Research fellow Tom Krell makes ghostly, lo-fi R&B under the moniker How to Dress Well, a name he stumbled upon and adopted as his own in a Minneapolis bookstore in 2004.
As a little boy, Krell loved late-'80s and early-'90s R&B artists including Keith Sweat and Ready for the World, and since he was a late bloomer, he could sing along to songs by female vocalists well into his teens. However, in high school he played in various metal and hardcore bands, then switched to making drone-based music in his twenties. Krell made live experimental music as How to Dress Well by looping layers of his voice while he was living in Brooklyn, but it was when he moved to Cologne, Germany and collaborated with the like-minded artist cokc dokc that he began recording under that name. Krell blended his childhood love of R&B with the abstract noise of Black Dice, filtering it all through lo-fi recording techniques. He released the first How to Dress Well EP, The Eternal Love, in October 2009 as a free download via his blog, and more EPs followed at the rate of about one per month through April 2010. Krell signed to Lefse Records, which released his first official single, Ready for the World, in July 2010 and How to Dress Well's debut album, Love Remains, that October. Two years later, Krell returned with Total Loss, a more straightforward and cleanly recorded set of songs inspired by trying to be positive in the face of adversity. Krell's third full-length, What Is This Heart? arrived in June 2014, and the album's sessions were fully overseen by XL Records' executive Rodaidh McDonald, who had also assisted Krell with the production of Total Loss. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi