43 search results for "hiss golden messenger"

Hiss Golden Messenger: December 8, 2017 The Bowery Ballroom

December 12, 2017
By


Hiss Golden Messenger’s second night at The Bowery Ballroom not only picked up where the first two-hour show left off, but gathered steam. If the first night–in front of a slew of friends and local musicians–felt like a more intimate, freewheeling affair, this show situated the current version of the band as the confident rock n’ roll outfit they are, playing about fifty percent different material from the first show, improving on several of the repeats, and delivering crowd-pleasing covers that are red meat to a weekend crowd. After opening with the contemplative “When the Wall Comes Down” from Hallelujah Anyhow, the tempo picked up and stayed hot through the first hour. I was moved by this version of “Blue Country Mystic,” which hewed closer in tempo and style to the Poor Moon original than some of the recent versions I’ve seen, and likewise, the “Red Rose Nantahala” we saw both tonight and the night before felt closer to the version from Haw than some of the recent versions we’ve heard. The new songs haven’t given the band as many chances at new arrangements, but it’s safe to say that “Like A Mirror Loves A Hammer,” shows great potential as a mid-set jam song.

After a heartfelt mid-set version of “Caledonia, My Love” — introduced by Phil Cook as his favorite HGM song — it was back to the rock, with the band letting loose with a fine cover of “I Won’t Back Down” followed by “Lost Out In the Darkness” and the party jam “I’m A Raven (Shake Children).” This is a band that knows their crowd, and the upbeat rockers matched the mood in the room, as the weekend warriors and the repeat customers from last night both had come ready to celebrate the weekend and the band’s success. Instead of last night’s heartfelt retelling of the band’s origin story, we got some hilarious riffs about the band’s long night out last night, including an encounter with some pretzel chips. But if they were physically running on fumes, HGM didn’t show it. If anything, I found most versions of what they played even sharper and more emphatic than the previous show. In lieu of an encore break, the band accepted some pretzel chips from a fan and passed them around the crowd, ending the night with Pops Staples’ “Friendship” followed by “Drum.” This wasn’t quite the end of HGM year — they headed to Philly the following night, and D.C. after that — but it felt valedictory nonetheless, an exclamation point on a year well spent.

I recorded this set in the same manner as the previous night, with a soundboard feed from the band’s engineer Tim and Schoeps MK22 microphones. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete show: [MP3/FLAC/ALAC]

Hiss Golden Messenger
2017-12-08
The Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK22 (at SBD, PAS bar)>KCY>Z-PFA + Soundboard (engineer: Tim)>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 WAV>Adobe Audition CC (align, mix down, limiter)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 2:02:30]
01 When the Wall Comes Down
02 Saturday’s Song
03 Jenny of the Roses
04 [banter1]
05 Biloxi
06 Gulfport You’ve Been On My Mind
07 Blue Country Mystic
08 Mahogany Dread
09 Don’t Let Me Down [Beatles]
10 Like A Mirror Loves A Hammer
11 Red Rose Nantahala
12 [banter2]
13 Highland Grace
14 [banter3]
15 Caledonia, My Love
16 Domino
17 I Won’t Back Down [Tom Petty]
18 Lost Out In the Darkness
19 I’m A Raven (Shake Children)
20 I Am the Song
21 [banter4-band intros]
22 Southern Grammar
23 [banter5]
24 John the Gun
25 [pretzel break]
26 Friendship [Pops Staples]
27 Drum

Band:
M.C. Taylor – vocals, guitar
Phil Cook – keyboards, harmonica
Mike Lewis – saxophone
Skylar Gudasz – vocals
James Wallace – organ, percussion
Ryan Gustafson – guitar
Michael Libramento – bass
Darren Jesse – drums

PLEASE SUPPORT Hiss Golden Messenger: WebsiteTwitter | Buy Hallelujah Anyhow

Hiss Golden Messenger: December 7, 2017 The Bowery Ballroom

December 10, 2017
By

Children are essential to the origin story of Hiss Golden Messenger, and they’ve been a recurring theme in Mike “M.C.” Taylor’s songs since the beginning. Taylor introduced “Drum” on this night by telling the story in full, of a loser (his words) washed up from music, left out of life, sitting in a cabin next to a newborn, wondering about the future. Contemplating his life as he sat next to his newborn son Elijah, Taylor started to make music again. For him that child wasn’t just a literal birth; it was his personal rebirth, too. It was there that he wrote my favorite of all his songs, “Call Him Daylight,” which tackles the ambiguity of forces greater than us (some would view that as “God,” though I don’t think you have to). To that entity he says at one point, “Some call you destroyer, some Daylight.” It’s a fundamental paradox of many world religions — you’re asked to revere god as your creator, but also your ultimate destroyer. Which kept me thinking about children, and this band’s particular choices in 2017.

