How to Dress Well

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About How to Dress Well

When How to Dress Well’s music first surfaced in 2009, it wasn’t exactly clear what it was or how to classify it: Intimate yet remote, immediate but murky, it felt like a lost and forgotten cassette of ’90s R&B. The work of singer-songwriter/bedroom producer Tom Krell (born in Boulder, Colorado, in 1984), HTDW’s sound became a bellwether for the 2010s, giving pop a distinctly un-pop feel in ways that came to permeate both the underground (FKA twigs, James Blake) and the mainstream (Frank Ocean, The Weeknd). Krell’s subsequent albums (2012’s Total Loss, 2014’s “What Is This Heart?”) were increasingly direct and vulnerable, bringing his falsetto into the light while retaining an air of mystery that made his early recordings so unusual. (That Krell was also working on a doctorate degree in German philosophy didn’t hurt: He didn’t just have feelings, but he had ideas about feelings too.) Coproduced by Jack Antonoff (Fun., Lorde, Taylor Swift), 2016’s Care made a full-on stab at pop—a move Krell described as “a wager.” Reflecting on the album, Krell tells Apple Music that “to do something not-transgressive was very transgressive to me.” Dark, fragile, and noisy, 2018’s The Anteroom is everything its predecessor wasn’t—what Krell describes as Care’s “evil twin.” For Krell, the unifying goal is simple: “To make something really beautiful.” Reflecting on the ground covered during the first decade of his career, and the creative shifts that took him from Love Remains to The Anteroom, he confesses, “I don’t know who I am—and that’s my aesthetic as well.”

Boulder, CO, United States of America

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