XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “I Was A Fool” by Sunflower Bean

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

You might remember New York City psych rock power trio Sunflower Bean from a killer performance at Non-COMM 2016, delivered on the heels of their Fat Possum Records debut Human Ceremony. The band drew on Sabbath and the Stooges, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and had a formidable live presence to boot; not only did bassist / vocalist Julia Cumming, drummer Jacob Faber, and guitarist Nick Kivlen get lost in the proverbial zone, they took the eager audience along for the ride.

Flash forward a year and a half, and the band is resurfacing from a seemingly constant tour schedule to deliver the first taste of their next phase. The song “I Was A Fool” premiered on NPR Music last week, and with it came the announcement that Sunflower Bean has joined the Mom + Pop Records family — home to Courtney Barnett, Tash Sultana, DMAs and more. The new song shows a progression in their sound — the sound eases up on heavy drone, making room for ethereal pop. Jangling guitars and trade-off vocals from Cumming and Kivlen are reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and Todd Rundgren, as filtered through Kurt Vile and Rilo Kiley. Continue reading →


Interview: Sunflower Bean talk musical inspiration, making videos, and puppies

sunflower bean
Sunflower Bean | photo by Rebekah Campbell | courtesy of the artist

“We’ve spent countless hours watching videos of early Sabbath playing live, and I think that has really rubbed off,” Jacob Faber says about the way his Brooklyn psych rock band Sunflower Bean performs. “They have this amazing raw energy that I think can only be achieved by being the bare bones of a rock band: one guitar, one bass, one drummer and vocals. There is something so primal about their performances.”

Jacob is the drummer of the trio, another bare bones rock band also comprised of lead vocalist and bassist Julia Cumming and vocalist/guitarist Nick Kivlen. The group matched together after the guys, who played together since high school, saw Julia play guitar with her band Supercute! and brought her on board.

Since 2013, it’s been the three of them (and their manager, Crista Simiriglia) navigating a hectic multi-country tour schedule, festival circuit and the release of two records: 2015’s Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP and this year’s full-length, Human Ceremony, put out by Fat Possum.

We spoke to Sunflower Bean, who just played NonCOMM last spring, ahead of their October 8th show at The Foundry, about how groups like Television, Suicide, The Velvet Underground and Sabbath have inspired them to be a band (and one that’s this close to adding puppies to their rider).

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NonCOMM Recap: Sunflower Bean make magic through Human Ceremony

Sunflower Bean | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | <a href= target="_blank"></a>
Sunflower Bean | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN |

New York City rockers Sunflower Bean were next to take on the PRX stage upstairs. Just like their Bob Dylan-influenced album cover, the band brought it all back home with a quick set of New York 70’s punk rock.

Red Bulls in hand, the band exuded both energy and excitment and proceeded to kick it right off the bat with the title song from their debut LP, Human Ceremony, released back in February. Sunflower Bean, which is made up of Jacob Faber on drums, Nick Kilven on guitar, and Julia Cumming on bass, played fast, they played hard, and they played with an unencompassed yet welcoming youthful energy. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hippo Campus at First Unitarian Church, Gwenno at Boot and Saddle, Sunflower Bean at Chameleon Club and more…

Hippo Campus
Hippo Campus | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Minnesota indie rockers Hippo Campus will headline the First Unitarian Church tonight. They’re amidst a national tour after a year of breaking out in a big way. 2015 EPs Bashful Creatures and South landed them spots at festivals like Made In America and SXSW. Rock duo Riothorse Royale will open tonight’s gig. To prepare, reminisce on Hippo Campus’ Free at Noon performance, then head to the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets to the all ages show. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Petal at PhilaMOCA, Lizanne Knott at World Cafe Live, Sunflower Bean at Kung Fu Necktie, and more…

Petal | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

Scranton’s Petal – the emo / indie rock project of singer-songwriter-guitarist Kiley Lotz -will be performing at PhilaMOCA tonight. The band’s first album Shame was released last year on Run For Cover to wide acclaim. Also playing will be Somos, The Superweaks, and The Obsessives. More information can be found here. Continue reading →


Firefly on the Fly, Day Three: Chance the Rapper, Bob Dylan, Mondo Cozmo, Kesha, Bishop Briggs, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more

Chance The Rapper | Firefly Music Festival 2017 | Photos by John Vettese

Day Three of the Firefly Music Festival brought out superstar performances from Bob Dylan, Chance The Rapper, and The Weeknd, but it also brought out some of Philly’s finest including Mondo Cozmo, Chill Moody, Hardwork Movement, Vita and the Woolf, and a DJ set from the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff. Some great sets by Bishop Briggs, Sunflower Bean, and Kesha. Continue reading →


Firefly Guide 2017: 20 artists to discover in the Woodlands this week

Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

As any committed concert-goer will tell you, the best music you’ll find at summer festivals is often the stuff you come across far from the maddening crowd. Sets stumbled upon by chance when you’re looking for a spot to stretch out in the shade; artists you’ve never heard of who bowl you over as you’re waiting to catch one of the headliners; a DJ playing on a campground stage in the middle of the night or a band in the same spot come early afternoon.

Delaware’s annual Firefly Music Festival kicks off this Thursday afternoon; as we have said in the past, it is one of the most positive festivalgoing experiences of its scale. The headliners are massive, but quality; the crowds are packed, but comfortable; you’re essentially holed up in a ginormous camp-out for the weekend, but it doesn’t feel like you’re being gouged for cash. It’s a fan-friendly experience, and that extends to the fans who are down for discovering new music, seeing new performers for the first time.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sigur Ros at the Academy of Music, Hop Along at the Electric Factory, Birdie Busch’s Philly Opry at Johnny Brenda’s and more…

sigur ros
Sigur Ros | Photo by Noah Silvestry |

Orchestral Icelandic outfit Sigur Ros are at the Academy of Music tonight. Led by Jónsi, the post-rockers will perform two sets, pulling from their expansive catalog that includes standout records ( ) and Takk…. along with 2013’s Kveikur. Tickets and information for the all-ages concert can be found here. Watch “Óveður” below, released this summer.

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Suburban Living announce new LP, share “Come True” single

suburban living
Suburban Living | photo by Emily Dubin via Facebook

Local indie pop outfit Suburban Living have returned with a new album called Almost Paradise, set for release on October 7th via 6131 Records (home to recent releases by Julien Baker and NONA). Today’s announcement came with the LP’s first single in tow, an upbeat jammer called “Come True.” The album follows 2015’s self-titled full band debut. Continue reading →


And now, here’s your NonCOMM daily lineup!

Joseph | photo courtesy of the artist

The annual public radio convention NonCOMM begins tomorrow, runs through Friday and is quite sold out – but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to miss out. XPN will broadcast and webcast the entire three-day event live, so you’ll be able to follow along with the music discovery from the comfort of your own home.

Coverage begins at 7 p.m. EST each night and runs roughly until midnight; you can watch live streaming video at, or listen to the concerts on the go on 88.5 FM in Philly.

To get you set for the show, dig in to our official Spotify playlist spotlighting a track from each of the bands on the bill. Continue reading →