11.19.2015 — “The Birds Outside Sang” by Florist


If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “The Birds Outside Sang” by Florist (2016, from the forthcoming album The Birds Outside Sang).

Florist is an indie folk-pop quartet from Brooklyn. They started in Upstate New York a few years ago, but moved to Brooklyn and expanded from a trio to a quartet. I don’t know anything about them, and there’s an absolute dearth of information about them on the interwebs. There are other bands called Florist, and this is certainly not to be confused with any of those, or with the Japanese shoegaze band called The Florist.

This band likes to refer to themselves as a “friendship project”, which makes it sound like their primary focus is being friends with one another, while being a good band is an afterthought. There’s nothing wrong with liking the people you work with, but I think any band will be better suited to think of their band as a job, or as a business that they own.

That said, this band of friends is pretty good. I’ve heard a couple of their songs before, but I balked at writing about them because of the scarcity of information about them. Today, I got something in the mail bag promoting their forthcoming debut album. They released their first EP —Holdly— on October 30 via Double Double Whammy, and their debut long-player is slated for release on January 29 via DDW.

Apparently, the album has a completely different structure on side A to that of side B. Frontwoman Emily Sprague was involved in a bicycle accident in the winter of 2014, and she was left somewhat incapacitated. While she was recovering, she wrote and recorded some stuff that was made by her playing keys with one hand, singing, and “banging on stuff”. That’s side A. The stuff on side B was recorded in single, “live” takes by the full band. Tonight’s song is the first song on side B.

“The Birds Outside Sang” by Florist

Sprague’s voice reminds me a little bit of an unpolished Sharon Van Etten. Like something from Van Etten’s early oeuvre. Or maybe, again, like some early Cat Power. I’m not suggesting that she’ll have the same career trajectory that those two had from humble beginnings to indie darlings to mainstream success. I’m just saying that her voice has some of the sweet but raw qualities that those two had in their early careers. Or at least that’s how I hear it. Certainly, part of the “rawness” in Sprague’s voice is owing to the way they recorded this. I’d love to hear what these kids can do with time in the studio.

You can pre-order the album in your choice of light yellow vinyl, light blue vinyl, CD, or digital download. There are 500 of each vinyl color and 1000 of the CD. Go here for details. As long as you’re in the DDW e-store, you should also get the excellent album by Eskimeaux if you haven’t already done so.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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