Florence + the Machine

by groove on February 10, 2013

Florence + The Machine

I have always had an affinity for the female lead singer, going way back in time to my days of growing up in a house filled with music. Thumbing through dad’s records and hearing them being played, I appreciated the voices of Tanya Tucker, Crystal Gayle, Cher and other singers of the 70’s. When I started collecting music back in the day of cheap vinyl, endless 45’s and eventually cassette tapes, I would often be drawn to Debbie Harry, Pat Benatar and Holly Woods for my music fix. Let’s not forget about Ann Wilson from Heart and Darby Mills from The Headpins for voices that could really rock. Just watch the recent YouTube video of Heart performing “Stairway To Heaven” and you’ll witness a weeping Robert Plant – likely due to Ann Wilson’s incredible performance of the song. For a true goose-bump experience, watch Gretchen Wilson kill it with her tribute to Heart when she sings “Barracuda” with Alice In Chains.

Through the last couple of decades, women in music have taken center stage and, in many cases, have dominated the charts. Check the Billboard Top 10 at the end of 1999 and you will find 8 of the top 10 songs have female leads. What about 2005? Six of the top 10. Maybe 2009? Six again (The Black Eyed Peas had 2 spots, so I’m counting Fergie). The 80’s were filled with an almost endless number of one-hit wonders, often with female lead singers and remember the era of the all-girl bands like The Go-Go’s, The Bangles and Banarama?

In the case of Florence + The Machine, we are presented with a vocalist with range and emotion not heard in many of today’s lead singers.  Florence has been compared to Kate Bush, Siouxsie Sioux, Bjork and PJ Harvey – an impressive group of women to be mentioned among. Unlike many of today’s indie artists, the group branches into many different styles in “Lungs” and are not one-dimensional. The group is difficult to define by genre – art rock, neo soul, indie rock and indie pop have been used but not one single description adequately does the job.

Definitely enjoyable listening and Florence Welch provides an impressive range of styles in her delivery of songs such as “Kiss With A Fist” and “Dog Days Are Over”. Music media have had mostly positive commentary, with many critics heralding the album as one of the most impressive debut’s in recent history. I found the album has a maturity to it not often found in a debut, containing strong numbers that one would expect to be the product of a lengthy career of multiple disc output. I saw her performance on a late night show in 2011 (possibly Letterman or SNL…or both) and became an instant fan. This album was the first heavyweight vinyl I purchased after buying my stereo system and I was impressed at the depth and layers of sound in the production of the music. I continue to enjoy the album over a year later and will likely play it again before the week is through.

Pear Apple Salsa

I have to admit I struggled a bit to find a food pairing to go along with Florence + The Machine. Before I studied the album cover front and back I had decided on my Pear & Apple Salsa. Now, would you believe my luck that this picture of Florence sitting on a bed with apples and pears is on the inside cover? I guess this salsa was meant to be dedicated to her.

Florence + The Machine

This pear and apple salsa is light, sweet and would be a great condiment. So far I’ve garnished it with soup, salad and even tortilla chips.

Go With The Flo Salsa

Light, sweet and fills your soul just like Florence.

Ingredients

4 pears, peeled and cored
1 apple, cored (I used a gala)
3 green onions, chopped
3 tsp honey
½ lemon, juiced
½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean
1 tsp salt

Method

In a small bowl add the pears and apple. Add the green onions and mix to combine. Add the honey, lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to make sure the fruit is coated well. Wrap up and put in the fridge and let those flavour meld together. Within an hour or two you’ll have a delicious light salsa.

Enjoy!

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