Monday, February 20th, 2012
Review of Perfume Genius’ Put Your Back N 2 It
Angel CeballosI’ll say up front that I never got around to listening to Learning, the first album from Seattle’s Mike Hadreas who performs as Perfume Genius, when it came out in 2010. While his short set of voice and piano didn’t get drowned out in the lineup of guitar-heavy rock at Matador 21 but rather impressively managed to silence it, at least for the duration of his short set, it didn’t manage to do the same against all the stuff I had to listen to at that time. And so it slipped by.
His second album Put Your Back N 2 It, due out tomorrow, will not be so ignored. It grabs and holds your attention not through any kind of force, but by its starkly vulnerable beauty. There’s no cataloguing the range of emotions that seems to exist at the exact resonant frequency of Hadreas’ voice – though they all hum at the approximate pitch of the darker side of love – but it’s impossible not to feel them. It’s a fragile and intimate thing with a vibrato that echoes Antony Hegarty’s, but whereas Hegarty dresses up his vulnerability in the costume of the cabaret, Hadreas seems to prefer to bare his for all to see.
This is not to say that Put Your Back N 2 It is a stripped down affair or without affect. There’s some theatricality in Hadreas’ delivery, as well as cues lifted from modern R&B and gospel stylings, but the songs never become genre pieces. And though it’s quite exquisitely produced, incorporating electronics and ambience and extra instrumentation as needed to give it dynamics and weight, none of it distracts from Hadreas’ voice and words. I suspect that if you open your ears and your heart to what he’s offering, that’d be nigh on impossible. I think I just said that Back was exquisitely produced; I’d like to amend that and simply say that Put Your Back N 2 It is exquisite.
The Line Of Best Fit, The Guardian, Irish Times, Clash, Drowned In Sound, and Nowness have interviews with Hadreas while The Fader gets a look into his tote bag. No, that’s not a euphemism. Perfume Genius play The Drake Underground on April 8.
And I just noticed that I still have a copy of Learning on CD shrinkwrapped on my shelf; better late than never, yeah?
Brooklyn buzz duo Tanlines – who will release their debut album Mixed Emotions on March 20 and have people all abuzz over their just-released fancy 360-degree video – will be at Wrongbar on April 17. Tickets for that are $10.50 in advance.
Southern rock’n’soul combo Alabama Shakes will follow up the April 10 release of their debut album Boys & Girls with a slate of touring that includes a date at Lee’s Palace on April 17; tickets for that are $16.50 in advance.
Though she’d originally promised a Fall return after her solo visit in July of last year, it’s taken a little longer for Eleanor Friedberger to come back to town in support of her solo debut Last Summer – but she’s coming back. She’ll be at The Garrison on May 4 and to help whet your appetite, there’s a pretty big Saki Session available to download at Epitonic. She also talks to The Boston Globe about why she’s a fan of Portlandia and is making appearances on their ongoing live tour.
Supporting Friedberger on this tour will be Brooklyn’s Hospitality – yes, this will be their third visit in five months, they’re at the Horseshoe on February 29 supporting Tennis – but their self-titled debut is so good, no one should be complaining. They do a complete reading of the record for their own Epitonic Saki Session; “Betty Wang” isn’t listed but it’s tacked onto “The Birthday”. There’s also an interview at The Pitch and frontwoman Amber Papini writes about her affection for New York at The Huffington Post.
And as promised, The Beach Boys – with Brian Wilson and possibly John Stamos on board – are marking their 50th anniversary with a massive tour and it will include a stop at The Molson Amphitheatre on June 19. Tickets go on sale for that February 25 and yes, it will probably be expensive. They’re not doing this for love. Well, maybe Mike Love is doing it for Mike Love. Anyways, The New York Times talks to Brian Wilson and Mike Love about getting the band back together and the new album that’s come out of it.
Exclaim The Shins talks to James Mercer of/who is The Shins about their/his comeback album Port Of Morrow, due out March 20, and Stereogum has a video of him performing one of the new songs acoustic-styles.