The music of Tom Krell, better known as the Brooklyn musician How To Dress Well, is the type that defies explanation but inevitably gets lumped into boxes that it doesn't deserve.
On the surface, it seems as if Krell is simply assembling a hipster R&B pastiche, and there's some truth to that -- he cites Trey Songz and Janet Jackson as influences, and he's been known to cover R. Kelly's "I Wish" live.
However, what Krell is shooting for is something much more complex. He's got a graduate degree in philosophy and a background in pure experimental music, and the type of fragile voice that other singers would sacrifice at least two toes for.
His newest album Total Loss finds him expanding the sonic palate of his debut LP Love Remains, at times incorporating the string-drenched tendencies of his stopgap Suicide Dream EP. He's using the language and signifiers of R&B to communicate something a bit more earnest and less guarded than much of the oblique indie rock that's out there, his orchestral gurgles giving way to pure emotion.
Stream the album over at Wired, and if you like what you hear, you can pre-order the album -- due out September 17th -- over at his label Acephale.