On Tuesday December 7, Matador Records is re-releasing one of my favorite albums of the year, Perfume Genius‘ Learning, in a new vinyl slipcase edition with three additional songs: “Dreeem”, “Your Drum,” and “Divine Faxes.” You can pre-order the new version here.
Though all too brief in length (even with a few more songs added on, which, by the way, you can download individually if you’ve already bought the album), Learning packs a gigantic emotional punch. Think the stark, frozen-heart minimalism of early Low with piano instead of guitar, or the saddest keyboard notes ever wrung out by Angelo Badalementi on the Twin Peaks soundtrack, and you’re getting close, musically speaking. But Perfume Genius (aka 20-something Mike Hadreas) also uses his quavery, slightly unearthly voice to tell nuanced stories in just a few short lines. Songs like “Mr. Peterson” and “Lookout, Lookout” guide us into Hadreas’ world, a place that’s jaded and innocent, welcoming and repellent all at once. So while the album may not necessarily make for typical holiday cheer, you won’t regret hearing its subtle crackle on your turntable during those cold winter nights.
– Anna K