Record Label: Weird World
On How to Dress Well’s fourth LP, Care, Tom Krell sings about what it really means to care—for others, for the world, and for himself—with a voice which has more clarity and depth than ever before. Care is an exploratory, journeying record in which Krell employs a broad range of distinct styles and emotional tones in pursuit of the knowledge of what it really means to be a human in the world and how to do that in the truest way he can. But Care is not a concept album about the act of caring. It is, Krell says, an “enactment of care.” In other words, he is re-learning how to care for himself and others through this music. “When I wrote these songs, I wanted to make myself feel right. I make music in order to try out feeling true, and weirdly I feel like it took me a long time to connect feeling true and feeling good.” For Krell, this is what care does.
The album is a beaming pop record, yet it is a natural step in Krell’s evolution. Now four albums deep, Krell has become something of a career artist, teasing out ideas from earlier records even as he pushes his sound in new directions. Care feels personal, like the work of one man rediscovering every component of his rich life, but it’s actually the product of a fruitful collaborative relationship with a group of trusted producers, including 21st century dancehall innovator Dre Skull (Drake, Popcaan), ambient sound sculptor Kara-Lis Coverdale, experimental electronic producer, Grammy award nominee, and regular How to Dress Well collaborator CFCF, as well as pop maven Jack Antonoff (Taylor Swift, Sia, Tegan and Sara), who brought a polished sound to upbeat tracks “Lost Youth/Lost You” and “I Was Terrible.” The weight of Antonoff’s production and the refined work of mix engineer Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, Sleigh Bells), further accentuate Krell’s remarkable growth as an artist. The producers on Care are a diverse group, from many disparate corners of the music industry. Here, for the first time, Krell acts as an executive producer, coaxing unexpected sounds from his collaborators while allowing them to exist in their own separate contexts, even as they make music that slots seamlessly into the How to Dress Well discography.
“It was thrilling,” Krell says, “to push and be pushed in turn by my collaborators. I felt nourished by everything we all developed together and it was easy to grow as a producer, arranger, and musician with their help.”
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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