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Our 2017 RSD Ambassador St. Vincent will kick off the day with a special visit
“Everything comes from a conflicting interest,” affirms Nick. “We love dream pop, but we also really love rock ‘n’ roll. It’s those two spectrums.”
“You’re allowed to obsess over Black Sabbath as well as The Cure,” adds Julia. “It’d be boring if everything was just one way or the other.”
That diversity defined the group’s approach since Nick and Jacob started jamming back in high school. They would hole up in Jacob’s Long Island basement for hours on end, channeling this vast cadre of influences. Julia’s addition would only expand that creative palette further in 2013.
Through constant gigging around New York, Sunflower Bean sprouted into a sonic enigma, boasting a fiery musical call-and-response that serves as a centerpiece, giving the music what Jacob refers to as a “lyrical aspect” between the guitars, drums, and bass.
They transferred this multi-headed energy into their 2015 Independent EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets. At the same time, this distinct alchemy enchanted ever-growing audiences live. By the time, they entered the studio for Human Ceremony, Sunflower Bean had a lively aural cauldron from which to draw.
They took the summer of 2015 off and retreated to Jacob’s basement to write together. Taking the ideas out of the basement, they hit a Brooklyn studio with producer Matt Molnar [Friends] and tracked eleven tunes in just seven days. Whereas the EP was recorded after Sunflower Bean played 100 shows in one year, Human Ceremony showed the band’s studio side with richer soundscapes, overdubs, and music that had yet to be debuted live.
On the lead track “Easier Said,” Julia’s delicate vocals glide over a lilting clean guitar that spirals off into a vibrant hum.
Sunflower Bean’s spell is cast on Human Ceremony.
“When you’re in a band, you always dream about the first record,” Julia concludes. “It’s that moment where you explore everything that’s been inspiring you.”
What do you do when your original writing partner up and moves to Los Angeles upon album release? You quickly form a new live touring band. And when you live in Bushwick in 2014 and you build and run indie rock venue Alphaville, that’s easy to do. You even turn your two person project into a full blown rock band with energetic live shows. Then, you tour – across America and Europe – up and down the east coast and add in a few trips to the midwest. All the while, you never stop writing and collaborating.
On The Blue Swell, Citron’s main collaborator is longtime tour mate and noise pop producer Scott Rosenthal (The Beets, Crystal Stilts), with Kip Berman (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) lending co-writing talents to Victoria. Careers is acclaimed for its “fuzzed distortion and melodic sugar” (Rolling Stone) and its variety, with Pitchfork noting how it “careens from venomous, angry punk to jangly, mild lust to blown-out emotional hangover.” While you’ll still find reverb, catchy hooks and a track or two like Bulldozer or South Collins that could perhaps fit into the debut, the new album takes a less aggressive and more melodic turn.
Lead single Crooked Cop, a dreamy allegory about deceit and confusion, sounds like a female fronted Teenage Fanclub. A direct hit like Contact is juxtaposed with the pretty and more leisurely The Smokey Pines.
Citron says, “It wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision to create- or not create – a new sound, but changes were inevitable, and we’re working harder than ever to get at what we love about good songs, what we can do with them, and how they can connect to people.”
The new album is, in some respects, bolder, more playful yet more grounded. The Blue Swell was not conceived by two friends taking a piss on the road; it was lovingly crafted by a band putting down roots. It marks a new beginning for Beverly.
A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Earle quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others. 1986 saw the
release of his debut record, Guitar Town, which shot to number one on the country charts and immediately established the term “New Country.” What followed was an extremely exciting and varied array of releases including the biting hard rock of Copperhead Road (1988), the minimalist beauty of Train A Comin’ (1995), as well as the politically charged masterpiece, Jerusalem (2002) and the Grammy Award-winning albums, The Revolution Starts…Now (2004), Washington Square Serenade (2007), and Townes (2009). His previous album, I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (2011), was also Grammy Award nominated.
Earle is also recognized as an actor from his roles in the acclaimed HBO Original Series The Wire and Treme (both from celebrated writer David Simon) as well as appearances on Law & Order and the Tim Blake Nelson film Leaves Of Grass. He will be seen in the forthcoming feature film The World Made Straight, co-starring Minka Kelly, Noah Wyle, and Haley Joel Osment. He is also host of The Steve Earle Show: Hardcore Troubadour Radio, on Sirius XM Radio.
2011 saw the publication of his debut novel, like the album, also titled I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive. Of the novel, Patti Smith stated, “Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit and cinematic energy he projects in his music. I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive is like a dream you can’t shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades.” A forthcoming memoir and novel are also set to be published by Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group