Sunflower Bean’s New Sounds
Brooklyn indie band Sunflower Bean’s critically acclaimed full-length debut album, Human Ceremony, was released in February, but fans, who include The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas and Courtney Love, may get a follow-up soon. The Surf Lodge in Montauk, N.Y., resumed its summer concert series with a July 9 performance by the trio — vocalist-bassist (and designer Hedi Slimane muse) Julia Cumming, drummer Jacob Faber and guitarist Nick Kivlen — where Faber revealed, “We’re working on about eight to 10 songs and have been sound-checking some new stuff.” The band also played an untitled new track and hinted the album could be out by year’s end.
The following evening, hip-hop blues musician G. Love (real name: Garrett Dutton) took the Surf Lodge stage to perform a cover of Biz Markie‘s classic hit “Just A Friend” updated with new lyrics Love had written that were set in Montauk. He also brought his 14-year-old son Aiden onstage to play the drums.
After dining with a group of friends that included “Margaritaville” singer and Montauk resident Jimmy Buffett’s daughter, Savannah Jane Buffett and Surf Lodge owner Jayma Cardoso, Love told Billboard after he returns from the Fuji Rock festival in Japan in July, he’ll be doing a full U.S. tour with Blues Traveler and Jakob Dylan‘s band The Wallflowers.
Three months ago Dutton became a father for the second time when his girlfriend Kelsey Lauren gave birth to his second son. “I’ve been changing diapers all the time,” he tells Billboard with a laugh. “We are one big happy family.”
Verve Gets New A&R Chief
Verve Records, home to Diana Krall and Andrea Bocelli, has named Grammy-nominated producer-songwriter-musician Mike Viola VP, A&R for the Universal Music Group label. (He’ll report President/CEO Danny Bennett, the son of singer Tony Bennett). Viola, who produced a number of tracks on Ryan Adams’ reimagining of Taylor Swift’s 1989 as well as records by Jenny Lewis and Willie Nelson, also has extensive experience in film. He has written songs for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, among other movies, which should come in handy. The soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is Verve’s most recent hit LP. Viola’s alt-rock pedigree also could bring more artists of that ilk to the label.
Incubus’ ‘Wicked Game’
Is metal band Disturbed’s crossover success with Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” the beginning of a trend? At a July 8 pre-opening party for Brent Bolthouse and Studio Collective’s The Bungalow Huntington Beach in California, Brandon Boyd, Mike Einziger and Ben Kenney of quasi-metal jam band Incubus played an acoustic cover of Chris Isaak’s 1991 pop hit, “Wicked Game.” Boyd tells Billboard that, “as far as I know, we won’t be releasing it. It was sort of one-off thing,” he explains. “We were rehearsing a couple days before the Huntington Beach gig at the Bungalow and Ben Kenney noticed that ‘Wicked Game’ was in the same key as our song ‘Absolution Calling’. We drifted into it with our tongues firmly placed in cheeks but then it started to sound kind of great, so we actually let it become a thing.”
A version of this article originally appeared in the July 23 issue of Billboard.