In Praise of the Weird Narco-R&B of How to Dress Well


First of all, no idea, really–busted-headphone indie-rocker R&B with Kanye West covers and lots of falsetto from the Friendship Bracelet family. They’ve dropped six EPs since September, the last two of which–Born Bodies and Five Souls–came out today. Some (one? named Tom Krell?) of How to Dress Well are from Brooklyn; the rest (other?) are from Cologne, in Germany. They are doing things not unlike what Salem does to rap, except where with Salem it’s most in the production, with HTDW it’s mostly in the vocals, which are high and expressive and alternately chilling and sort of romantic. “These Visions,” a collaboration with the similarly mysterious cokc dokc (as is all of Five Souls), is a riff on Ye’s “Welcome to Heartbreak.”

Another from the same Five Souls EP, “Walking This Dumb,” has that kind of “house anthem drifting up out of the basement when you’re on the third floor” feel.

That whole EP is pretty convincing actually. This song “Lover’s Start (Desert Voyage)” is just a jam.

As for older stuff (older meaning, like, December), “I Don’t Know What It Takes,” from the awesomely named Like in the Night How the Heart Becomes the Truth, is straight fire–very sincere, passionate, falsetto soul stuff.

Savvy local dudes Chocolate Bobka (who linked the new EPs today) and No Conclusion have been riding for these guys for a minute– “lunar zombies, unable to sleep for fear of missing something; a feeling, an idea, a nightmare, sex,” is a description the former wrote, which I quite like. How To Dress Well’s comprehensive Sound Cloud is here; their not all that enlightening blog can be found over here. Dude repped for The-Dream, Mt. Eerie, Gucci Mane, and Gorgoroth in 2009, which is a pretty flawless list; HTDW samples include everything from Debussy to heartbreaking MJ spoken audio snippets. Like we said at the top, no idea, but so far, so good.