I attended my third How to Dress Well concert of the year last night. Each show has had roughly the same arrangement and setlist, but the aspects where they differ are so interesting. Earlier in the year at Le Poisson Rouge, the performance felt like a lonely solo album meticulously exploded out to four parts, backing vocals carefully tucked under the lead or relegated altogether to samples so as to maintain the illusion of a multi-track recording. Performing together has strengthened this quartet and the orchestration has only improved, exceeding even the album it complements; last night I actually heard backing vocalist Larissa Loyva sing, and it felt like a triumph. Tom Krell, who previously was How to Dress Well, now behaves more like the front man for a charismatic and utterly coordinated band.

Observing this evolution has been interesting, but watching How to Dress Well evolve from its origins has been intensely satisfying. In the beginning, Tom was performing by himself with a sampler, and even in the studio there was so much less: distorted, clipped audio was a major aesthetic of Love Remains, his first commercial release. Two more albums and an EP later and everything about his public self is so much stronger and more exposed. The two parts of “Suicide Dream” on Love Remains were beautiful, but obscure; now he performs them such that by the end of the song, he sings out with no accompaniment, past the microphone, directly to his audience, straining to take in more just as we always have, but now for completely different reasons.

If you want to know more about How to Dress Well, I highly recommend Pitchfork’s cover story (previous excerpted on this very blog). And of course, I also highly recommend his entire body of work.

The-Dream - Sex Intelligent / Sex Intelligent (Remix)

At the end of this one-two from The-Dream’s Love King, released last June as the final installment of his Love trilogy, there is this:

You don’t care, I don’t care
We can do this any-, everywhere
Six, seven, twenty eleven
I’m gon’ drop that Love Affair

As far as I know, there was no word of a fourth part of the trilogy before we heard this song—that is, it was announced within the album preceding, which is pretty cool.

But 6/7/2011 is one month from today (because Nash is The-American-Dream and that’s how we do dates here, you guys). This is the only “official” mention I’m aware of regarding the new album, via MTV News in February:

I actually said the date on my last album, I said “6/7/2011,” and I didn’t think anybody was actually gonna hold me to that, but I think I can make it. I’m tryin’.

Apparently it’s called The Love IV now1. There’s no word of the album on The-Dream’s website besides an embed of this video, though the Radio Killa Records site does make two mentions of the title: one in the window title of every single page, the other being lyrics from the album, I guess?

"There’s only one reason yall nigg*s eatin in the first place, I fell a sleep [sic] at the wheel and crashed over at your girls [sic] Place [gratuitous capitalization sic]" -The-Dream & R.Kelly "Talk That Shit" (WTF) [why is there a WTF here sic] The Love IV

So uh, we’ll see? If he creates what he’s trying to create—certainly an attempt to top My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, on which he played a small role (he’s in your left ear at the end of “All of the Lights”)—it will be incredible. Even if it’s godawful.

Especially then.

  1. That’s “IV” meaning 4 in Roman numerals, not the abbreviation for “intravenous,” though I’d make a wager that he references IVs on at least one track if this ends up being the title, and I’d further wager that his reference serves double duty as a reference to fellow Atlantan Ludacris