Every day this week NME is introducing one of its ones to watch acts for 2016. Sunflower Bean are three beautifully twisted, doomy New York rockers who just released the first truly great song of the year, ‘Easier Said’:
Why They’re Worthy:
Frontduo Julia Cumming and Nick Kivlen might just be rocks new poster kids, with everybody from Hedi Slimane to Burger Records already falling at their feet despite Sunflower Bean barely being out of the traps. Their music means a whole lot more than the hype though, and next months debut album Human Ceremony has barely left NME’s stereo since we got advanced copies before Christmas. We thought it would be good, but not this good.
Lead track ‘Easier Said’, which just premiered today and is embedded above, is a real treat: a heady concoction of Blondie’s pop supremacy and the more shimmering moments of 80s UK indie (I’m thinking Felt and Durutti Column), with a hefty dose of the production that’s made Tame Impala, Diiv and Sky Ferreira soar so effortlessly in the past two years.
NME’s first meeting with the band, back in SXSW where they completely blew us away, was at an Oh Sees gig where they ended up waxing lyrical about glam rock (T-Rex and The Glitter Band in particular) and the virtues of Meddle by Pink Floyd. And with that in mind, the broad strokes of Human Ceremony seem to make even more sense. They’re making indie exciting again, basically.
Alongside ‘Easier Said’, there’s also ‘2013’. First released as a demo, it’s now set to appear on Human Ceremony as the albums re-recorded centrepiece. The track sees Cumming and Kivlen taunting each other about sci-fi, and features some of the most astonishing guitar intricacy since one John Martin Maher started hanging out with a speccy kid from Manchester called Steven. That good. Here’s the scrappier but no less interesting demo version:
Debut album ‘Human Ceremony’ is out on February 5 via Fat Possum. Following live stints supporting Fat White Family and Diiv, they hit the road in the UK next month, kicking off at Bristol’s Louisiana on February 2. Importantly, they’re also shithot live, as this video from SXSW’s Spider House showcase they did illustrates. Just check out how confident they are: