Though Sunflower Bean formed in 2013, the group came about years earlier when drummer Olive Faber and guitarist/vocalist Nick Kivlen began jamming together while both were still in high school. However, nothing much came of it until they were freshman in college and added bassist/vocalist Julia Cumming to the lineup. Once set as a trio, they developed a style that relied heavily on interplay between the two vocalists and began playing shows in N.Y.C. -- almost 100 over the course of a year. After recording an EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets, which was released in 2015, the band hooked up with Fat Possum and began working on a full-length album. They spent the summer of 2015 in Faber's basement hashing out songs, and with the help of producer Matthew Molnar, formerly of indie pop group Friends, recorded them over a whirlwind seven-day session. The album, Human Ceremony, was released in early 2016 and the group embarked on a steady spate of shows. In September, they released From the Basement, a four-song EP of covers of Neil Young, Modern Lovers, T. Rex, and Spiritualized songs.
Once the touring slowed down, Sunflower Bean began planning a second record. Inspired by politics and growing up in an uncertain world, the group spent a full year writing songs, then recorded them with Molnar again, this time with the addition of Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Jacob Portrait as co-producer. Taking a more direct approach to the songwriting this time, the band brought in classic rock and glam influences while keeping the innocent spirit of the debut intact. The album, Twentytwo in Blue, was released by their new label, Mom+Pop, in March 2018 and hit number 16 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.
On the heels of the album's release, the band hit the road, appearing at Glastonbury, Leeds Festival, and Bonnaroo, as well as touring at various times with Interpol, the Kills, and Wolf Alice, among others. They also showcased their ever-expanding influences, drawing upon their love of nervy, '80s punk and new wave on 2019's Justin Raisen-produced King of the Dudes EP. The following year, Cumming also contributed vocals to Yves Tumor's Heaven to a Tortured Mind.
Following a period of recording largely at their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunflower Bean returned with their third full-length, 2022's Headful of Sugar. Once again produced with Portrait (and with Faber handling engineering duties) the album found them embracing an even more sophisticated blend of '90s-influenced alt rock, as evidenced by the sultry gravitas of the single "Who Put You Up to This?" ~ Matt Collar & Tim Sendra, Rovi
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