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The Week Ahead: Rickie Lee Jones, Sunflower Bean, Citizen Cope, The Beths and more

The Beths | photo by Mason Fairey | courtesy of the artist

Starting tomorrow night with a performance by Latin Grammy Winner and continuing through Sunday with a gig from a New Zealand pop-punk outfit, there’s lots of variety — geographic and otherwise — in this week’s gig roundup. Here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days in and around Philly. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Beck, Cage The Elephant, Spoon, and Sunflower Bean will play BB&T Pavilion

Beck | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Cage The Elephant | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN // Spoon | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN // Sunflower Bean | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

A strong contender for the ridiculous concert lineup of the summer has arrived. Long-running alternative-era impresario Beck and Kentucky rock juggernaut Cage the Elephant announced a co-headlining tour this morning, which would be good enough news as it is. But for their Philly regional date, August 21st at Camden’s BB&T Pavillion, they’ve enlisted not one but two incredible openers: indie stalwarts Spoon and garage rock newcomers Sunflower Bean. Continue reading →

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Sunflower Bean announces new EP King Of The Dudes, share single “Come For Me”

Sunflower Bean | photo by Andy DeLuca | courtesy of the artist

Sunflower Bean were a big part of our 2018: they released their earworm-packed sophomore album Twentytwo in Blue in March, and made appearances at both Free at Noon and XPN Fest. But it doesn’t look like the New York-based indie rockers are taking a break anytime soon. They already have a new four-track EP, called King Of The Dudes, slated for release on January 25, and its lead single “Come For Me” is out now. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Sunflower Bean burns it down on the Marina Stage

Sunflower Bean | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Brooklyn natives and WXPN regulars Sunflower Bean shared more of their Twentytwo in Blue record with the day two crowd as the sun beat down on the Marina Stage. To open the show, they played the fan favorite “Burn It,” and front woman Julia Cumming’s signature alto-toned vocals welcomed the crowd back to Twentytwo. Interspersed with quick drum fills and lead bass tones, the band was tighter than ever. Continue reading →

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Watch Sunflower Bean perform Twentytwo in Blue tracks in a furniture store

Sunflower Bean | via audiotree.tv

Chicago-based artist discovery platform Audiotree produces a series called “Far Out,” among many other cool music-related videos. The session is somewhat self-explanatory: artists perform their tracks in unconventional places outside of the studio and post them online for all to watch. Previous editions featured Philly art rockers Palm in a Polish restaurant and banquet hall, Elvis Depressedly in a laundromat, and B Boys performing in a parish gymnasium, basketball hoops and all. The concept is intriguing and entertaining for music fans, and the latest installment features XPN-faves Sunflower Bean, who we’ll be seeing at the end of this month when they perform at the XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →

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Listen to new albums out today by XPNFest artists Sunflower Bean and Courtney Marie Andrews

Sunflower Bean | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

New Music Friday has blessed us this week, with the release of two new full-lengt albums from artists we’ll be getting better acquainted with this summer at XPNFest.

First, Sunflower Bean‘s Twentytwo In Blue – written while the band were all 22 years old – sees the New York City trio grappliing with an array of modern day topics, ranging from dealing with relationships to reacting to the current political climate. An eclectic range of sounds, the band takes inspiration from glam rock and punk, shoegaze and hints of folk. XPN hosted the trio of Brooklynites for a Fee at Noon set this past January, and the then-unreleased songs sounded sublime.

Throughout the album, frontwoman Julia Cumming displays her wide vocal range, from the angsty anthemic-punk track “Crisis Fest” to the blissfully atmospheric “I Was A Fool.” On the former, the band channels everyday anxieties, ranging from mounting student debt to seemingly-more-frequent missile tests and false alarms. Cumming shouts “Reality’s one big sick show,” a sentiment many can relate to in this day and age. Read our recap of their Free at Noon set and stream today’s World Cafe Session including a live performance and interview with contributing host, Stephen Kallao. Continue reading →

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Sunflower Bean takes a turn towards the heavier on “Human For”

Sunflower Bean | photo by Hollie Fernando | courtesy of artist

Rising indie darlings Sunflower Bean release a new single today, entitled “Human For,” their latest to be released ahead of their sophomore LP Twentytwo in Blue, out Friday March 23rd on Mom + Pop Records. The trio of twentytwo-year old New Yorkers have been gearing up for the LP release for months now, and the latest single comes as a surprise to many. The song is a great expansion to Sunflower Bean’s palette, and is just enough to tide over fans ahead of the album release. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Sunflower Bean discovers afternoon rock at World Cafe Live

Sunflower Bean | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

It’s official, the consensus is in: afternoon rock shows are the best. Of course, the Free at Noon crowd has always known that, but it’s great to hear that Sunflower Bean agrees. When the band took the World Cafe Live stage this afternoon ahead of their sold-out show tonight at Everybody Hits, their surprise at the size and enthusiasm of the crowd was palpable. After kicking off their set with “Easier Said,” lead singer and bassist Julia Cumming wondered aloud, “Don’t you guys have anywhere to be?” The audience’s response — that they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else — was all the affirmation Sunflower Bean needed to pour a wild amount of infectious energy into their set. Continue reading →

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Sunflower Bean turns the “Crisis Fest” of 2017 into a charged anthem for their fellow youths

Sunflower Bean | photo by Hollie Fernando | courtesy of artist

It’s been a year to say the least, and Sunflower Bean is quite aware. Though the youthful classic rock trio had planned on taking some time off after their debut full length, Human Ceremony, the then twenty-year-olds found themselves right back in the studio, where they turned their frustrations and observations from 2017’s political climate into a more danceable, productive result. Two and a half years later (hint, hint: each member will be twenty-two) Sunflower Bean is releasing their sophomore record, Twentytwo in Blue, on March 23rd via Mom + Pop. Continue reading →

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No Fooling: Get to know XPN’s Artist to Watch Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean
Sunflower Bean | photo by Andy DeLuca | courtesy of the artist

The life of a touring musician is one that’s packed with hacks. It has to be, really. When you’re traveling by van from city to city and playing shows almost nightly, you need to find ways for the comforts of home to tag along, too. At the very least, you need to remember to bring enough clean pairs of socks and underwear.

That’s #1 on Sunflower Bean’s list of tour tricks. And at this point, they have a lot of them. After playing CMJ in 2014, the group got hooked up with a booking agent and a label and hit the road, playing shows stateside and overseas with everyone from Cage the Elephant, the Pixies and most recently, Wolf Alice.

Since that fated CMJ week, they’ve barely stopped working to catch a breath. With one EP and a full length record down, each release — scratch that, each new song — gives their sound new dimension. It’s as much a nod to the New York art rock scene in the ‘70s as it is to Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and, after last month’s single, “I Was a Fool,” Fleetwood Mac. It’s dark, fuzzy and soaked at times, and dreamy, jammy and bright at others. And it’s so, so fun to watch these songs and beautiful people come alive on stage.

Read our interview with Sunflower Bean below. Continue reading →