Florist formed around the vulnerable songwriting of multi-instrumentalist Emily Sprague. Balancing spare intimacy and textured reflection, Florist's tranquil version of lo-fi first appeared in 2013 on the EP We Have Been This Way Forever. The group's critically well-received full-length debut, The Birds Outside Sang, saw release in 2016. Titled Emily Alone, Florist's third album was a solo effort by Sprague released in 2019. Sprague recorded her first Florist EP, 2013's We Have Been This Way Forever, in her native upstate New York with guitarist Jonnie Baker and bass player Rick Spataro. A split cassette with Eskimeaux (6 Days of Songs) followed in 2014. By that time based in New York City and collaborating with likewise introspective indie acts like Bellows and Told Slant, Florist then signed with Double Double Whammy, which released the EP Holdly in 2015. After adding drummer Felix Walworth (Told Slant) to the official lineup, the quartet released their full-length debut, The Birds Outside Sang, in 2016. It landed on a handful of indie music magazine year-end lists as well as among The New York Times music editors' picks for best of the year. Florist followed it in mid-2017 with If Blue Could Be Happiness, also on Double Double Whammy. In the meantime, personal ordeals including a breakup and the death of her mother prompted a move to Los Angeles for Sprague, who begin recording material at home on her own. She released the ambient synth album Water Memory as Emily A. Sprague in December 2017. The follow-up, Mount Vision, arrived in September 2018. Returning to songwriting and Florist, when logistics prevented bandmates from contributing, she recorded the third Florist LP on her own. Double Double Whammy issued the resulting Emily Alone in mid-2019. ~ Marcy Donelson
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Folk/Americana - Released July 26, 2019 | Double Double Whammy
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Around the time of the release of 2017's If Blue Could Be Happiness, Florist singer/songwriter Emily Sprague suffered a series of personal ordeals including a breakup and the unexpected death of her mother. She subsequently relocated from her home state of New York to Los Angeles. Isolated from bandmates and taking a break from Florist, she worked on music at home on her own, ultimately releasing two ambient synth instrumental albums under her own name. After Sprague was ready to return to songwriting in 2018, logistics got in the way of a band reunion, and she home-recorded Florist's third album by herself. The resulting Emily Alone is a devastating, unapologetically vulnerable set of 12 ruminative guitar and keyboard songs, one of which is entirely spoken ("Still"). A mix of fond and somber remembrances, suicidal ideation, and healing introspections, the quiet album also includes occasional appearances by sound effects or field recordings, as on the piano lament "M," which features the repeated sound of crunching footsteps. An undercurrent of barely audibly mechanical bleeps runs through "I Also Have Eyes" beneath strummed acoustic guitar and Sprague's gentle, breathy vocals. Her voice is especially plaintive on the opening lines "How did I get in this place/My life is only a combination of things that I mostly had no control over/And it took me a long time to figure that out." Elsewhere, she articulates depression on "Time Is a Dark Feeling" with lines like "These are the days like the deepest caves/You would never dare to descend into/Truthfully, silence never did it for me." Some of the songs end on a hopeful note, and the album does, too, with "Today I'll Have You Around." Its arpeggiated acoustic guitar and overlapping vocal lines are accompanied by the intermittent sound of rain, with water being a recurring theme on Emily Alone. It has one of the album's sweeter melodies, although it ends, significantly, on an unresolved chord. ~ Marcy Donelson
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