The righteous anger of musicians (not to mention the rest of us) toward the current regime is hardly news at this point, and it’s been reflected in many, many albums this year. If you follow the man on Twitter, you might expect the same from Taylor. But the latest Hiss Golden Messenger album does perhaps the braver thing, certainly the rarer thing. It’s announced by the title, Hallelujah Anyhow. A child who wakes up alive for the first time tomorrow here in America won’t know the name of anyone in the current administration, won’t harbor rage toward the rich or the indecent or the greedy, won’t know about hate, won’t worry about global warming, won’t fear misogyny or racism, won’t know war. In a child’s eyes the world is all beauty. In a child’s eyes this world is all they’ve known.

Taylor and a stacked band of Triangle locals (Phil Cook, Skylar Gudasz, Darren Jesse, Ryan Gustafson, Mike Lewis, James Wallace, Michael Libramento) brought that ethos to the Bowery Ballroom for this first of two nights, giving us two hours of inclusive, upbeat Hallelujah songs as well as a well-chosen selection of favorites. The past two years have seen this band release not less than three complete albums — the band hit another high point with 2016’s Heart Like A Levee and companion album Vestapol — which has stacked the catalog with new material. If you missed the outstanding Music Hall of Williamsburg show the band did in 2016 (which I unfortunately did) this could well have been your first time hearing many of these songs live. It’s striking how cohesive the Merge-era, bigger-room-oriented material is with itself, but there’s also that constant thread that reaches all the way back to Bad Debt. Compare the two songs that Taylor played as a duo with Cook —  “Drum” (a very old one) and “Caledonia, My Love” (a new one) — and it’s clear that Taylor’s heart remains where it has been, in a purgatory between light and darkness. Each of those songs may have been an outlier on their respective albums, but side by side, they make sense.

Still, this was a positive night, a two-hour “evening with,” and there was plenty of party music to celebrate with, including the band’s semi-regular cover of Sam Cooke’s “Having A Party” and the main set closers “Domino” followed by the already-classic “Southern Grammar.” Having seen these songs performed many times now, by a variety of personnel, I’ve come to appreciate the variations in Taylor’s performances of his work. Songs, too, are a kind of offspring, an evolving gift to a wider world, and Taylor has continued to help these songs grow into new and different entities than what they were. Taylor’s restless tinkering with this music seems almost calculated to keep you in that state, able to see his music as brand-new even if you’ve seen him a dozen or more times before. If you’re lucky you’ll listen long enough that you find yourself, however briefly, like that open-hearted child again, able to say that simple word, hallelujah. You stand there inside the Bowery Ballroom, and it’s the holiday season, it’s New York City, and you’re alive. So hallelujah, anyhow.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK22 open cardiod microphones mounted at the soundboard, with a feed of the PA mix from the band’s dapper sound engineer Tim. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Thanks, as always, to Mike Taylor and to Merge Records. 

Download the complete show: [MP3/FLAC/ALAC]

Hiss Golden Messenger
2017-12-07
The Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK22 (at SBD, ORTF)>KCY>Z-PFA + Soundboard (engineer: Tim)>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 WAV>Adobe Audition CC (align, mix down, limiter)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 [intro]
02 Call Him Daylight
03 Biloxi
04 Jenny of the Roses
05 I Am the Song
06 Gulfport You’ve Been On My Mind
07 Say It Like You Mean It
08 Lost Out In the Darkness
09 Tell Her I’m Just Dancing
10 Red Rose Nantahala
11 Heart Like A Levee
12 [banter-the story of HGM]
13 Drum*
14 [banter2]
15 Caledonia, My Love*
16 I’ve Got A Name for the Newborn Child
17 Like A Mirror Loves A Hammer
18 I’m A Raven (Shake Children)
19 Lucia
20 Having A Party [Sam Cooke]
21 Harder Rain
22 Domino
23 [banter3–band intros]
24 Southern Grammar
25 [encore break]
26 Friendship [Pops Staples]

