Few music fans can argue that U.K. act [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence + the Machine[/lastfm] is one of the major success stories of 2010. Florence’s only album, Lungs, came out way back in 2009, was a hit in England, and then finally gate-crashed U.S. culture this year (including making it onto the soundtrack of Twilight: Eclipse).
Last.fm Discover sat down with Florence Welch and guitarist Rob Ackroyd when they were first promoting the album in the U.S. back in the fall of 2009. The two-part story highlighted below dives into details of the band’s rise to popularity in the U.S. We also include portions of the 2009 interview and acoustic performance Florence and Rob did in our very own Discover studio. So before you check out her Live on Letterman webcast tonight you can check out the history of this impressive artist.
(Story by Last.fm Discover’s very own Jerry Rubino)
The origins of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence + The Machine [/lastfm]making an memorable impact in the U.S. date back to March of 2008. Florence and the band were playing at South By Southwest at The Rio, playing on the same bill as [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]MGMT[/lastfm]. While doing “Kiss With A Fist” she jumped into a water fountain, came up drenched, finished the song and disappeared under the makeshift stage.
That song, which had it’s roots with her previous band [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Ashok[/lastfm] under the title “Happy Slap,” would get it’s first [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence + The Machine [/lastfm]release a three months later in the U.K. on Moshi Moshi Records. In October it would get it’s stateside release on IAMSOUND. But that was just the beginning.
Two more singles would follow prior to the release of the Lungs album in the U.K. By then, radio play was picking up heavily and the fans started to come. The week the album was released, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence + The Machine [/lastfm] (listed with “+” and “&”) were easily the #1 Most Hyped Artist at Last.fm. In England, the album has spawned six singles, seven if you include the re-release of “Dog Days Are Over.” Kind of makes me think of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Michael Jackson[/lastfm]‘s Thriller album, which unleashed seven singles here in the U.S. Pretty impressive!
Lungs got it’s American release on October 20, 2009, and six days later, Florence & guitarist Rob Ackroyd were invited by us here at Last.fm Discover to do a Discover session. The following night they made their Late Show With David Letterman debut and also did a show at The Bowery Ballroom in NYC.
Discover was still in its infancy in those days, but we managed to squeeze out a few video performances and captured the other songs and interview via audio. Photo-wise, well, we would soon start using a REAL camera, but for this, the iPhone had to do. We have the whole Last.fm Discover experience with Florence + the Machine here in two parts–enjoy! And for the record, if you are keeping track, Florence + The Machine was the seventh overall artist of the week, dating back to Nov. 16, 2009.
Did you set out to have these songs sound “big” and to be played live?
What’s a good method for a Florence + The Machine song?
I’ve read these songs were written during a relationship break-up. Any truth to that?
Are you ready to take on America?
Has a lot changed for you since you first went in the studio and now?
“You’ve Got the Love” live at Last.fm Discover.
“Dog Days Are Over” live at Last.fm Discover.
“Cosmic Love” live at Last.fm Discover.
Don’t miss [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Florence + The Machine [/lastfm]tonight, December 16, performing a Live On Letterman webcast starting at 8pm Eastern (5pm Pacific).