Add to Calendar
General Admission Standing Room Only
“It’s a portrait of who we are as collaborators, as really long term friends and as extended family as well,” leader Emily Sprague says of her band’s new self-titled album. Florist is also the strongest album of the band’s decade-long career, an immersive work that conveys the magic of the earth and of family, and the whole of the band’s heart. It arrives just after the cap of a winding journey. In 2017, shortly after the release of the band’s sophomore record, If Blue Could Be Happiness, Sprague sequestered herself in Los Angeles, thousands of miles away from friends and family, and from the physical void and spiritual crisis left in the wake of her mother’s death. There, she took up surfing and released Emily Alone, which was essentially a solo album released under the Florist moniker. Only after months of self reflection and therapy did Sprague realize that life in a silo is no way to live. That a life directed by fear is not much of a life. “The trauma response to losing my best friend, my mom, was to feel really afraid to get close to anybody ever again,” she says. “It’s sort of cheesy, but I realized that life is better when you share it. The answer isn’t to isolate yourself and be alone.” So she began writing Emily Alone’s companion, the other side of the binary, a record that rings distinctly of Sprague’s tender and poetic spirit, filled with nature and wonder and tears, but without all the loneliness and seclusion. She also adopted a dog, who, she says, “completely changed my life.” “My mind just started exploding with all these thoughts about what it means to live with others, and live with love and care collaboration.” Then, for all of June of 2019, amid a hot and rainy summer, Sprague (guitar, synth, vocals), Jonnie Baker (guitar, synth, sampling, bass, saxophone, vocals), Rick Spataro (bass, piano, synth, vocals) and Felix Walworth (percussion, synth, guitar, vocals) convened in a rented house in the Hudson Valley, to live and work together. It was the first time the quartet recorded that way, and for that long. “In the past we’d meet up for a couple of days, or one day here and there,” Spague recalls. “Living together for a month is a really big part of why the arrangements are the way they are, and also why the instrumentals are such a huge part of the record.” They set up their gear on the screened-in front porch, which looked out onto a canopy of trees, allowing the sounds of nature to play a leading role through out. Then, they experimented. The production and recording of the album directly reflects the organic ways in which the band worked that month, with whispering voices, crickets, rain and birds accenting the aleatoric quality of the instrumentation, each player drawing from the communal energy of the woods and their interpersonal bonds. Poignant, guitar-centric meditation “Red Bird Pt. 2 (Morning)” carries on Sprague’s concern with love, loss and the natural world. “She’s in the birdsong/She won’t be gone,” she sings of her late mother, proffering a merciful sense of resolve. “Feathers” finds her facing her fears over threads of bowed guitar while “Dandelion” meditates on the beauty of our finite existence, pairing synth and fingerpicking with the spirit of Emily Dickinson. “Sci Fi Silence” occupies a liminal space between soul baring confession and contemplative new age, a swirl of analog synth that culminates in a full-band meditation. “You’re not what I have, but what I love,” the band sings over and again until the words grow into a kind of mantra, a thing that at once pierces and heals. The quartet played through muggy days and breezy nights, and often impromptu. “In between working on songs specifically, somebody would be sitting on the porch playing a little instrumental piece, and somebody else would be in the kitchen making dinner and stop, and go to the porch and pick up a random instrument,” Sprague explains. These creative bursts became the album’s ambient instrumental bridges, like “Variation” and “Jonnie on the Porch,” gentle moments that portray their life together in that particular moment. The bells heard throughout the album are from a collection housed in the rental, the animals were their neighbors. The result is 19 tracks that feel like the culmination of a decade-long journey, their fourth full-length album, but the first deserving of a self-titled designation. “We called it Florist because this is not just my songs with a backing band,” Sprague explains. “It’s a practice. It’s a collaboration. It’s our one life. These are my best friends and the music is the way that it is because of that.” After making the record they always knew they could, together, as one, Sprague could no longer live on the west coast without her band and blood. So, she returned home. Last year, she moved back to The Catskills to be closer to her father and her creative collaborators. She misses surfing, but finds peace in the area’s natural landscapes, and through a strengthening sense of physical reconnection. “A goal is to share the band’s connectedness and relationship, but also how we’re all connected,” she says. With Florist, Emily is no longer alone.
On Last Room, the third album from the Connecticut-based waveform*,, there's a purposeful hollowness. It's a record you can fall into, a collection of music that's unafraid to venture into emotion, exploring the gaping distance that develops in some relationships, the constant confusion that accompanies self-discovery, and the darkness that accompanies abandonment.
Nothing is said outright on Last Room. There's no declaration of material certainty that allows you to fully discover every secret or moment of meaning on this recording, but the duo comprised of Jarett Denner and Dan Poppa intended it to be that way. They want you to step into their cavernous auditory journey, to lose yourself in a state of wandering as you find your own story, creating a personal narrative gleaned from their collection of mysteries.
Recorded on a laptop in Jarett's bedroom, the album comes with a discernible feeling of intimacy. Despite their close proximity to one another, Jarett and Dan chose to complete much of the album apart, exchanging ideas and finishing bits of music through email. They traded off responsibilities, one focusing on a song's structure, while another considered the emotional details and coloring.
"Hello Goodbye" is the only of the album's singles that waveform* considers to be collaborative, as the two worked on it together before it was recorded. It's also among the record's most poignant and reflective, a back-and-forth of admitted unease placed between continued pleas for someone to stay are set against lush, light guitar. Its final moments are one of admittance, as a repetition lyrical confession ("I can't relax at all") is left to linger.
That same rare moment of confession is also etched within the charge of "Blue Disaster." It's a track that sways between two energies, trading out an electric beginning and a calamitous conclusion for the occasional quiet that punctuates devastatingly honest lyrics: "I was on a tightrope all the time/had a blue disaster but it's fine/there was something i was reaching for/but that's no more."
Formed while still in high school, waveform* was created out of the pair's mutual appreciation for music. Over the last few years, waveform* has continued to grow, attributing an increasing interest in fans to an era dominated by Internet discovery and streaming. A sound comparable to Melania Kol, Alex G., Title Fight, Have a Nice Life, and Teen Suicide, the band has also performed live with Strange Ranger, Beach Bunny, Pince Daddy and the Hyena, and Lomelda. Their previous releases -- Shooting Star and Library -- were released in 2018 and 2019. Last Room, released in 2020, is being rereleased through Run for Cover Records.
295 Treadwell Street
Hamden, CT, 06514