in Band of the Week, blog

Who: Sunflower Bean

I’ve thinking this week about how small single events can have so much larger consequences – more of that in a later post – but it ties into how I first came across this week’s Band of the Week, Sunflower Bean.

I looked at that photograph above and thought, as you just have, ‘doesn’t that guy look like a young Bob Dylan’. I appreciate that’s not necessarily what any band wants to hear. Naturally, they want you to fall in love with the music first, I get that, but there it is.

That guy is Nick Kivlen, he sings and plays the guitar with Sunflower Bean who have all the elements I love in a young band:

  • they take the whole thing really seriously.
  • they write all their own material.
  • they used to live together.
  • they’re inspired by an obscure artistic reference – in their case cult surrealist films.
  • and apropos last week’s BOTW, Mirror Gaze, they have a name that’s easy to google.

Sunflower Bean are Jacob Faber (drums), Julia Cumming (vocal, bass) and Nick Kivlen. Faber and Kivlen grew up in the stayed suburban Long Island. They met Cumming, who had previously been a member of Supercute!, in New York sometime in 2013.

A first album should be a little rough around the edges and …… full of ‘we bloody love this’ passion!

When: The Band formed in August 2013, they released an EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets, in October 2015. Shortly after they were invited to tour with the likes of Diiv and The Vaccines. Their first album, Human Ceremony, was released on 5 February this year.

What: It’s easy to be sniffy about a young band’s first album, Human Ceremony was written when the band were all teenagers. It certainly shows their teenage experimentation and ranges through a number of genres, but there’s really nothing wrong with that. Young bands should be experimenting, finding what suits, I don’t want to hear a first album that’s been polished within an inch of its life. A first album should be a little rough around the edges and more importantly full of ‘we bloody love this’ passion!

One of my favourite tracks from the new album is Wall Watcher, it cracks off with a fresh dynamism, the guitar opening pulls you straight in and the mix of vocal from Cumming and Kivlen work well together.

Why: Basically it’s the Dylan thing, I’m not proud, but there it is. Having said that, it was the music that pulled me in. I’m certainly glad I stumbled upon them. They are a band to watch.

Where: They’re currently on a US tour. June seems them in Texas and California, followed by NYC, Chicago and Denver. In August, they come to the UK, including my local venue to shoot, the Scala. I’ll see if I can catch them there. All the dates are here.

Have a great week. Have any new music you’d like to recommend? Hit me up on @nigelrumsey.

I'd love to hear what you think.