Photo by Angel Ceballos
We first met Perfume Genius, aka Seattle-based solo artist Mike Hadreas, through his myspace files and the stark voyeurism of his Learning album. His experiences seemed to resonate intensely for many people. The minimalist arrangements, mainly just piano and Sufjan Stevens-echoing vocals, offered little initial encouragement, but proved incredibly moving when allowed to linger.
His new album due for release in February, Put Your Back N 2 It, is altogether more universal. He explores comittment, intimacy, power, desperation, hope and disguise. Beyond his impressionistic lyrics, the music itself is as lush as Learning was stark. It’s an engulfing soundtrack for anyone trying to keep their everyday life intact while doing their best to move on up.
On the subject of being a gay figure in the world of indie rock, the singer-songwriter is frank and realistic: "I'm very conscious about it, but I also want it to not be a big deal. But I still get nervous. With this video, my boyfriend was like, 'Are you sure you want to, you know, be so gay?' But I think people are smarter than that. And if Rick in Pittsburgh or whatever isn't going to listen to my music because I'm gay, fuck it."
Here is "Hood", his new video, directed by Winston H. Case, from the forthcoming album. It stars hairy gay porn actor Arpad Miklos, variously cradling Hadreas in his arms, brushing his hair, applying lipstick and mascara and embracing him as Edward Scissorhands.
If that was your first sample of his work, why not spend the rest of your afternoon reviewing "Lookout, lookout" below as well as other videos from his first album, all to be found on on YouTube? Deeply personal, sublime, moving and melancholic, his is a voice quite unlike any other. Be moved. You surely will be.
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