Song of the Day: Florist – What I Wanted To Hold

photo by Stephanie Griffin

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Morning Show with John Richards, is “What I Wanted To Hold” by Florist, from the 2017 album If Blue Could Be Happiness on Double Double Whammy.

Florist – What I Wanted To Hold (MP3)

A self-proclaimed “friendship project” that grew out of songwriter/producer Emily Sprague’s solo work, Florist favors tissue paper-delicate indie-folk with watercolor strokes of keyboards and percussion. The Brooklyn-based group’s source material is anything but slight, however: Florist’s introspective 2016 full-length debut, The Birds Outside Sang, emerged in the wake of a serious bicycle accident that left Sprague with a broken neck. The act’s second album, If Blue Could Be Happiness — released on September 29 via Double Double Whammy and recorded in an old schoolhouse in upstate New York –continues to be concerned with the heart’s most tender crevices.

Accordingly, this Song of the Day conjures the kind of vivid, immersive recollections that come roaring back when someone’s memory is jogged. In a dusky voice drenched with nostalgia, Sprague muses about past loves and lives, and compares these intense feelings to colors (“What is love if not Violet / A beam of light on an Autumn afternoon that slowly fades to Blue?”). Although she sounds content revisiting the past, Sprague is more determined to live in the here and now, and pines for a tangible foundation, such as “a mouth that says soft things or just breathes in my ear.” Musically, the sparse song gracefully addresses the distance between reality and memory: Fluttering acoustic riffs serve as an anchor around which hushed keyboard chords and creased, droning electric guitars revolve.

Follow the band on Facebook and frontwoman Sprague on Twitter here. Florist are touring North America this fall; no Seattle date, but if you live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you can catch them tonight at Total Drag Records. For the rest of us, get a glimpse of their stage sound with this live performance video filmed at Silent Barn in Brooklyn on August 22, 2015.

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