Perfume Genius

Full Discography

LPs
  • Put Your Back N 2 It - OLE-964 - 2012-02-21
  • Learning - OLE-942 - 2010-06-22

Biography

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

VIDEO : Perfume Genius - "Queen"



(photo by Luke Gilford)
“I've seen faces of blank terror when I walk by. Sometimes from seemingly strong, macho dudes - somehow my presence confuses and ultimately scares them. There is a strange power to it that I've only recently begun to understand and embrace. After many years trying to sort out exactly what they are scared of, most of the time converting the result into personal shame, there are now moments of monstrous pride”. - Mike Hadreas
As mentioned earlier this week, on September 23 Matador will be releasing the 3rd album from Perfume Genius, 'Too Bright' (coming September 22 in the UK via Turnstile). Here's the album's first video, "Queen", directed bySSION : Preorder 'Too Bright' from iTunes and receive "Queen" immediately. Preorder 'Too Bright' on LP or CD from The Matador Store Preorder 'Too Bright' from Amazon Upcoming dates : August 1 – OFF Festival, Katowice Poland 2 – Visions Festival, London UK 27 – Feeerieen, Brussels Belgium 28 – Mas Mas, Cardigan UK 30 – End of the Road Festival, Salisbury UK September 1 – Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow UK 2 – Band on the Wall, Manchester UK 3 – Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate UK 6 - Into The Great Wide Open Festival, Vlieland Netherlands 7 – MITO SettembreMusica, Milan Italy 8 – Circolo degli Artisti, Rome Italy 9 – Locomotiv Club, Bologna Italy 26 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake City UT 27 - Hi Dive - Denver C 29 - Riot Room - Kansas City MO 30 - Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis MN October 1 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago IL 2 - Magic Stick - Detroit MI 4 - Virgin Mobile Mod Club - Toronto ON 6 - Brighton Music Hall - Allston MA 7 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn NY 8 - Johnny Brenda's - Philadelphia PA 9 - The Hamilton - Washington DC 10 - Cat's Cradle Back Room - Carrboro NC 11 - Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta GA 13 - Three Links - Dallas TX 14 - The Parish - Austin TX 16 - Club Congress - Tucson AZ 17 - Soda Bar - San Diego CA 19 - Roxy Theatre - Los Angeles CA 21 - The Independent - San Francisco CA 22 - Harlow's - Sacramento CA 24 - Mississippi Studios - Portland OR 25 - Neptune Theatre - Seattle WA 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 Perfume Genius online : Perfume Genius.net Facebook Twitter Instagram You Tube Channel

Coming September 23 : Perfume Genius - "Too Bright", New Worldwide Dates



(EDITOR'S NOTE :  On  September 23, Matador will be releasing the new album from Perfume Genius, 'Too Bright' on LP, CD and digital configurations*.  Even for those of us who've been previously left wobbly by Mike Hadreas' songwriting prowess, his 3rd full-length is nothing short of a knockout blow. Bravest record we've ever released?  It's absolutely in the top one and a half - GC)

(* - Turnstile Music will be releasing the album in the UK on September 22)



"Queen"
Over the course of two astonishing albums, Perfume Genius, aka Seattle native Mike Hadreas, cemented his place as a singer-songwriter of rare frankness, with achingly emotional songs that offered empathy and hope, rather than judgment or handwringing. Sparse, gorgeous and with Hadreas’ quavering vocals often only accompanied by piano, they were uncommonly beautiful tales of a life lived on the dark side – scarred, brutalized, yet ultimately reclaimed. '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”. Recorded with Adrian Utley of Portishead and featuring John Parish on several tracks, it 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.
(photography by Luke Gilford) track listing : i. I Decline ii. Queen iii. Fool iv. No Good v. My Body vi. Don’t Let Them In vii. Grid viii. Longpig ix. I’m a Mother x. Too Bright xi. All Along Preorder 'Too Bright' from iTunes and receive "Queen" immediately. Preorder 'Too Bright' on LP or CD from The Matador Store Preorder 'Too Bright' from Amazon Upcoming dates : August 1 – OFF Festival, Katowice Poland 2 – Visions Festival, London UK 27 – Feeerieen, Brussels Belgium 28 – Mas Mas, Cardigan UK 30 – End of the Road Festival, Salisbury UK September 1 – Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow UK 2 – Band on the Wall, Manchester UK 3 – Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate UK 6 - Into The Great Wide Open Festival, Vlieland Netherlands 7 – MITO SettembreMusica, Milan Italy 8 – Circolo degli Artisti, Rome Italy 9 – Locomotiv Club, Bologna  Italy 26 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake City UT 27 - Hi Dive - Denver C 29 - Riot Room - Kansas City MO 30 - Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis MN October 1 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago IL 2 - Magic Stick - Detroit MI 4 - Virgin Mobile Mod Club - Toronto ON 6 - Brighton Music Hall - Allston  MA 7 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn NY 8 - Johnny Brenda's - Philadelphia PA 9 - The Hamilton - Washington DC 10 - Cat's Cradle Back Room - Carrboro NC 11 - Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta GA 13 - Three Links - Dallas TX 14 - The Parish - Austin TX 16 - Club Congress - Tucson  AZ 17 - Soda Bar - San Diego  CA 19 - Roxy Theatre - Los Angeles CA 21 - The Independent - San Francisco CA 22 - Harlow's - Sacramento CA 24 - Mississippi Studios - Portland OR 25 - Neptune Theatre - Seattle WA 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 Perfume Genius online : Perfume Genius.net Facebook Twitter Instagram You Tube Channel

