Skip to main content

New Music Monday: How To Dress Well

new music monday how to dress well nmm
Image used with permission by copyright holder
How To Dress Well

Since the release of his debut album Love Remains in 2010, Tom Krell – AKA How to Dress Well – has crafted a reputation as one of America’s most original, focused and beguiling young songwriters. Merging ever surprising production choices and aesthetic detail with a sensual but sincere R&B influence and a deep, grounded emotionality, Krell has steadily established himself as one of the most influential figures in contemporary experimental pop music and a new How to Dress Well release has become something of an event.

Arriving two years after the haunting, glacial neo-soul of 2012’s much-loved Total Loss, “What Is This Heart?” is the next step in this most unique and searching artistic trajectory. Its twelve songs were conceived and written during months of grueling international touring and realized with co-producer Rodaidh Mcdonald in a Berlin studio in the height of summer 2013. The result is an ambitious 21st century pop album that creates and inhabits its very own hinterland of spiritual fragility, fearless love and sexuality, deep pain, and overwhelming joy. It’s an album that celebrates the possible healing power of American pop music in its various guises while also exploding predictable pop conventions and once again asserts Krell as an artist of great courage, taste and craft.

“What Is This Heart?” is a record that delves deeply into the core of the psyche and touches on themes of isolation, loss and existential anguish, but in the end finds something like redemption in the infinite possibilities of love. Its songs tackle feelings of anxiety, fear, lack of control, nightmare, death, pain, pleasure, pride and shame, trust and commitment with an honesty and intimacy that is rare in the contemporary age.

“One of the major themes that’s stuck in my thinking over the last year and a half is the question of whether or not the contemporary social order has room for love,” says Krell. “It strikes me that the contemporary order truly threatens a really important constellation of basic human emotions, i.e. sympathy for self and other, existentially rooted and rooting sadness, tenderness, and again love. But I’ve also seen and been in amazing love. Several pairs of my best friends got married this year and in the presence of these ceremonies, witnessing people declare their love for one another out loud, I felt so fundamentally moved.”

Krell describes his tastes as being “omnivorous,” and cites Spiritualized, Lou Reed, Prince, Everything but the Girl, and PM Dawn as recent listening that had a profound effect on what is certainly his most eclectic work to date. One can hear the shimmering pads and distant beats of Burial’s most recent work underneath elegiac declarations in “A Power,” one of the record’s darker, more foreboding songs whilst effervescent, almost gospel-like lead single “Repeat Pleasure” is without doubt his most perfect, pure-pop moment to date despite containing one of the album’s most melancholy lyrics, a juxtaposition which in itself neatly encapsulates the How to Dress Well project.

“This is at once my most extremely personal and most universal record yet,” suggests Krell. “Pushing further in these seemingly opposite directions at the same time has always been my goal. I’ve always believed that in the deepest part of each of our hearts, there where each of us are most specifically ourselves and no one else, that weirdly at that moment we are actually as close as possible to what is universally human— that in the extreme, the personal is the universal. I think that in asking this question we can go to that place: this is how and why I’ve asked myself, “What is this Heart?”

Order How To Dress Well’s new record What is this Heart via Amazon or iTunes!

http://howtodresswell.com/

Dave Sanford
Former Digital Trends Contributor
The best competitive cooking shows to watch right now – from Pressure Cooker to MasterChef
Let these top cooking shows inspire you in the kitchen
The scene from the show Barbecue Showdown

Food Fight! No, not the messy one of your youth that involved hurling lunch across the room and subsequent detention. We're talking about the competitive cooking show, television's greatest culinary challenge.

These shows have come a long way. From the early days of Food Network to today, we've seen tremendous growth in this food-tastic style of game show. Now, a good showing on one of these popular programs can land you a serious role at one of the best restaurants in America.

Read more
Spring cleaning time: How to organize (in 6 easy steps) and clean your closet like a pro
The ultimate guide to closet organization with expert tips
Man choosing clothes at his walk-in closet

Like personal finance or basic kitchen skills, organizing your closet isn’t something that gets taught anymore. Now is the perfect time to refresh your drawers and cabinets for a fresh new season. If you’re like most guys, your parents (i.e., your mom) did this for you while you were growing up, sneaking into your bedroom while you were out to collect your sh** from off the floor and put it back into your closet and drawers where it belonged.

Focusing on something you can control — the clutter in your closet — is a rare treat. Organizing your closet is an undeniably good use of free time, and it will make it easier to find items you're looking for.

Read more
Ranked: The 12 best Seth Rogen movies to watch now
From Long Shot to Pineapple Express, these are the best Seth Rogen films to stream
Seth Rogen

While you probably know him best for being one of the most popular stoners in pop culture, Seth Rogen has become one of the biggest actors/producers in Hollywood. Not surprisingly, a lot of the movies he's helped get made, whether he starred in them or not, are chock-full of humor that is perfect for both stoners and anyone who just likes to laugh. Rogen's cultural impact has been huge, and it comes from relatively humble Canadian beginnings.
Movies with Seth Rogen have tended to do well, even if there are a few more forgettable titles mixed in as well. And whenever he's done something a bit more dramatic, he's pulled that off as well. Wherever you try to slot Rogen, he usually fits, which is why this list of the best Seth Rogen movies is pretty diverse. Don't get us wrong, there is plenty of comedy here, too. Rogen's made plenty of great ones, and some of them made the cut for this list.

12. Funny People (2009)

Read more