Band:
M.C. Taylor – vocals, guitar
Phil Cook – keyboards, harmonica
Mike Lewis – saxophone
Skylar Gudasz – vocals
James Wallace – organ, percussion
Ryan Gustafson – guitar
Michael Libramento – bass
Darren Jesse – drums

*M.C. Taylor/Phil Cook Duo

PLEASE SUPPORT Hiss Golden Messenger: WebsiteTwitter | Buy Hallelujah Anyhow

Hiss Golden Messenger – November 15, 2016 Music Hall of Williamsburg

November 20, 2016
By

Hiss Golden Messenger

Hiss Golden Messenger’s new album, Heart Like a Levee, is one for dark times—and dark times we’ve got in abundance. Still, last week’s tour stop at the Music Hall of Williamsburg was nothing if not uplifting. “Red Rose Nantahala,” normally dedicated to North Carolina’s horrid (and hopefully former) governor, is here dedicated to “a whole bunch of people,” and I think the whole room here in Brooklyn more than ever felt the import of those lyrics, “Well let me be the one I want / Well let me love the one I want.” On the lighter side, it was the band’s cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Brown-Eyed Women” that stole the show. Their version appeared originally on the Day of the Dead compilation and this was apparently the first time it had been attempted live. The epic, thirteen-minute closer “Brother, Do You Know the Road?” (a personal favorite among HGM tunes), fittingly performed to end a set of songs about finding your way home, and on one of the last dates of their tour, will send you off feeling pretty good.

I recorded this set with the mics set up at the soundboard combined with a board feed from the band’s touring engineer, Luke. The sound is excellent. Enjoy!

Download: MP3/FLAC

Stream:

Hiss Golden Messenger
2016-11-15
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY

Recorded and produced by Eric PH for nyctaper.com

Soundboard [engineer: Luke] + AKG C480B/CK63 (DFC, PAS, at SBD) > Roland R-26 > 2xWAV (24/48) > Adobe Audition CC (align, compression, mixdown, normalize, fades) + Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ) > Audacity 2.0.5 (downsample, dither, tracking, tagging) > FLAC (16/44.1, level 8)

Tracks [2:07:11]
01. As the Crow Flies
02. Biloxi
03. Saturday’s Song
04. Mahogany Dread
05. Red Rose Nantahala
06. Day O Day (A Love So Free)
07. [banter]
08. Heart Like a Levee
09. Tell Her I’m Just Dancing
10. O Happy Day
11. Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer
12. Call Him Daylight
13. I’ve Got a Name For the Newborn Child
14. [banter]
15. I’m a Raven (Shake Children)
16. [banter]
17. O Little Light
18. Flags and Banners [Faces]
19. Say It Like You Mean It
20. Cracked Windshield
21. Lucia
22. Southern Grammar
23. [encore break]
24. Brown-Eyed Women [Grateful Dead]
25. Brother, Do You Know the Road?

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT by buying Hiss Golden Messenger’s records from Paradise of Bachelors and Merge Records, as well as HGM’s online store.

Hiss Golden Messenger: November 19, 2015 Baby’s All Right

November 25, 2015
By

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Continuing with the “running out of things to say” theme, I think even the band is starting to wonder if I do much of anything besides attend Hiss Golden Messenger concerts. If you read about the band’s doings in Durham, NC earlier last week, you’d know they debuted Heart Like A Levee, an entire new album, before two successive nights of attendees at Duke University. That album should be appearing on Merge Records in due time.

Well, this show at Baby’s All Right wasn’t that, but that’s not to take anything away from this sweaty, raucous show before a sell-out crowd. M.C. Taylor was joined on this jaunt by most of his regular band — the Cook brothers on keys and guitars, Matt McCaughan on drums — with Josh Kaufman taking up additional guitar duties. This show sounded like one by people who’ve fallen into a comfortable groove, and despite the extremely unpleasant temperature (how you make a club over 100 degrees indoors in the middle of November is a mystery to me) the band sweated through some strong versions of their tour favorites, plus less-heard numbers like “Mahogany Dread,” off of Lateness of DancersPoor Moon‘s “Super Blue (Two Days Clean)” and a newly-rocking version of “Brother, Do You Know the Road?” Perhaps out of a sense of self-preservation (the band were so hot their guitars were covered in sweat), we only got one encore, but it was a keeper — Waylon Jennings’ “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean.”

