- Put Your Back N 2 It - OLE-964 - 2012-02-21
- Learning - OLE-942 - 2010-06-22
Over the course of two astonishing albums, Perfume Genius, aka Seattle native Mike Hadreas, cemented his place as a singer-songwriter of rare frankness, creating songs that, while achingly emotional, offered empathy and hope, rather than judgment or handwringing. Sparse, gorgeous and with Hadreas’ quavering vocals often only accompanied by piano, 2010’s Learning and 2012’s Put Yr Back N 2 It told uncommonly beautiful tales of a life lived on the dark side –
Too Bright, however, is something else altogether. Less self-conscious, and less concerned with storytelling and easily-digested melodies, it is a bold and unpredictably quixotic exploration of what Hadreas calls “an underlying rage that has slowly been growing since age ten and has just begun to bubble up”. This sharp U-turn came early in the writing process, when Hadreas grew creatively frustrated and uninspired writing what he thought people might want to hear – as he describes it, “mid-tempo Adele songs, carefully plotting each chord and lyric like math” –and focused instead on writing what came naturally, 100% visceral and unfiltered, no matter what the potential reception might be. “I looked to PJ Harvey,” he recalls, “how powerful and raw she can be, and thought, ‘what is my version of that?’”
The resultant album is a stunning about-face which brings to mind audacious career-shift albums like Kate Bush’s The Dreaming or Scott Walker’s Tilt, records which walk the tightrope between pure songwriting and overt experimentation. Here, Hadreas is aided in his efforts by not one, but two unlikely conspirators – John Parish, who plays drums on several tracks, and Portishead’s Adrian Utley, who, as producer, brought the physical resources to flesh out the songs ininnovative ways. According to Hadreas, Utley was the key to unlocking unexplored terrain on the album, using both synths and organic instrumentation to push the tracks to darker and more unreal heights. The album is also rounded off with key contributions from longtime touring band members Alan Wyffels and Hervé Bécart. The fragile yet defiant “I Decline” opens the album, draped in hushed, languorous beauty, but it is an outlier. On the following track (and first single) “Queen”, the line “Don’t you know your queen?” booms out over ominous guitars, not so much a genuine question as a rhetorical one, as Hadreas proceeds to deconstruct gay panic with relish. Even with a wordless (albeit soaring and cacophonous) symphony of a chorus it sounds huge and anthemic, a gleeful kiss-off. He says, “I sometimes see faces of blank fear when I walk by...if these fucking people want to give me some power – if they see me as some sea witch with penis tentacles that are always prodding and poking and seeking to convert the muggles – well, here she comes”.
That mischievous sense of defiance runs rampant through the album. A surreal threat hangs over songs like “My Body” and “Grid”, with piercing screams, tribal drums and electronic stabs highlighting disturbing lyrics of self-destruction and temporary respite from the darkness. On “Fool,” meanwhile, deceptively swinging doo-wop rhythms disguise a story of social mutiny, with Hadreas tearing into the stereotype of “a walking, talking candelabra”, and rejecting it for something much more volatile and dangerous. “I've met people that laugh at EVERYTHING I say,” he muses. “I could be talking about OJ or Munchausen’s Syndrome or bloody stool – I am still just the cutest thing. Here only to enrich their lives, not have one of my own. Make their dress, tell them how great their boobs look and then peace. Isn't he the best?”
Which is not to say that Hadreas has completely abandoned the shimmering, exquisite piano ballads that he is so known for. “No Good” is a heartbreaking meditation on a difficult life lived on the outside but “spent looking in”, while the somber closer “All Along” is a resigned yet firm rebuke to acceptance and reassurance from external forces, preferring instead to find refuge from within – “I have my love,” Hadreas asserts, “and I apply it where I need to”.
This, in fact, is the overarching theme of Too Bright; the connective tissue loosely joining up these 11 stunning, weird and wonderful tracks – the discovery of strength and power where previously he felt he had little. As he puts it, during the making of the album, it felt “like I had woken some ancient beast which began to rattle and threaten to rise.” With this record, consider the demon awoken.
News From The Matablog
Earlier this week, Primavera Sound Barcelona's lineup for 2015 was announce and we are taking up some serious real estate. For those making the pilgrimage this year for the festival's 15th year anniversay, make note of the following: THURSDAY, May 28 The Thurston Moore Band FRIDAY, May 29 Belle and Sebastian Perfume Genius Tobias Jesso Jr. (True Panther Sounds) SATURDAY, May 30 Interpol Fucked Up Tickets and more information can be found here.
