Perfume Genius

Full Discography

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


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

Perfume Genius Covered Elvis' "Can't Help Falling In Love" For Prada

In collaboration with Prada, there is a Perfume Genius cover of Elvis' "Can't Help Falling In Love" out in the world. This cover is every bit has amazing as you'd imagine it to be. A clip of the song can be previewed in the ad above and the full version available from your preferred streaming here:

Follow Perfume Genius Online: 


Perfume Genius Boiler Room x FORM Arcosanti... by brtvofficial This session was filmed last month during the third edition of FORM Arcosanti. The best way to keep up with Perfume Genius is to follow him on Twitter.

The Ten "Best" Perfume Genius Tweets of 2016 In Honor Of Twitter's 10th Birthday

In honor of Twitter's 10th Birthday, I decided to cull together ten of my personal favorite Perfume Genius tweets from this year, so far. It would have been way too emotionally draining to go back farther. There are just too many exceptional ones as you can gauge from below.

We're all just living in Mike's world. Follow Perfume Genius on Twitter HERE.



A reminder for everyone lucky enough to be at Pitchfork this weekend that we have the following playing:

Friday 17th July

Steve Gunn 5.15 (Blue)

Tobias Jesso Jr 6.15 (Blue)

Iceage 7.15 (Blue)

Saturday 18th July

Kurt Vile 4.15 (Green)

The New Pornographers 6.15 (Green)

Sunday 19th July

Perfume Genius 3.14 (Blue)

For those of you that can't make it, all performances will be live streamed here:


Just a heads up for those lucky enough to be at Primavera Festival this weekend cos we have a TON of bands playing:

Belle and Sebastian, Fucked Up, Iceage, Interpol, The New Pornographers, Perfume Genius, The Thurston Moore Band and Tobias Jesso Jr are all appearing.  

A few of these performances will also be live streamed here. See bands and times below:


The New Pornographers: 19.30 - 20.25 Channel 1

Belle and Sebastian: 21.30 - 22.30 Channel 2


Fucked Up: 19.30 - 20.20 Channel 2

Interpol: 22.20 - 23.34 Channel 1

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Tour dates