So, forgive the brevity of this writeup, but if you’re already on the train, you can read any of my reviews of recent shows to get a pretty good idea where things are headed. If you’re new to the band, well, this is a fine, fine way to take the plunge.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK5 cardiod microphones at the stage lip, together with Harrison Fore’s soundboard feed. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete show: [MP3/FLAC]

Stream the complete show:

Hiss Golden Messenger
2015-11-19
Baby’s All Right
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Harrison Fore) + Schoeps MK5c (onstage, ORTF)>KCY>Z-PFA>Roland R-26 (2x24bit/48kHz WAV)>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (adjust stereo mix of onstage mics, compression, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects, EQ)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( Level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:19:17]
01 Saturday’s Song
02 Lucia
03 Call Him Daylight
04 Super Blue (Two Days Clean)
05 Mahogany Dread
06 I’ve Got A Name for the Newborn Child
07 Day O Day (A Love So Free)
08 Brother, Do You Know the Road?
09 I’m A Raven (Shake Children)
10 Blue Country Mystic
11 Southern Grammar
12 [encore break]
13 Lonesome, On’ry and Mean [Waylon Jennings]

Band:
MC Taylor
Phil Cook – Keyboards, Guitar
Brad Cook – Bass
Josh Kaufman – Guitar
Matt McCaughan – Drums

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT by buying Hiss Golden Messenger’s records from Paradise of Bachelors and Merge Records, as well as HGM’s online store.

IMG_0772

Hiss Golden Messenger: June 2, 2015 Music Hall of Williamsburg – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

June 8, 2015
By

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[photos courtesy of P Squared Photography]

Maybe an opening set by Hiss Golden Messenger at Music Hall of Williamsburg doesn’t merit quite the word count I gave April’s homecoming show at Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC. But it was the biggest New York stage on which I’ve seen this band, and that makes it another milestone for M.C. Taylor and his fellow travelers. Fresh off a European tour, the band spent this first of two nights in New York opening for the Tallest Man on Earth, but judging the room capacity at the start of this set, HGM was the night’s draw for many of us. This was almost the exact same band we saw back at Haw River — Taylor, bassist Brad Cook, his brother Phil on keys, and Matt McCaughan on drums — minus William Tyler.

Clearly, this team is road-tested and hitting their stride, seeming to have found an even deeper, jammier groove than when we saw them in North Carolina. This sound gels well with the Lateness of Dancers record, so it makes sense that its songs — “Southern Grammar” and “I’m A Raven (Shake Children)” feel like centerpieces on this run. We were also thrilled to hear the new song “Say It Like You Mean It” for the second time. It’s possibly the most “rock” song the band has done to date, and should be a live staple for the foreseeable future. But even at that, it ended up being a Poor Moon song that stole this particular show, as the journeyman sax player Michael Lewis joined the band for the definitive live version of “Blue Country Mystic,” with Lewis adding a new layer to a song whose current live arrangement already feels transformed from its album version. While you’d always prefer to see a band you love as a headliner, I suspect this and some even higher-profile opening slots are going to earn HGM a lot of new fans, and they seem poised and ready to do it.

HGM will remain on the road June and July, touring with My Morning Jacket, hitting festivals, and returning to the general vicinity of NYC on July 25 for a show at Woodstock’s Bearsville Theater. See all the dates here.

Download the complete set: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete set:

Hiss Golden Messenger
2015-06-02
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard [engineer: Nic Cameron] + Schoeps MK41V (at SBD, DFC, PAS)>KC5>CMC6>>Roland R-26>2x16bit/44.1kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, fades, light compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 40:19]
01 Call Him Daylight
02 Saturday’s Song
03 [banter1]
04 Say It Like You Mean It [working title]
05 I’ve Got A Name For the Newborn Child
06 [banter2]
07 Blue Country Mystic*
08 I’m A Raven (Shake Children)
09 [banter3]
10 Southern Grammar

* w/ Michael Lewis on saxophone

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT by buying Hiss Golden Messenger’s records from Paradise of Bachelors and Merge Records, as well as HGM’s online store.

hiss-golden-messenger-13

Hiss Golden Messenger: April 17, 2015 Haw River Ballroom (NC) – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

