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How To Dress Well’s third album Where Is The Heart? takes on new pop persona

 

Photo via facebook.com/howtodresswellmusic
Photo via facebook.com/howtodresswellmusic

How To Dress Well’s third album, What Is This Heart? is slightly different than his first two.  It’s still recognizably Tom Krell, but his music has morphed into an inherently pop sound that is hard to ignore.  It’s not a Justin Timberlake or a Maroon 5 type pop, but it has similar fun, upbeat overtones that replace the project’s former R&B-like essence.

 ”Repeat Pleasure” is a perfect example of this.  It’s an intense love song wrapped in jazzy guitar riffs and intervals of 90′s synth beats. The lyrics talk about wanting someone and then once winning them over, but still finding that you still want something else; the age old saying “you always want what you can’t have.”  It’s probably the most reminiscent of a “radio hit” throughout the entire record which in a way, makes Tom Krell’s music more accessible.

 ”Words I Don’t Remember” follows a similar schema as many of the songs on his sophomore album, Total Loss. It features Krell’s soft, smooth R&B vocals over a simple beat.  There is something about this track though that is less mysterious than those on the previous album.  His lyrics are expressive (“You know that I love you baby / Only wanted one thing on my mind”) and similar to those that you might encounter in a pop or R&B song.

I think How To Dress Well was one of the first artists along with the likes of Grimes, Active Child, Autre Ne Veut, etc. to bring about a new type of sound which pairs R&B vocals with synthy electronic background noise.  In What Is This Heart?, Krell makes the point that he has the ability to branch out and make lighter, less ominous music, while still maintaining his originality.

How to Dress Well will be in Philly September 19th at District N9NE (for old heads, that’s the new name of the mid-aughties venue Starlight Ballroom).  Find info and tickets here and listen to “Face Again” below.

How To Dress Well – Face Again from Johannes Greve Muskat on Vimeo.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: How to Dress Well at First Unitarian Church and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. at Union Transfer

How to Dress Well | Photo by John Vettese
How to Dress Well | Photo by John Vettese

Tonight, How to Dress Well (aka Tom Krell) brings its catchy, minimalist R&B to the First Unitarian Church stage. Krell released his second album Total Loss back in 2012 which featured the single “And It Was U”. His bare bones approach to the genre is low on frills but high in quality as he transforms melodies with layered harmonies and simple beats. Get tickets here and check out “And It Was U” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs at The Fire, How To Dress Well at Johnny Brenda’s, The Quelle Source at North Star Bar, Dangerous Ponies opening for Tilly and the Wall at First Unitarian

Catch British/Southern rockabilly darlings Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs at The Fire tonight. The duo, Holly Golightly Smith and Lawyer Dave, released their fifth album, Sunday Run Me Over yesterday. The show tonight begins at 9 p.m., and more information about it can be found here. Below, listen to the pair’s single, “Burn Your Fun.”

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Contest: Win a pair of tickets to see How To Dress Well at Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday

How to Dress Well is the stage moniker of Brooklyn-based sonic explorer Tom Krell, and his sophomore record Total Loss has received broad critical acclaim from the likes of Spin and Pitchfork since its September release. Krell brings his project through Philadelphia this week for an appearance at Johnny Brenda’s this Wednesday, October 10; tickets to the 21+ show are $12 and available here. Today, however, we’ve got your chance to win a pair of tickets to see the show – just comment below with your first and last name. We’ll contact the winner on Wednesday morning via e-mail. Good luck! And while we wait, enjoy How To Dress Well’s haunting cover of Robbie Basho’s “Blue Crystal Fire.”

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The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. John the Conqueror, Young Gliss, and How to Dress Well

Photo by John Vettese

This week’s Key Studio Session featured Atlanta-born trio John the Conqueror, a powerful blues rock outfit that relocated to Philadelphia last year.  The band will be releasing its debut record on October 16th through Alive Naturalsound Records (you can already download a free studio version of the track “Time to Go” on their Bandcamp).  Below, listen to John the Conqueror’s Key Studio Session take of “Lucille” and then head over here to download all three tracks.

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Listen to a Robbie Basho cover and a remix from How to Dress Well (playing Johnny Brenda’s next week)

Last month, suave and moody electronic artist Tom Krell released Total Loss, his second LP under the name How To Dress Well. It met with immediate critical acclaim from the tastemakers at Pitchfork and Spin, and a fall tour was announced that brings the innovative electronic pop / R&B project to Johnny Brenda‘s next Wednesday, October 10. This week, How to Dress Well premiered a cover of “Blue Crystal Fire,” a song by American folk guitarist Robbie Basho, via Stereogum. The haunting rendition begins with acoustic strumming reminiscent of Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, and layers on the ethereal synthesizers and vocal effects as the music progresses. The song is on a bonus 7″ single that comes with the deluxe vinyl edition of Total Loss, and you can hear it here.  For additional HTDW vibes, dig into the Pete Swanson remix of “Cold Nites” below, more information on the Johnny Brenda’s show (and tickets) are available here.

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How To Dress Well announces Fall tour, playing Johnny Brenda’s in October


How To Dress Well has announced a Fall tour and is playing Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday, October 10th. HTDW releases a new album on September 18th, Total Loss, on the Acephale label.

HTDW is the stage name of songwriter and producer Tom Krell who began his career in 2009. Having just moved from Brooklyn to Berlin, he released his music online via a hugely prolific string of free, digital EPs posted in anonymity on his blog. Combining a gorgeous falsetto with fractured R&B-influenced beats, an instinctive ear for subtly devastating melody and elements of noise, sound collage and avant-garde composition, Krell’s debut album Love Remains offered a beautiful window into a startlingly realised artistic imagination. Praised for both its conceptual strength and immediate emotional resonance, Love Remains duly garnered vast critical acclaim and highlights such as “Ready For The World” saw Krell accredited with having given birth to a new, narcotized strain of R&B that has since spawned a host of imitators.

Below, download a cover of Janet Jackson’s “Again,” by How To Dress Well. Go here for tickets and more information about HTDW’s show at Johnny Brenda’s.


Go here for tickets and more information about the show.

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