New Audio: Sunflower Bean Releases a 70s-Inspired Ambivalent Ode to Love

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may have come across a post or two featuring Brooklyn-based psych rock/indie rock trio Sunflower Bean.  The trio which is comprised of Julia Cumming (bass, lead vocals) and founding duo Nick Kivlen (guitar, vocals) and Jacob Faber (drums) can trace their origins back to 20123 when Kivlen and Faber were members of Turnip King, and at the time, Kivlen and Faber had been spending a great deal of time practicing and jamming together, and decided that it was time to go out on their own. Cumming, who was then a member of of Supercute! with Rachel Trachtenburg, was recruited by Kivlen, who had known her through mutual friends. 

The band quickly rose to national attention after playing 8 critically applauded sets over the course of 4 days during 2014’s CMJ Festival, along with a series of shows across town; however, the act started to receive both national and international attention with the release of 2014’s Rock & Roll Heathen EP and 2015’s Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP, an EP that featured the critically applauded singles “Tame Impala” and “2013.” Adding to a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based trio toured the US and the UK as a headliner and as an opener for Wolf AliceBest Coast and The Vaccines. The Brooklyn-based trio then followed it up with their Matthew Molnar-produced debut effort Human Ceremony, which was released last year to critical praise.

After spending the better part of 2016 touring to support Human Ceremony, which included an impressive Burger Records Beach Bash 2 set, the trio have released their first new single in some time “I Was A Fool.” And while closely hewing to the period that has most influenced their sound and aesthetic — late 60s psych rock and 70s classic rock — the Brooklyn trio’s latest single not only finds them at their loosest and most self-assured, it finds them gently pushing their sound in the direction of breezy yet deliberately crafted 70s AM rock, with their latest track sounding as though it were influenced by Fleetwood Mac.  But underneath the song’s breeziness, the trio capture something that my colleagues, who have written about the song have missed — that while all-consuming love can be swooning and urgent, it can also be deeply ambivalent, if not profoundly helpless; after all, love is arguably one of the ridiculous, inexplicable, frustrating, and most wonderful things we’ll ever really know.

Interestingly as the band’s Nick Kivlen explains in press notes, “‘I Was A Fool’ is one of those songs that seemingly crept up from nowhere and into our practice space. it was a special moment between the three of us, Julia and I both improvised the lyrics. It feels far longer but it’s been nearly two years since ‘we’ve put new music into the world. I think this song is a good example of how we’ve grown as a band, while still staying true to the band that first played together back in high school.”

With the release of the new single, the band also announced that they signed to renowned indie label Mom + Pop Music, and they will be embarking on a lengthy UK tour before playing a series of North American tour dates, including a November 30 stop at Brooklyn’s newest venue Elsewhere. Check out the tour dates below.


Tour dates – North American shows in BOLD

11/08 – Bristol, UK @ 02 Bristol *
11/09 – Manchester, UK @ 02 Apollo *
11/11 – Glasgow, SCT @ Barrowlands *
11/12 – Glasgow, SCT @ Barrowlands *
11/13 – Newcastle, UK @ 02 Academy *
11/15 – Nottingham, UK @ Rock City *
11/16 – Birmingham, UK @ 02 Academy *
11/17 – Norwich, UK @ UEA *
11/18 – Leeds, UK @ 01 Academy *
11/20 – Brighton, UK @ Dome *
11/21 – Southampton, UK @ 02 Guildhall *
11/24 – London, UK @ Alexandra Palace *
11/27 – Belfast, North Ireland @ Ulster Hall *
11/28 – Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia *
11/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere

1/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
1/31 – Chicago, IL @ Metro ^
2/01 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East ^
2/03 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk ^
2/05 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger ^
2/06 – Dallas, TX @ Granada ^
2/07 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (Inside Downstairs) ^
2/09 – New Orleans, LA @ Republic New Orleans ^
2/10 – Athens, GA  @ 40 Watt ^
2/11 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre ^
2/14 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club ^
3/01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
3/02 – San Francisco, CA @  Rickshaw Stop

* – w/ Wolf Alice
^ – w/ Sleigh Bells