I recently wrote about some psychedelic picks for Record Store Day 2023, and lo and behold, my email inbox was hit with another one you can check out come April 22, 2023. The name of the album is Odes, and it comes from the fascinating group The Flowers of Hell, a transatlantic experimental orchestra comprised of a revolving lineup of about 16 musicians.
Led by composer Greg Jarvis, The Flowers of Hell musicians are based in Toronto and London and mostly make instrumental music combining elements of classical music and post-rock, space rock, shoegaze, and drone music. Their sound is heavily inspired and is seen as an orchestral extension of classic bands The Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3. Much of their music since 2007 explores the synesthesia that causes the composer Jarvis to perceive all sounds as floating visual forms. That’s pretty cool!
The Flowers of Hell have been championed by Lou Reed, Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, and Pete Kember of Spacemen 3, who helped the group create their debut album. It makes sense that Lou Reed and Kember have lauded them since their music is so influenced by Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3. Flowers of Hell have also garnered positive coverage from discerning music journalists at BBC Radio, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, etc. However, they’re still somewhat under the radar, as I noticed they have just over 1,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. They’re the type of hipster psych-experimental band you can impress your friends with by claiming you listened to them first.
The album Odes was released in late 2012 and was the fourth studio album from the group. It’s a cover record and the group’s first release to feature vocals and the occasional verse-chorus-verse song structures. Lou Reed premiered Odes by opening the twelfth and final episode of his New York Shuffle radio show by airing three songs from the album and heaping tons of praise on it, saying, “I think it’s an amazing, amazing album. Exquisite.”
Odes has never been available on vinyl until now and will be released via UK Record Store Day 2023 by Space Age Recordings. The artwork features a die-cut outer sleeve with a printed inner sleeve that, when removed, reveals more artwork inside. The music was remastered for LP, which is pressed in a red 180g heavyweight vinyl. The whole package is stickered and poly-bagged and, according to some, is a real showstopper.
Flowers of Hell is an interesting band, and Odes has drawn me in. This could be another great, rare find for vinyl addicts on Record Store Day 2023. The group pays tribute to some of their biggest influences on Odes, creating beautiful orchestral pop covers of songs by Loud Reed, Bob Dylan, The Plastic People of the Universe, and others.
It also includes guest vocals from the Czech dissident musician Ivo Pospisil and British Sea Power’s Neil Wilkinson. My favorite track is the cover of Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man, which is re-imagined to sound like The Velvet Underground in 1967.
Even if you don’t order Odes on Record Store Day, I recommend you check out The Flowers of Hell. If you like experimental/indie classical or The Velvet Underground, you may dig them.
Click here to see the official Record Store Day UK 2023 listing for Odes by The Flowers of Hell.
Support The Flowers of Hell by checking out their Bandcamp or their official website or finding them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube).
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