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Music Appreciation: (Rare) Florence + the Machine


I have this strange preference for really raw music. I don’t know if that’s the right term for what I’m thinking of, so let me put it this way: When I find a band I really enjoy, and then later discover some of their earliest, demo-type stuff, I usually end up loving that even more than the official, put-together album music that band puts out.

This has happened to me before with bands such as Modest Mouse, but I think my favorite case for this phenomenon has to be Florence + the Machine. (In fact, I like every album of hers less than the previous one. Lungs was an eclectic mix of styles from various genres that came together in an oddly cohesive way, and then Ceremonials went and ruined everything by being gothic chamber pop non-stop all the way through.)

However, the stuff I enjoy the most from her was from long before she became known for her fairy tale-esque vibes. There’s still some of that to these early tracks, but it’s combined with something more grungy and less etherial than what she produces these days.

In short, there’s something awesome about it that sucks me in, and I’m going to share some of it with you today.

“I’m Not Calling You a Liar” | Ukulele Version

I’m not at home with myself
But I’m not at home with you either
I’m too scared to leave.
But I never seem safe here.

(I should preface this choice by warning you that I might be immediately breaking the premise of this article; I have no idea if this track was recorded before Lungs or not, but it is a vastly different version, so…)

I am an unabashed fan of the ukulele. Just about any song that features it will get two thumbs up from this guy.

Plus, there’s the fact that the dark lyrics do not even remotely fit with the bouncy uke tone.  And those dark lyrics areas lightly different than the final version – and I like them better, much more desperate and sad.

“Happy Slap” | Early Version of “Kiss With a Fist”

My black eye casts no shadow
Your red eye sees no blame, yeah
Your slaps don’t stick, your kicks don’t hit
So we remain the same

Before her solo days, Florence Welch was part of a different band. It was called Ashok, and one of the song on the single album it produced was “Happy Slap.” If you’ve listened to Lungs, you’ll realize this song is on the album.

Ironically enough, I think this earlier version fits better with the overall tone of Lungs, however I wouldn’t give up the awesomeness of the grungy sounding “Kiss with a Fist.” Still, this version is fun and unique.

“Ye Old Hope” | “Tear Out My Tongue” Rehearsal Version

And when they found you hanging in the wood
You said, “At least, now, I don’t have to be kind or good,
I’ll be cruel, and I’ll be obscene,
Tear out my tongue, cos I’ve been redeemed”

I’m not 100% on this, but I don’t think this song appears on any of Welch’s official albums (feel free to correct me in the comments, since I don’t know every single detail about this artist).

I don’t really get why it hasn’t ended up on an album. It seems pretty awesome to me, and returns to the more dark feel of her early work that I enjoy so much.

Basically, as this whole article has told you, I enjoy Welch the most when she’s less produced and has a bit more of a rock-type sound mixed with all of her fairy tale trappings – and this song is a classic example of that style. She’s still got a huge, rollicking good time of a sound to her, and it’s awesome.

What do you think of these early tracks?