April 20, 2015
By

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The best Hiss Golden Messenger songs are the ones about a search for spiritual peace as well as life’s basic comforts, the ones that revel in doubt. I thought a lot about that as I watched the band play their first hometown gig in quite a while. The band’s most recent EP is called Southern Grammar, after the song originally featured on their Merge Records release Lateness of Dancers, and that got me to thinking what “Southern grammar” could mean. The language of the modern South is one of a stubborn constancy bred with ecstatic change, and nowhere is that more evident than in North Carolina, and even more specifically, at this picturesque complex along the Haw river. After driving through miles of deep country, you come upon a collection of structures that includes a “general store“/gas station stocked with a deep microbrew selection and gourmet food, a puppeteering center, a “butchery” (they sell a delicious hot dog with a schmear of pimento and cheese and bacon slivers), a pub, a brewpub specializing in “farmhouse ales“, some luxury condos down the street in a renovated cotton mill and dye house, and finally, the crown jewel of it all, the 800-capacity Haw River Ballroom, which the band sold out on this Friday night.

Does that remind you of anywhere? If you live in Brooklyn, you might be thinking of Williamsburg Bushwick Bed-Stuy Crown Heights almost any neighborhood. But that’s in New York City, where sentimentality has always taken a back seat to the imperatives of commerce. Historically, at least, the South has been a more hidebound place. The rural parts of it, for sure.

What does any of that have to do with Hiss Golden Messenger? Well, like this resurgent part of their adopted home region, Hiss Golden Messenger changes quickly without abandoning tradition. They’re a band who, after Taylor described my September 2014 recording as “what we sound like now”, sounded only part-way similar on this day in April of 2015. The “new” South changes its clothes, changes its tune, to a degree, but in what is new, there will always be those deep strains of something old. Same with this band.

In the case of HGM circa-this-week in 2015, the something old is ’70s AOR, the country-flavored, jammy rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival and the like. Joined by Nashville’s finest living guitarist William Tyler as a special guest, along with Brad and Phil Cook of Megafaun on guitar and bass, and Matt McCaughan on drums, the fivesome rocked the Haw River Ballroom in the way that’s only right for a hometown show. With regular saxophonist Matt Douglas on tour with the Mountain Goats, the guitars redoubled their efforts in his stead. The net effect was songs more muscular and immediate, a musical place where a song like “I’m A Raven (Shake Children)” has absolutely never sounded better, and the deep sadness of “Call Him Daylight” found itself taking a back seat to the insistence of the honky-tonk guitars. Several of the band’s big tent numbers felt more prominent: “Saturday’s Song” and “I’ve Got A Name for the Newborn Child” in particular sidling up to a brand-new one tentatively titled “Say It Like You Mean It” that added some heavier guitars to the proceedings, with Tyler adding his own psychedelic wash to the mix. I’ll admit, I missed the more measured pace of previous versions of “Daylight”, where the words get more space, but that’s alright; if you don’t quite connect with any particular version of an HGM song, there’ll always be another on the way.

That doesn’t mean, by any stretch, that this show was all good times and fluff. There was the opening number, “Brother, Do You Know the Road” (featured on Southern Grammar), whose call and response was more poignant than ever. It’s about the way out out of a sense of worthlessness, about the storm that’s passed over, but not before the rain was found. By the time the main set closed with “Southern Grammar” we were meditating on that road again, the flashes of darkness evident even through the song’s feel-good sound.

The encore brought it all together, with Taylor dedicating “Red Rose Nantahala” to the state’s Tea Party governor, Patt McCrory, whose recent back-tracking does little to hide his past agenda. There stood Taylor on his home turf, pleading “Well let me be the one I want / well let me love the one I want”, and you felt that same question rising from the hearts of so many people in this fine state that have had their basic decency denied them under that false mantra of “tradition”. But before things got too heavy-handed, Taylor shifted gears as he does so well, ending the night with a disco ball and Sam Cooke’s “Having A Party”, as if reminding us all that we were all friends, here at least.

