Each Tuesday, record-store clerks unpack boxes of albums and restock shelves with the latest releases. This week brings many notable releases, including the much-anticipated collaboration between Kanye West and Jay-Z, British shoegaze punks the Horrors and Pepper Rabbit.
Kanye West & Jay Z Though it won't be available in stores until this Friday, Watch the Throne has already made it to the No. 1 spot of the iTunes Albums charts in 23 countries. Of course, this isn't a complete suprising reaction to a collaboration of two of hip hop's most important artists today.
Watch the Throne has been called "a cocksure, fiery, smart, if problematic, collaboration that showcases the pair's distinct lyrical skills, their way around a metaphor and an ability to execute both a grand narrative and the details that turn it into truth," according to the Los Angeles Times.The duo's work exemplifies the difference in dynamics between Jay-Z and Kanye West, evident in "Made in America." "H•A•M," and "Otis," which uses sampling of who other than the man himself, soul singer Otis Redding, are also tracks that shouldn't be missed.
The Horrors British shoegaze and post-punk outfit the Horrors drop their third studio album, Skying. Upon first listen, Skying is noticeably lighter than their past releases, both in sound and tone.
The album's decidedly more layered composition and psychedelic influences are evident, specifically in "Still Life," which makes sense because, allegedly, Skying draws much of its influence from "taking loads of pills, [and] loads of ecstasy," according to Horrors bassist Rhys Webb in an interview with NME. "We want to make music that people enjoy and lose themselves in," Webb says.
Pepper Rabbit Los Angeles by way of New Orleans duo Pepper Rabbit's Red Velvet Snow Ball follows up its 2010 debut, Beauregard. Though the duo uses a sum of 11 instruments collectively, their sound never gets to be daunting.
For Red Velvet Snow Ball, the group didn't emphasize focus on a specific influence. "We'd just sit down and take the songs in whatever direction felt natural without deviating too far from a core pop song structure," explained front man Xander Singh. "And in the end I think it comes across exactly as we hoped."