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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 →

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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 →

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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).

Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Sunflower Bean make magic through Human Ceremony

Sunflower Bean | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | <a href=http://jeremy-zim.com target="_blank">jeremy-zim.com</a>
Sunflower Bean | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

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 →

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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 →