Once again, in the summer run-up to the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival (July 15th-17th), we at The Wounded Jukebox are spending a little time highlighting some of the artists that will be performing this year. Allison started with Sun Airway, and more of the TWJ staff that will be attending the fest (bunch of us) will be adding their memories, thoughts and opinions as well! For my run, I’d like to explore the music of How To Dress Well.
With an expanse funneled into every track, Brooklynite Tom Krell seems to scoop multicolored smoke from the flowing air that surrounds him. During the day, he studies post-Kantian literature in Cologne, Germany where he’s seeking to earn his graduate degree in Philosophy. But under the name How To Dress Well, Krell sings with a piercing resonance that reminds of me of Justin Vernon’s work with Volcano Choir. Having studied a bit of Philosophy in college, I can tell you that if you really seek to understand the subject, your brain must always be in a state of flux/re-examination, never able to rest on it’s laurels and actually assume or be sure of ANYTHING. Are we really alive, sitting in this desk chair? Perhaps not?
The music of HTDW is a spiritual rebellion against those philosophical rigors; a release of longing and wonder and joy simply to express and share them. I interpret each song as a catalyst for a moment, enabling the listener to dwell in the moods they feel slowly filling them up. There’s a strong influence of dub-step and hip-hop in a lot of Tom Krell’s music, which ranges from experimental drones all the way to Motown at times. On his blog, nearly 40 songs have been uploaded, including hints for a forthcoming EP. But his debut long player, Love Remains, released last year, is where you should start. It’s full of sun behind clouds, and dark room meditations. You can listen to the whole stream here.
Calling back to Krell’s love of Hip-Hop, this mixtape features rehashes of the likes of Beyonce, Diddy, Yung Bizz, Crime Mob, Soulja Boy and adds brief forays into dub-step territory with a nod to Deadboy throughout. And, it’s totally free.
How To Dress Well is at the grand beginning of a European tour that will take him from Spain to Norway. In the midst of all that, he’ll fly all the way to the States to perform at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. He’ll take stage on Sunday the 17th. For more information, visit pitchforkmusicfestival.com.
(Love Remains is available now from Lefse Records)