HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
Intoxicating. His world-weary meditations – on God, demons and, yeah, debt – sound ancient, pulled out of the dirt, yet as immediate as a foreclosure. It’s lean music for lean times. – Will Hermes, Rolling Stone
8.2. The field-recording aesthetic is the musical equivalent of sackcloth, especially compared to the lusher Appalachian folk-rock arrangements on his subsequent albums. Yet there is nothing missing from these performances, no sense of potential left untapped. These songs sound full and finished even in their austerity. Even so, a deep sense of uncertainty pervades every syllable and every strum, as though no question can ever be answer satisfactorily, and it is precisely that spiritual disaffection that separates Taylor from the artists for whom God’s existence and benevolence are givens. Rather than cynical or despairing, however, Bad Debt sounds hopeful, exuding a sense of hushed celebration. These are, after all, songs sung by a new dad. – Stephen Deusner, Pitchfork
Uncanny. Hiss Golden Messenger will dig deep into the core of you and rattle your bones. But it’s not all about fire and brimstone or religious ramblings; this music is just fundamentally phenomenal. Few songwriters can make songs as dynamic as those on Bad Debt with just an acoustic guitar, but Taylor seems to do so with ease. Whether you’re honing in on the brilliant lyricism or simply soaking in the aural wonders of this minimalistic folk album, there’s plenty to fall in love with about Bad Debt. – Grant Golden, Paste Magazine
Hiss Golden Messenger is Durham, North Carolina-based songwriter M.C. Taylor and multi-instrumentalist and recordist Scott Hirsch, who lives in Brooklyn, New York. The pair has been making music together for twenty years in various incarnations, including six records with the San Francisco band the Court and Spark.
Since 2009, Taylor and Hirsch—in collaboration with longtime drummer Terry Lonergan, Nashville guitarist William Tyler, and members of Megafaun, the Black Twig Pickers, Pelt, D. Charles Speer & the Helix, Brightblack Morning Light—have released a string of universally acclaimed albums as Hiss Golden Messenger: Country Hai East Cotton (2009), Root Work (2010), Bad Debt (2010, reissued by Paradise of Bachelors in 2014), Poor Moon (PoB-02, 2011), Hiss Golden Messenger Plays Elephant Micah Plays Hiss Golden Messenger (PoB-04, 2012), Lord I Love the Rain (2012), and Haw (PoB-06, 2013.)
Drawing from the deep well of traditional and vernacular Southern song that Taylor has explored and documented as a practicing folklorist, as well as the more alchemical strains of 1970’s country-rock, dub music, and kosmische music, “like Van Morrison circa Astral Weeks, Hiss Golden Messenger confounds traditional-music genre expectations” (according to The Huffington Post.) Distinguished by their fascinatingly ambiguous conjuring of spiritual–and often specifically Biblical–concerns and characters, as well as a taut lyricism informed by writers as disparate as Ronnie Lane, Lew Welch, and Wendell Berry, Taylor’s unabashedly ardent songs rank among the most exquisitely crafted and eloquent of his generation.
Their 2011 LP Poor Moon (PoB-02) has been hailed as a masterful and moving country-soul statement on faith and family by Pitchfork, Uncut, Salon, and many others, leading to profiles of Taylor by NPR, The Oxford American, and Interview Magazine. In April of 2013 Paradise of Bachelors released HGM’s eagerly anticipated full-length follow up to Poor Moon, the remarkable, and darker, Haw (PoB-06), which earned glowing reviews from the New York Times, MOJO, The Times of London, the Washington Post, and beyond, becoming one of the year’s most critically lauded recordings.
Strictly over 18′s, I.D. may be required.
AFTER THE GIG
Whelan’s Indie Club /// ZEBRA /// [Live Bands and guest DJs] w/ Late Bar from 10:30pm (Free entry before 10:30pm).