How to Dress Well - "Vacant Boat" (Singles Going Steady)

Photo: Michael Zackery / Domino Records

Every listen to How to Dress Well's "Vacant Boat" reveals not just something new, but a new way of hearing it as a complete package.

Mike Schiller: Every listen to "Vacant Boat" reveals not just something new, but a new way of hearing it as a complete package. It could sound like a deep cut on a Depeche Mode album; it could sound like something Yeasayer released ten years ago; it could sound like something from the most obscure corners of the Warp Records catalog. Every time, though, it is a fascinating three minutes that never bothers with a chorus or a verse, just a series of static 'n' synth rhythms underneath Tom Krell's confidently fragile falsetto vocals. Krell should stick with the experimental bent of his latest; it looks good on him. [8/10]

Rod Waterman: Shawn Colvin once said of Neal Finn that "he does no bad work". The same can be said of Tom Krell. He has consistently put out immaculate bedroom headphone music (that's not a real genre, by the way) and this preview of his new album The Anteroom is no exception. The opening distortion that resolves into Krell's distinctive falsetto and rich synthesized sound is both reassuring and endorphin producing at the same time. This is what James Blake could be doing if he weren't hopelessly addicted to chamomile tea. [9/10]

Mick Jacobs: Tom Krell imagines the ruins of the world after the passing of the human race. Similar to the premise, the song is a bit bleak, though not without a tinge of hope. The gradual rise of the chorus carries with it a desire for a better tomorrow, literally like the sun rising on a new day. I wish Krell made his vocals a little more understandable - to get to the bottom of this song, you need to do a quick Google search, which is a bit more effort than one should need. [7/10]

William Nesbit: Burning heads. Flowers. Fruit. This video has some intriguing images, but the cuts from visual to visual are often too jarring. I really like the vocals. This is an early morning song that floats in the pre-dawn coolness of the quiet and blue-black hours. The track never entirely takes off, but I enjoyed waiting to see if it would. [7/10]

John Garratt: An instrumental mix of this track would be interesting, if slightly disjointed. The vocals and the doctoring thereof render it impotent. It's the sound of an airplane not taking flight. [4/10]

SCORE: 7.00





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.