In all, this was the longest HGM set I’ve been in attendance for, and one delivered with the confidence that comes not only with success, but being at home. It laid bare HGM’s own tensions between tradition and evolution, and that revealed something else worth knowing about this still-growing band. That they not only have the capacity to change, but the urgency to. They’ll keep traveling the unfamiliar country, and keep taking the long way home.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V cardiod microphones and a soundboard feed provided by the Haw River Ballroom staff, with the generous assistance of my friend and prolific North Carolina taper Dan Schram. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC

Stream the complete show: 

Hiss Golden Messenger
2015-04-17
Haw River Ballroom
Saxapahaw, NC USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Tracks [Total Time 1:25:46]
01 Brother, Do You Know the Road?
02 [banter]
03 Call Him Daylight
04 Saturday’s Song
05 Say It Like You Mean It [new/working title]
06 [banter2]
07 Mahogany Dread
08 [banter3]
09 I’ve Got A Name For the Newborn Child
10 Day O Day (A Love So Free)
11 Lucia
12 [banter4]>Blue Country Mystic
13 I’m A Raven (Shake Children)
14 Southern Grammar
15 [encore break]
16 Red Rose Nantahala
17 [banter5]
18 Having A Party [Sam Cooke]

Band:
M.C. Taylor – Vocals, Guitar
William Tyler – Guitar
Matt McCaughan – Drums
Phil Cook – Bass, Vocals
Brad Cook – Guitar

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT by buying Hiss Golden Messenger’s records from Paradise of Bachelors and Merge Records, as well as HGM’s online store.

Hiss Golden Messenger: July 31, 2013 Motorco (Durham, NC) – FLAC/MP3/Streaming Full Set

November 11, 2014
By


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[Screen capture from video by Dan Schram]

When I was told I had to track down this show because it was, as a friend told me, “completely bonkers”, I didn’t quite know what to expect. After all, Hiss Golden Messenger is a band rarely seen in the same configuration twice, as I noted in my recent review of the Rough Trade show that featured the most consistent band that MC Taylor has toured with in years. But this friend doesn’t make  statement like that lightly, so I figured I would search this thing out.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that Dan Schram, likely the most prolific taper in the Triangle right now, had pulled this off. He offered me the raw tracks, which he said, quality-wise, weren’t very good. I volunteered, amateur though I am, to work what magic I had available on them. In my humble opinion, what you’ll hear below is pretty damn great.

The result is what you hear below. Whether “bonkers” or not is a matter of how you use that word, but it’s certainly unique, even by HGM standards. First of all, it wasn’t supposed to occur at Durham’s Motorco at all. Part of a summer series in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, this HGM show ended up at the indoor venue after the weather failed to cooperate and thunderstorms shut the original plan down. Then there’s how this show begins, surely the first and only time that the words of Martin Luther King will be intoned over the opening song, the Haw discard “Brother, Do You Know the Road?”. (As my respect for Taylor could not be clearer, I don’t mind saying that cutting that track is not something I quite understand). The song also led off the first full-band HGM performance I ever saw, and if anything, this version was even more powerful vocally.

The band itself was an unusual assemblage of local and less-local musicians, too, including longtime collaborators Scott Hirsch and Terry Lonergan, to Black Twig Pickers and Pelt’s Nathan Bowles, to one of his new band’s now-permanent members, Matt Douglas on saxophone. In my ways, this show felt like a pivot point in the band’s live style, turning them in the direction ultimately followed on Lateness of Dancers and its subsequent tour. Together the group lent new depth to less-played Haw tracks like “Cheerwine Easter” and “Sweet As John Hurt”, with “Cheerwine” unfolding into a psychedelic jam (perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that Taylor talked a lot about hippies during this set). If a better version of that song has been played by this band, I would love to hear it. You could say the same thing about the “Jesus Shot Me In the Head” that follows a similar route later in the set, where Douglas, guitarist Chris Boerner and keyboardist James Wallace really let fly.

Maybe some of Taylor’s particular passion flowed from the presence of his son Elijah in the audience, who was the subject of “I’ve Got A Name for the Newborn Child”. If that could be felt in the extra little runs here and there, in the easygoing vibe on the stage, then it’s a double blessing that he came along. Just be to be sure nothing about this show would be average, Taylor also invited the boy on stage for the show’s final “bonkers” moment, a two-cover encore of JJ Cale’s “Hey Baby” (in honor of his then-recent passing), followed by Waylon Jennings’ “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?”. For an artist who has had many fine outings of late, this set may well represent this band’s finest turn yet. Even if it’s not brand-new, we felt like it was important to share, and hope you agree.

