There are times in your life that you remember the first time you heard a band. You remember it clearly…you remember details about the day…what kind of headspace you were in when you heard this band…about the moment, if you're lucky enough, you met the band or a single member of the band if your first time hearing the band was during a live show.
Hello June is absolutely one of those bands I can clearly remember all of those details about and then some.
February 2018 was a rough time in my life. I was, for lack of a better way of putting it, going through some things. My life had been turned kinda upside down in a few different ways, so I was trying to get out and do things that I hadn't done for a very long time. Things like regularly go and see bands perform live. One particular Saturday, late in February 2018, started out like any other Saturday; I got out of bed…had some coffee…took a shower…and headed out to go wherever the wind would blow. I was sitting in an AT&T store straightening out some stuff with my phone plan when I happened to browse Facebook and see an event reminder for a show at the V-Club in Huntington, WV - which was only about an hour away from where I was at the time - being headlined by a band I was a BIG fan of that had started to build a little buzz in the music industry on the strength of their debut album, a band I hadn't seen live yet. That band? Ona. Also on the bill was a collection of old punk and hardcore dudes I knew from the local scene who were playing alt-country/rock and roll in the vein of Drive By Truckers that I had heard about but hadn't listened to or seen live yet. That band? Flat Tracker.
And there smack dab in the middle of the digital show flyer was a band I'd never heard of, not even once. That band? Hello June.
So, after wrapping up my business I headed for Huntington and went to the show. Why not? Seemed like a great idea. Once there, I ran into some friends of mine (shout out to Heather, Mya & Josh) and they all said the same thing as we hung out and drank a couple adult beverages before the show; "you HAVE to make sure you check out Hello June. You'll LOVE them."
I can tell you this much; I really enjoyed Ona…and I really enjoyed Flat Tracker. Both are GREAT bands and you should absolutely check them out as well, but Hello June? My friends were absolutely right. This was different. This was…mesmerizing almost.
And they've only gotten BETTER since that night I happened to venture to the Western part of West Virginia for a show on a random Saturday night.
On September 28, 2018 - a little more than 7 months to the day since I first discovered this amazing band - Hello June released their debut, self titled, full length album. Until that point, the band only had one official release ("Spruce", a six song EP released in the spring of 2017) and as great as that EP is, as those songs are, THIS release…this was different.
Produced by West Virginia music royalty Bud Carroll (Carroll also adds his savant like guitar skills to the record to add layers to the riffs that vocalist/guitarist Sarah Rudy is already laying down) this album finds the band truly at full strength, kicking in the door, and making you stand up and NOTICE. The album alternates between dreamy indie pop, 90's indie rock and alt-country. I have often said, when describing Hello June to people (which I do. Quite often. People really need to be listening to this band); "If you've ever wondered what it would sound like if Fiona Apple fronted an indie rock band have I got the band for you!" And I don't say that lightly or flippantly. There are times when I'm listening to this album with my AirPods in and really ingesting the whole sound where I forget I'm listening to Sarah Rudy sing…she reminds me so much of Fiona Apple at times that it's almost eerie. And, as someone who takes his love of all things Ms. Apple seriously, that is HIGH praise.
BUT don't get it twisted…Rudy isn't an Apple clone. She has her own very distinct, very powerful voice. The kind of voice that could melt steel. The kind of voice that continues to get better with each passing live show I see (I've lost track at this point, but it's north of 12 times…including an INCREDIBLY powerful appearance on Mountain Stage.) Basically, Sarah could sing the phone book and it would be the most fascinating thing I've heard in forever. And it would, again, melt steel.
I've seen literally hundreds of bands over the years. Big bands, small bands…superstars and neverweres…but few bands have stuck with me, have embedded themselves deep in my music loving soul quite like Hello June. They are, without a doubt, my favorite band currently making music. And it's not even close really. I hope you have the same experience with them.
Check out Hello June online, and hit up their webstore for vinyl, stickers, buttons, tshirts and all sorts of other awesome stuff here;
And you can listen to them on your streaming platform of choice (Spotify, Apple Music, Google, etc.)
Dr. Fever Returns To Say Listen To Hello June
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