Over the course of four studio albums as How To Dress Well, Tom Krell has bent genres to nearly breaking. Since his highly regarded 2014 LP, What is This Heart?, HTDW has become a staple acronym in niche scenes and dance playlists alike. This Friday, fans look forward to his latest, The Anteroom. Just days before it comes out, Krell released a new mix of recent left-field recordings and a fresh single from the forthcoming record; he has also announced a fall tour, which will take him to the Lodge Room on November 28th.
KCRW once described How To Dress Well as “a beguiling R&B singer with an ear for a pop hook.” Others like to include adjectives like ‘experimental’ or ‘ambient’ while Krell himself calls the project “soulful vocal pop.” There isn’t a clever combination of labels that can define the figurative brutality in his music. Falsetto is washed out by higher pitched synths, feeling as precarious as if the instrumentation were dangling from a highwire. The single “Nonkilling 6 | Hunger” from a few weeks ago alludes to A Tomb For Anatole, a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé meant to eulogize and memorialize his deceased son; this would be enough to convince anyone of Krell’s mission on his latest record.
Yet, there is more to explore in “Body Fat.” The video focuses on Krell’s own alchemy, as we watch his atoms unify—or divide at the sudden pressure of fist to chest. He uses the track to describe the long-term effects of trauma on the body and future generations, specifically:
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#FF78FF” class=”fistclass” size=”15″]“The song is about the intergenerational transmission of trauma – about the way rage persists in the flesh from way before you as an individual. This is why life is painful, why love is difficult… When I first started writing it I felt like, ‘damn, THIS is the song I’ve been trying to write for the last 5 years.” – Tom Krell[/perfectpullquote]