ELVIS PERKINS: New Faces 09

Elvis Perkins is a youthful singer/songwriter who comes from quite interesting lineage. His father was Anthony Perkins, star of Hitchcock’s Psycho. His mother Betty Berenson was an actress and well-known photographer. Yet as charming as that might seem, it is as painful to know that both of Perkins’ parents have passed away.










Elvis Perkins is a youthful singer/songwriter who comes from quite interesting lineage. His father was Anthony Perkins, star of Hitchcock’s Psycho. His mother Betty Berenson was an actress and well-known photographer. Yet as charming as that might seem, it is as painful to know that both of Perkins’ parents have passed away. Anthony died in 1992, Berenson in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, one day before the nine-year anniversary of her husband’s death. Losing a parent at such a young age is a horrific experience. One can hardly imagine not having both.

Such an incredible amount of grief needs an outlet. For Perkins, that vent was Ash Wednesday, his full-length debut released to critical acclaim in 2007 on XL Recordings. Listeners could perceive the heart-wrenching nature of the loss he endured. But the young writer didn’t force this realization in a heavy-handed fashion. Perkins knitted a complex web of verse for his audience to work themselves through; almost symbolic for how he emptied his own heart. It was a tremendous first act, one that cemented him as one of the best young songwriters in music.

Throughout the buzz surrounding Ash Wednesday, Perkins was compared to a multitude of legends, Dylan, Drake, etc. Seemingly the most fitting association was that with Jeff Mangum, the enigmatic leader of Neutral Milk Hotel. Perkins and Mangum are similar in their vocal mannerism, their intricate lyrical styling, and, most importantly, the passion with which they deliver their music.

Perkins advances with those influences on his upcoming XL release, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, which he recorded with his backing band, Dearland. Made up of three close friends, the outfit has toured with him since before he released his debut. Perkins and Dearland invigorate the arrangements found on Ash Wednesday. And though there is more of an upbeat feeling to the album, the dynamic of death and loss lingers in songs like “123 Goodbye” and “Hours Last Stand.” Perkins might seem down at times-who wouldn’t-but his career is moving in another direction: up.



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