New Perfume Genius shows



Perfume Genius adds a flurry of newly confirmed shows this summer, adding to the previously announced UK and European shows for August and September.  Currently touring in Asia (with Cat Power and more!) Mike plays Taipei today with the previously announced Hostess Club Weekender taking place this weekend.

New dates below in bold:

Wed 18 Jun - Hostess Club Taipei, Taipei, Taipei
Sat 21-22 Jun - Hostess Club Weekender - Tokyo, Japan
August 1st - OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland http://off-festival.pl/bilety/
August 2nd - Visions Festival, London, UK http://visionsfestival.com/tickets
August 27 - Feeerieen, Brussels
August 30 - End Of The Road Festival, Wiltshire, UK (http://www.endoftheroadfestival.com/tickets/)
September 1 - Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
September 2 - Band on the Wall, Manchester
September 3 - Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate
September 7 - MITO SettembreMusica, Milan

Perfume Genius, Lower and more for Visions Festival 2014



There's nothing British people like more than complaining about the weather.  Or when we do finally (hopefully) get a vitamin D boost, spending our time indoors at a summer festival - which is where we'll be catching the newly announced Lower and Perfume Genius sets on August 2nd in London for Visions Festival 2014, the re-vamped Radfest.

Tickets are on sale now for the multi-venue East London all-dayer: http://visionsfestival.com/tickets.

Also see Perfume Genius at:

June 21-22, 2014 - Hostess Club Weekender – Tokyo, Japan (Tickets)
August 1-3, 2014 – OFF Festival – Katowice, Poland (Tickets)
August 29 – 31, 2014 – End Of The Road Festival – Wiltshire, UK (Tickets)

Hang out with Lower when they play:

Thurs. May 1 – Sun. May 4 – SPOT Festival – Aarhus, DK
Fri. May 16 – Sat. May 17 – The Church On York – Los Angeles, CA (with Iceage, Puce Mary, Sexdrome)
Sun. May 18 – Wall Street – Phoenix, AZ
Mon. May 19 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA
Tue. May 20 – Holland Project – Reno, NV
Wed. May 21 – Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, CA
Thu. May 22 – 1234 Go! – Oakland, CA
Fri. May 23 – Munoz Boxing Gym – Bakersfield, CA
Sat. May 24 – E 7th Street – Los Angeles, CA
Tue. May 27 – Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT
Wed. May 28 – Home Sweet Home (Nothing Changes) – New York, NY
Thu. May 29 – Golden Tea House – Philadelphia, CA
Fri. May 30 – Acheron – Brooklyn, NY
Tue. June 10 – Point Ephemere – Paris, FR (with Merchandise)
Sun. June 15 – Gorilla – Manchester, UK (with Fucked Up)
Mon. June 16 – The Cluny – Newcastle, UK (with Fucked Up)
Tue. June 17 – Belgrave – Leeds, UK (with Fucked Up)
Wed. June 18 – Koko – London, UK (with Fucked Up)

Japan awaits Perfume Genius



Having aired new material recently at SXSW ("The minimalist and aggressively electronic-driven track was harder, weirder, and darker than anything we've heard from him yet. Will Perfume Genius make his Yeezus in 2014? Let us pray." said Pitchfork ), Mike takes the show on the road for a newly announced Japanese date in addition to the End Of The Road and OFF festivals this August.

The upcoming Perfume Genius shows look like this, with more in the works:
June 21-22, 2014 - Hostess Club Weekender - Tokyo, Japan (Tickets)
August 1-3, 2014 - OFF Festival - Katowice, Poland (Tickets)
August 29 - 31, 2014 - End Of The Road Festival - Wiltshire, UK (Tickets)

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Artwork
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