Happy Record Store Day!

Today — Saturday, 21 April 2012 — is the fifth annual Record Store Day. Basically, it’s a celebration of the small, independent music sellers, and it’s all full of special offers, free stuff, discounted prices, and some unique items that won’t be available any other time! You can learn more about the concept on the Record Store Day website or Facebook page. They also have published a list of stores that are participating in today’s event, so you can see if there are any in your area!

If you don’t have any participating local stores, you can take a moment to reflect on how sad the current state of the music industry is, such that so many small retailers have been forced to shut down over the past few decades. But then, cheer up! Because several online distributors or labels are also offering special Record Store Day deals, and for your convenience I am collecting a few of those here…

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Out Last Month: Mouth of the Serpent – Manifest

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Mouth of the SerpentManifest (10 January 2012, Swimming with Sharks Records)

Good afternoon, Valley of Steel reader.  Or depending on where you live (or when you come across this post), good morning or good evening. If whatever time of day it happens to be is perhaps not so good for you, just bear with me, it’ll get better.  I’m going to introduce some more music to you, and I’ve got a feeling pretty soon everything will be just fine.

For starters, just look at that cover art up there!  Now that’s some cool shit, huh?  It was created by Tony Koehl, who has been responsible for quite a few other album covers (check out this gallery), probably the most high-profile of which was Black Dahlia Murder‘s 2009 album Deflorate (as seen here).

Anyway, back to this present work of art.  People say you shouldn’t judge what’s inside
a book or album or whatever, just based on the cover.  Good advice, but not very practical in real life — after all, isn’t that why there is a cover in the first place?  To give you an idea what you will expect from the contents, and to get you started in your decision whether you think you will like it or not?

Well in this case, the artwork definitely catches your eye, and that odd juxtaposition of themes could possibly confuse the viewer, but in a way that should leave you feeling curious about what lies within.  ARE you curious, Dear Reader?  I can’t quite tell what that giant swamp monster thing is doing, but it might be inhaling a tree — definitely it looks like it’s causing some sort of massive destruction.  The creature itself looks pretty grim and brutal, like you might expect to find on the cover of some pretty brutal death metal, right?  Then in the background, the scene is all outer-spacey and there’s like a transdimensional portal or something, exactly the sort of imagery that would be well-suited to some experimental tech-death music, wouldn’t you say?

I think you can probably guess what this is leading up to, and you’d be right: the material found on Manifest, the recently-released EP by Los Angeles’ Mouth of the Serpent, turns out to be an interesting amalgamation of all of the above — and much more!

 

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