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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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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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The 7 best things I saw at SXSW

Jack Garratt | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com
Jack Garratt | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

As with the past twenty plus SXSW music festivals I’ve attended, coordinating seeing all the bands I’ve want to see each year I go is a function of timing and serendipity. And it’s nearly impossible to see everything I have on my wish list. At any time, there are both official and unofficial showcases all around the city, and there are literally hundreds of them. SXSW is a sprawling, crowded event where you can see a random band rocking out in a vacant parking lot, or see an emerging buzz band, or if you’re willing to wait in a long line to get into the Spotify house, or the Pandora stage or the Hype Hotel, you might be able to see some big name rock bands or rappers along with bands your industry friends have declared the next big thing. It can get very complex very quickly.

Going into SXSW this year I had a list of 23 artists I wanted to see, and given I was at the festival for less time than usual, I knew a list of that size was over reaching. I managed to see about a dozen shows over the three days I was in Austin. Here’s some of the best things I saw. Continue reading →

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

Petal
Petal | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

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 →