How to Dress Well

It seems rare these days for an emerging artist with an original sound not to be immediately accompanied by a few compatriots with similar styles, but How to Dress Well is the odd new face that doesn't come on any "chillwave" or live in any "witch house." It is safe to say that the project's peculiar brand of electronic dream doesn't echo anything else being written about right now. Tom Krell, the man behind How to Dress Well, makes R&B so drowsy that it nods right off into the land of night terrors, with vocals that approach romance asymptotically, and instruments whose borders shift and soften.

What sets Krell's work apart from some of  his R&B inspired contemporaries is a genuine affection for the material that's influenced him. Speaking to Pitchfork, the graduate student said, "I really liked the way 1990s hip-hop and R&B signifiers came through in the music on the first jj album. But their second album showed me that the way in which they relate to those signifiers was not as savvy as I thought -- it seemed to use them in a kitsch way. When I heard the first track on the second album, ["My Life"], I thought, 'Shit, this is lame.' I really love '90s R&B. It's not a joke to me. "Twisted" by Keith Sweat is a fucking masterpiece."

Listening to How to Dress Well, Krell's admiration isn't at all surprising; after all, someone coming from a place of irony would probably make music with a higher fidelity. Watch out to see if a collaboration with Usher is in How to Dress Well's future.

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