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN ANNOUNCE MANY NEW TOUR DATES AROUND COACHELLA INCLUDING SEVERAL WITH PERFUME GENIUS, AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD SIGNING JANUARY 20
(photo by @bellesglasgow) For those who have not already heard and have since been enjoying, Belle and Sebastian's new album 'Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance' is streaming in full on many corners of the internet. NPR First Listen & Amazon are hosting in the US, NME in the UK, MagicRPM in France, DeMorgen in Belgium, Rolling Stone in Italy, Exclaim in Canada and many other media outlets. If you check in with the band's Facebook page to find a geographically suited way to enjoy the streaming the album until it's official release next week. This afternoon, MANY MANY new tour dates have been announced around Coachella and not around Coachella this spring, including several in California with Perfume Genius. Pre-sale begins tomorrow at 10am local. Reminder for those in the Los Angeles area, the band will be doing a singing at Amoeba Hollywood on January 20st at 3pm. More details here. Pre-order links: itunes: http://smarturl.it/GirlsInPeacetime amazon: http://smarturl.it/Girls_In_Peacetime amazon CD (signed, US Only): http://mata.do/1AFRgAI matador store: http://smarturl.it/GirlsInPeacetime_LPGoogle Play: http://smarturl.it/GirlsInPeacetime_ (US only)Newbury Comics (Limited Edition Clear Vinyl):http://mata.do/1FOGGJTNew Dates below in BOLD Monday January 26 – Laneway Festival, Auckland, New Zealand Wednesday January 28 – The Tivoli, Brisbane, Australia Thursday January 29 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia Sunday February 1 – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, Australia Tuesday February 3 – Astor Theatre, Perth, Australia Thursday, February 12 - AX Club, Seoul, Korea Saturday, February 14 - The Gathering - Fort Canning, Singapore Monday, February 16 – Hostess Club Taipei @ Legacy, Taipei, Taiwan Saturday February 21 – Hostess Club Weekender, Studio Coast, Tokyo, Japan Monday March 30 -House Of Blues, Boston MA* Wednesday April 1-Massey Hall, Toronto ONT* Thursday April 2 – Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak MI* Friday April 3 – Riviera Theatre, Chicago IL* Saturday, April 4 – Overture Hall, Madison WI * Tuesday, April, 7 - Paramount Ballroom, Seattle WA # Wednesday, April, 8 - Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, BC # Thursday, April, 9 - Roseland, Portland OR # Saturday, April, 11 - Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Indio CA Sunday, April, 12 - Greek Theatre, Berkley CA %# Tuesday, April, 14 - Mondavi Center, Davis CA # Friday, April, 17 - The North Park Theatre, San Diego CA# Saturday, April, 18 - Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Indio CA Sunday May 3 - St. David’s, Cardiff, Wales Monday May 4 – Colston Hall, Bristol England Tuesday May 5 – Guildhall, Portsmouth, England Thursday May 7 – Corn Exchange, Cambridge, England Friday May 8 - Open, Norwich, England Sunday May 10 - Symphony Hall, Birmingham, England Monday May 11 – Westminster Central Hall, London (sold out) Tuesday May 12 – Westminster Central Hall, London (sold out) Thursday May 14 – Albert Hall, Manchester, England Friday May 15 – Albert Hall, Manchester, England Saturday May 16 - City Hall, Newcastle, England Monday May 18 – Opera House, Buxton, England Tuesday May 19 – City Hall, Leeds, England Friday, May 22 – Hydro Arena, Glasgow (with the Scottish Festival Orchestra) Sunday May 24 – Sound City, Liverpool, England Tuesday, June 9 – Tower Theater, Upper Darby PA Wednesday, June 10 – Radio City Music Hall, New York NY Thursday, June, 11 – Echostage, Washington DC Sunday, June, 14 - LC Amphitheatre Pavilion, Columbus OH Wednesday, June, 17 - Red Rocks, Morrison CO^ Thursday, June, 18 - Uptown Theater, Kansas City MO Thursday – Saturday, July 2-4 – ATP Iceland, Keflavik, Iceland# with Perfume Genius % with Real Estate
Earlier today, the third video from Perfume Genius' album of the year candidate 'Too Bright', "Fool" premiered via Urban Outfitters. The clip was directed by Charlotte Rutherford, who'd previously directed "Grid" from the same album. The following Spring 2015 dates are confirmed and (most) are on sale now : Monday, March, 16 - Wexner Center - Columbus, OH* Tuesday, March, 17 - Black Cat - Washington, DC* Thursday, March, 19 - Stage 48 - New York, NY* Friday, March, 20 - The Sinclair - Cambridge MA* Saturday, March, 21 - Columbus Theatre - Providence RI* Mon March, 23 - The Outer Space - Hamden CT* Tuesday, March, 24 - Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA* Wednesday, March, 25 - BSP Kingston - Kingston, NY* Friday, March, 27 - Andy Warhol Museum - Pittsburgh, PA* Sunday, March, 29 - Big Ears Festival - Knoxville, TN* Wednesday, June, 10 – Royal Festival Hall - London UK order 'Too Bright' from the following : The Matador Store (LP & CD) iTunes Perfume Genius.net Amazon Amazon MP3 Google Play Perfume Genius online : Perfume Genius.net Facebook Twitter Instagram You Tube Channel
(video courtesy CBS / The Late Show) order 'Too Bright' from the following : The Matador Store (LP & CD) iTunes Perfume Genius.net Amazon Amazon MP3 Google Play Perfume Genius online : Perfume Genius.net Facebook Twitter Instagram You Tube Channel
Perfume Genius' U.S. network television debut happens tonight on CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 pm eastern, 10:35pm central). Dave's other guest tonight is NBC news anchor Brian Williams, and if you think a guy in that position being funny is a little incongruous, you're never heard David Brinkley's unreleased Laff Records LP. That aside, we're pretty sure this is going to be one of those TV moments you'll feel like a real dope for missing (and not simply the part where Brian Williams tries to kick Dave in the headt). upcoming European dates : November 11 - La Maroquinerie, Paris France 12 - Exile, Zurich, Switzerland 13 - Le Romandie, Lausanne Switzerland 14 - Depot, Leuven Belgium 16 - Vega, Copenhagen Denmark 17 - Lido, Berlin German 18 - Pret-a-ecouter Festival, Heidelberg Germany 19 - Bitterzoet, Amsterdam Holland 21 - Le Guess Who Festival, Utrecht Holland 23 - Caves, Edinburgh UK 24 - The Wardrobe, Leeds UK 25 - Oobleck, Birmingham UK 26 - The Haunt, Brighton UK 27 - Islington Assembly Hall, London UK 28 - 29 -- Vodafone Mexefest 2014, Lisbon Portugal Perfume Genius online : Perfume Genius.net Facebook Twitter Instagram You Tube Channel