When Sunflower Bean released “Human Ceremony” in 2016, a lot of ears perked up. It was an extraordinarily competent and mature debut record for a band whose three members — Julia Cummings, Nick Kivlen, and Jacob Faber — couldn’t yet legally drink in their hometown of Brooklyn, New York. The album also stood out because it sounded like nothing out there at the time.
The precocious trio combined punk rock drum and bass with early metal guitar sounds and topped it off with the delicate, dreamy lead vocals of Cummings. Following two years of touring on that impressive material, the band left a lot of people eagerly awaiting their next move.
This past summer, concertgoers at Pickathon in Happy Valley, Oregon, got a tantalizing sneak preview of the band’s new direction.
On a warm Saturday evening at the Woods Stage, Sunflower Bean leaned into a set laced with new 70s guitar rock-inspired numbers that relied heavily on hooks. It was a brash and energetic performance that turned out to be one of the breakout moments of the three-day festival. But hidden in all the swagger and bombast was this beautiful new song “I Was A Fool,” the first single from their new record, “Twentytwo In Blue,” due out March 23 via Mom + Pop Music.
Every month this year, opbmusic and NPR Music will present another episode from the Pickathon Woods Stage. These videos are hand-picked by opbmusic to showcase some of the most exciting performances captured at Pickathon. Look for the next premiere in late February.
The Pickathon Woods Series was made possible by support from Klean Kanteen.