The Firefly Music Festival starts this Thursday and goes through Sunday. Over 100 bands spread out on six stages will seek love and admiration from audiences crammed into Dover, Delaware. We’re psyched for the headliners – Sir Paul McCartney, The Killers, Morrissey, The Killers, and Snoop (as long as he brings the hits and stays clear of that new album). We’re equally excited to see Run The Jewels, Hozier, DJ Mustard, Sylvan Esso, Citizen Cope, and Spoon. The bill is stacked with the requisite one hit alt-rock newbies (um…) that the crowds likely won’t pay attention to until the band plays “the hit.” But below the headliners and mid-level artists playing, there’s a lot of gems.
Pop / rock favorites Guster are back with a new record and Tuesday’s My Morning Download featured a free MP3 of “Long Night” from the LP. Its an atmospheric and floating song, with enticing echoes and mellower tempo. Check it out below. Continue reading →
How To Dress Well is the musical name of Tom Krell. Pitchfork had it right when they said “his 2010 debut Love Remains didn’t sound like anything else and still doesn’t.” HTDW uses R&B and hip-hop to inform Krell’s moody and classy music. Since his 2010 debut, which collected many of the songs he originally put out for free online, the singer-songwriter released one of the best albums of 2012, Total Loss. On his excellent new album, “What Is This Heart?”, Krell continues to refine his craft with a collection of slow burning, warm and slithery indie-pop/indie-R&B songs. Continue reading →
Earlier this summer, How to Dress Well (aka Tom Krell) recently released his excellent third album, What Is ThisHeart? This week, he released “Let U Know”, a partial cover of a song by oFF Love. Krell stated that the inspiration behind his newest album came from this song. In fact, as he was singing it, he “discovered the title of my album and a lot of its meaning.” Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.