NOSTALGIA is one of the more reliable cash machines in the music industry, and the past couple years have brought high-profile comebacks by iconic (but long dormant) artists like the Replacements, My Bloody Valentine, OutKast, and Neutral Milk Hotel.
Then there's Floor, the Miami-based melodic stoner/sludge band that proves you don't need a household name to benefit from the 21st century's raging case of web-fueled retromania.
Floor formed in 1992, broke up in 1996, put out its first full-length in 2002, split again in 2003, and reunited in 2010. In April, the band released its third album, Oblation, and has hit the road. Andy Low of the Robotic Empire record label spurred this most recent reunion, when he wanted to put out an exhaustive box set of the band's singles, EPs, and compilation tracks. The trio—Steve Brooks (guitar/vocals), Anthony Vialon (guitar), and Henry Wilson (drums)—played a show to support the box set's release, and their audience surprised them.
"The crowds had grown so much since before," Vialon says. "There were people singing all the songs and everything."
Credit for Floor's higher profile goes to two places: First, the internet. "It made the music available to people who would have never heard it before," say Vialon. "You didn't have to go to the one record store in town that carried independent records. Everything is available at light speed and someone can turn someone else onto another band in a moment."
Second, Brooks' success with his soaring sludge-pop band Torche, whose 2012 album Harmonicraft earned significant attention. Torche's success led folks back to Floor, which made Brooks the lynchpin in Floor's reanimation.
"[He] was reticent, but he said, 'If you wanna do a new album, write some songs,'" Vialon says. "So that's what I did. I came up with about 20 songs and... we recorded that and sent 'em to Steve, and when he heard them he was like, 'Oh yeah, we're doing this.'"
It's easy to hear why. Oblation is a towering record that takes the best parts of Floor—down-tuned guitars, thunderous rhythms, an unhurried pace—and combines it with Brooks' stronger voice and melodies, honed by years of singing Torche songs. The result sounds like a Torche record playing at slow speed, weighed down by its fat low end.
Unlike Brooks and Wilson, Vialon wasn't playing music during Floor's hiatus, so he's extra stoked for the band's present and, he hopes, its future. "When [Brooks] called, I could hear him smiling over the telephone, and I was like, 'Aw, right on! We're gonna do it!'" says Vialon, who has already begun working on new Floor material. "I'm extremely grateful to be able to do this again."