As noted, I didn’t record this set, and Dan isn’t entirely sure what mic he was using either. More or less what’s happening here is a mono board feed and a single microphone turned into what you hear below. In my opinion, the sound quality is outstanding. Thanks to Dan for sharing the opportunity to put this out there.

Hiss Golden Messenger’s second-to-last West Coast show is tonight at the Independent in San Francisco, followed by a show on the 13th at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever in LA. After that, they’re off to England and Europe for the rest of this year, resuming touring out there in February. Check the dates here.

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete show:


[“Sufferer” from video by Dan Schram. Note that the audio download is different than this audio]

Hiss Golden Messenger
2013-07-31
Motorco
Durham, NC USA

Recorded by Dan Schram
Produced by acidjack

Soundboard (mono) + unknown mic (mono)>digital recorder>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down, create stereo separation, adjust levels)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, stereo effects, compression)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, tracking, limiter, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 [intro]
02 Brother, Do You Know The Road?
03 [banter1]
04 Red Rose Nantahala
05 [banter2]
06 O Little Light
07 [banter3]
08 I Got A Name For the Newborn Child
09 Cheerwine Easter
10 Call Him Daylight
11 [banter4]
12 Blue Country Mystic
13 The Serpent is Kind (Compared To Man)
14 [banter5]
15 Sweet as John Hurt
16 Jesus Shot Me in the Head
17 [banter6]
18 Super Blue (Two Days Clean)
19 [banter7]
20 Sufferer (Love My Conqueror)
21 [encore break]
22 Hey Baby [J.J. Cale]
23 Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? [Waylon Jennings]

Band
MC Taylor – Vocals, guitar
Nathan Bowles – Banjo
Matt Douglas – Saxophone
Scott Hirsch – Bass
Terry Lonergan – Drums
Chris Boerner – Guitar
James Wallace – Keyboards

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Hiss Golden Messenger, visit his website, and buy Lateness of Dancers from Merge Records and his other records from his shop. And see the band on tour.

Hiss Golden Messenger: September 18, 2014 Rough Trade NYC (FLAC/MP3/Streaming)

September 19, 2014
By


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[photos by acidjack]

I have only seen Hiss Golden Messenger once before with a full band, a revelatory performance at the 2012 Hopscotch Music Festival. Since then, I have caught Mike Taylor several times in what one might call his de facto state, as the solo artist on his own, playing songs the way he did for his stripped-down, four-track album Bad Debt. In my time following Taylor’s work, I have come to see HGM as the embodiment of two different instincts — one, the band-leading artist drawing on his love of audience-pleasing, crowd-moving southern rock and gospel found in particular on Haw and Country Hai East Cotton; the other a man alone in a kitchen beside a sleeping baby, wrestling with his demons as the tape spools away like time. The challenge, and the reward, of Hiss Golden Messenger is the ability to reconcile those impulses.

This set at Rough Trade NYC, sponsored by Aquarium Drunkard, began with one of my all-time favorite HGM numbers, “Red Rose Nantahala” from Haw. As that song segued into the upbeat “Saturday’s Song” from Taylor’s Merge debut, Lateness of Dancers, it almost told the story of the latter-day band in two songs. The first finds Taylor pleading “Oh Lord, let me be happy” and “let me be the one I want”. The next, from an album that by all rights should take HGM to the “next level“, is a grown-up father’s song, about wanting to cut loose on the weekend, drink some whiskey, Sunday hangover be damned. The character in that song seems resolutely himself. Content at last, hangover be damned.

After that second song, Taylor slapped his guitar and noted that a Hiss Golden Messenger tour used to just be him and that single instrument (that’d be as recently as March, when he played a tour de force performance at Mercury Lounge). Today the band is a five-piece that features longtime collaborator Scott Hirsch on bass, Matt Douglas on saxophone, vocals and guitars, Megafaun‘s Phil Cook on keys, banjo and vocals, and Matt McCaughan (Rosebuds, Portastatic, Bon Iver) on drums. In some ways, the band reflects Mike’s changing circumstances, not only as a more known musician, but as an ever-more-firmly entrenched member of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina music scene whose players pop up as regularly on each other’s records as they do at one another’s shows. Lateness feels less like a purely Mike Taylor album and more like a Triangle music album circa 2014, at a time when the scene is flourishing in all sorts of ways, but also ever-more-mindful of its roots. It leans, then, more toward Mike’s country-rock and gospel impulses, and that’s a fine thing.

