, produced by Queens of the Stone Age alumnus Dave Catching. The group's fourth full-length, Maui Tears, materialized in 2014, and was issued by new home Dine Alone Records. Constantino relocated to Texas but still remained active with the band. Sleepy Sun announced that they had finished recording their fifth album in 2015, but the group stated that it was still in progress at the end of the year. After confirming that Allen had been replaced by bassist Owen Kelly, the full-length Private Tales (featuring contributions from both musicians) was released in June of 2017.