December 10, 2010

The Curious Case of Perfume Genius

by

At the end of every year the national music media seems to choose one Seattle artist to include in their end of the year lists and summarily ignore everything else released from our cloudy corner of the country. This year, the token “Seattle album” on every major best of list hails from Mike Hadreas, better known as Perfume Genius.

It strikes me as interesting that Perfume Genius will be what 2010 Seattle is know for nationally when it comes to music, because he had so little interaction with the Seattle music scene. Hadreas started nationally, signing with Matador before being discovered locally, playing sold out shows in the UK and NYC. Hadreas only played a handful of Seattle shows in 2010 with stops at venues like The Crocodile and most recently, Healthy Times Fun Club. In a city that is steeped in local identity, Perfume Genius wafts above it all, a ghostly ether not tied to geography.

People can cheer that there’s a local record getting love on these national end of the year lists, but I won’t be. That is not to say that Perfume Genius is undeserving of the accolades or attention he’ll be getting this December from the likes of Pitchfork, NME and Stereogum. Learning is a devistatingly lovely album, filled with songs like the exposed nerve that is “Lookout, Lookout.” But when I think of music in Seattle in 2010, it won’t be Perfume Genius who I remember, no matter what the big blogs say is “best.”

2 Comments

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  1. I’ve been commenting on every year-end list I can find asking why The Head and the Heart wasn’t included!

  2. Keep up the good work Katie!

    However, unless the big blogs sought that record out or the band sent it to them personally, I would venture pitchfork and stereogum might not have HATH yet. But I bet you’ll see it on some national 2011 end of the year lists. What I do wonder about is the absence of local albums with national releases and distribution, like Damien Jurado’s Saint Bartlett and The Moondoggies’ Tidelands.

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