Hiss Golden Messenger

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I don’t know what else I can say about the music of MC Taylor. He keeps cranking out albums and I keep saying that I love his new music. Based on the first two tracks of his upcoming release on Merge; we’re bound to repeat the process.

“I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They’re the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That’s the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I’ve never been afraid of the darkness; it’s just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.” —M.C. Taylor

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hiss Golden Messenger is here

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a site that loves Phil Cook’s music more than HearYa. His work w/ Megafaun? Loved it. Solo? Loved it. Popping on this Loamlands album? Loved it. Touring w/ Hiss Holden Messenger. Yep, you guessed it. We loved it. He’s one of my favorite guitar players around and I was lucky to catch him two times during my inaugural visit to Newport this year. So I was pretty stoked to see that he was releasing an instrumental album, titled Old Hwy D. With that, I’ll let Phil describe it for you.

“In the fall of 2014, my good friends returned home to Durham after living in Australia for a few years and were expecting their first child. The week he was born, I sat down with an acoustic guitar. With joy for my friends I came up with this simple set of songs. After spending the better part of three years working on Southland Mission, making this in a single day was a relief. A couple of takes and a couple of mistakes. If Southland was made for exuberant road trips, Old Hwy D is made for contemplative night drives or the perfect quiet moments in the waking hours of a new life.”

You can buy it on his site or pick one up while he tours with Hiss Golden Messenger.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Phil Cook is here

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HGM

I rarely listen to regular radio because for the most part, it sucks*. But when I do listen to music it winds up being XRT here in Chicago. But that station has become so crappy lately as it is an adult contemporary station. They must play that X Ambassadors song or Kids by MGMT almost every hour as if adults can’t handle anything they’re not familiar with.

What does that rant have to the excellent Heart Like A Levee. Because, this is the type of music that regular radio should be playing. Its intelligent, challenging music that used to be the stuff that radio was built around. Not to mention that, Hiss Golden Messenger (aka Michael Taylor) just keeps getting better with every release, constantly growing as a person and musician. His time touring with MMJ seems to have rubbed off with tracks like Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer and Ace of Cups Hung Low Band.

For his sixth album and second on Merge, Taylor delves into a subject Field Report dealt with on Marigolden. Taylor, like Chris Porterfield found success later in life, after they both were married and had kids. All of sudden, both were highly in demand here in the US and abroad. Naturally that takes a massive toll on your home life and your psyche- feeling like you’re missing out on so much at home. Buoyed by mandolin and Tift Merritt and Alexandra Sauser-Monning on backing vocals, Taylor explores the subject with such grace and style on the title track.

But as much as Taylor misses the home, he does find time to celebrate his time on the road with As The Crow Flies and Cracked Windshield. The latter is stunning. It starts with just Taylor strumming on an acoustic as some gentle synths keep the song propped up before the rest of the band joins in. Phil Cook has delightfully restrained licks on this track. I don’t know what else to say; it is just brilliant. Go listen to it.

Joined by the aforementioned Merritt and Sauder-Monning, Matt McCaughan on drums and the Cook Bros on guitar and bass, Heart Like A Levee is one of the best albums you’re going to hear this year. Haw our 7th rated album in 2013. Lateness of Dancers was #2 in 2014. I guess they’ve got nowhere to go but #1.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hiss Golden Messenger is here

*NPR and Pat & Ron calling the Cubs are excluded

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HGM

I love the music of Hiss Golden Messenger so much it hurts. And I also love the fact that he didn’t make it overnight. I think it gives him a perspective that is lost on artist who stumble into some sort of notoriety immediately. Based on what MC Taylor writes below, it is that new-found notoriety that was the genesis of this album. Heart Like A Levee will be out on 10/7 via the fine folks at Merge. That seems like an eternity but You can pre-order it here. You can also bundle it with Vestapol, an intimate collection of eight previously unreleased songs—performed and recorded almost entirely by M.C. Taylor in various motels on the road and at his home in Durham, NC—dealing with exile, guilt, forgiveness, and trust.

The writing of the songs that became Heart Like a Levee started in a hotel room in Washington DC in January of 2015 during a powerful storm that darkened the East Coast. At that time I was feeling—more acutely than I had ever felt before—wrenched apart by my responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting, momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job, the most recent and last, in a series of dead-end gigs stretching back 20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They would be rare in that regard. And then—driven by monthly bills and pure fear— I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could just barely lift. But in that snowy hotel room I found the refrain that became my compass: I was a dreamer, babe, when I set out on the road; but did I say I could find my way home?

M.C. Taylor
Durham, NC

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hiss Golden Messenger is here

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Phil Cook – Southland Mission [album review]

September 9, 2015

I’ve always thought Phil Cook to be freakishly talented during his time with Megafaun. Seeing him in Hiss Golden Messenger’s touring band this year, as well as an opening set at Schuba’s hammered that belief home. So when he made mention of this debut at Schuba’s, I was all sorts of excited. And I am […]

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Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness Of Dancers [album review]

September 9, 2014

When I read that Michael Taylor, the main component of Hiss Golden Messenger, had compiled William Tyler, Megafaun members Phil and Brad Cook, Mountain Man member Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and long-time musical cohort Scott Hirsch for his Merge debut; I was literally giddy with excitement. That is a collection of pros, not making music for any […]

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Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness Of Dancers (9/9/14)

June 25, 2014

I was made aware of the brilliance of Hiss Golden Messenger last year. It was like finding water after walking in the desert. I have been soaking up anything Hiss Golden Messenger since. Hiss Golden Messenger is the moniker of MC Taylor and they will be releasing their Merge Records debut on September 9th. Its […]

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Hiss Golden Messenger signs w/ Merge.

May 15, 2014

Hiss Golden Messenger, the vehicle that MC Taylor delivers wonderful music to us all has now signed to Merge Records. I came across Hiss Golden Messenger last year while he was still on Paradise of Bachelors and have been infatuated since. Earlier this year, he re-released Bad Debt. I surmised that was going to be […]

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Promised Land Sound – s/t debut

September 20, 2013

Promised Land Sound are a four-piece out of Nashville that evolved from the garage rock scene that spawned Pujol and JEFF the Brotherhood. Transitioning into a more twangy inspired sound came over time. Lead singer, Sean Thompson said, “It takes time to learn who you are creatively before you can really start writing your own […]

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Promised Land Sound – Fading Fast {mp3}

August 14, 2013

Promised Land Sound are a four piece based out of Nashville. They are releasing their debut on the Paradise of Bachelors label, which also brought us one of 2013’s best efforts in Hiss Golden Messenger’s Haw. They play a twangy sound that will recall Gram Parsons and the more contemporary Dexateens. The album will see […]

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