So when we heard the Poor Moon classics “Blue Country Mystic” and “Call Him Daylight” in this new configuration, they were part of the “dance portion” of the set, an entire concept new to HGM sets that I’ve seen. “Daylight”, in particular, became a twangier, country-funk number, and as Douglas’ sax breakdown hit, the most striking thing of all was that people actually did dance. I shook my head a tad at a reckoning with god inspiring that reaction in people, but when Taylor hit the song’s final, climactic verse, the chills were there. As far as southern rock-via-HGM goes, it’s hard to beat “Lucia” from Lateness, or the equally compelling “Raven (Snake Children” that followed. This was my first time hearing both of these songs live, and they seemed to benefit most from the band and this setup (which isn’t surprising, since these players recorded them). Similarly, the Lateness material I had heard live before — “Southern Grammar” and “Chapter & Verse” — sounded better-realized than ever.

In another sign that today’s HGM is a more collaborative effort these days, the show’s final song was played on the floor, unamplified, with Taylor and the band pressed in on all sides by fans, performing “Drum” as the crowd added its own percussion and sang along. “Take the good news / and carry it away”, the crowd sang, rendering Mike’s voice just one among many. Hiss Golden Messenger has grown from one man and one instrument to a true band, and the good news for us is, they’ve got many miles left to travel. “We’re going to play a lot of shows this year. I guess everybody up here needs to get ready for that,” Taylor told us earlier in the set. That goes for you fans out there, too — here are the current tour dates.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones at the soundboard and a stereo feed from house engineer Cameron. The sound quality is outstanding, though of course note that “Drum” was sung on the floor unamplified, so it sounds like that. Enjoy!

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete show: 

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Hiss Golden Messenger
2014-09-18
Rough Trade NYC
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK4V (inside SBD cage, PAS)>KC5>CMC6>Sound Devices USBPre2 + Soundboard (engineer: Cameron)>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, adjust levels, limiter)>Izotope Ozone 5 (light EQ, imaging, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks:
01 Red Rose Nantahala
02 Saturday’s Song
03 [banter]
04 Mahogany Dread
05 Day O Day (A Love So Free)
06 [banter2]
07 Busted Note
08 [banter3]
09 Blue Country Mystic
10 [banter4]
11 Call Him Daylight
12 [banter5]
13 I’ve Got A Name for the Newborn Child
14 [banter6]
15 Lucia
16 I’m A Raven (Snake Children)
17 [banter7]
18 Southern Grammar
19 [encore break]
20 Chapter & Verse (Ione’s Song)
21 [banter8]
22 Drum [played on the floor]

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Hiss Golden Messenger, visit his website, and buy Lateness of Dancers from Merge Records and his other records from his shop. And see the band on tour.

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Hiss Golden Messenger: March 2, 2014 Mercury Lounge – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

March 11, 2014
By


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[Photos by acidjack]

Standing in the packed house, at an early show on Oscar night, I got the sense that we may be witnessing Hiss Golden Messenger hitting a natural peak. There’s the anecdotal information: a glowing Daily Beast write-up (among much other favorable press), the sold-out Mercury Lounge on a Sunday night, even people in their twenties who knew the words to every song. But the greater thing is the performances themselves, more assured and powerful at every encounter. We’ve covered HGM in a variety of configurations — large full band, small duo/trio and solo, not to mention fronting Magnolia Electric Co.  — but I’m not sure I’ve seen or heard a stronger set that this one. On this night Taylor drew from a deep well; you could hear it in every note. You could see it on the faces in the crowd, too, both the newcomers and the old, marveling at just how much he has to give.

There were a few rarities in tonight’s setlist, including the old song (we’re fairly sure is called) “Lucia” and the Songs: Ohia number “What Comes After the Blues”. Taylor also shared some songs from his forthcoming album, which he was in town to master. We got both “Southern Grammar”, which he shared with us at Glasslands back in August, as well as a new one from that whose title we don’t know “The Lateness of Dancers”, which was new to us (thanks to commenter Felice for the heads-up on the title). If you missed it, Mike has also been promoting the Paradise of Bachelors re-release of his LP Bad Debt, a lo-fi masterpiece that sourced many of the songs that would later re-appear in fully-realized form on Poor Moon and elsewhere. The man standing there before a crowd that knew his name felt, in some ways, a far cry from the lone artist in his kitchen, hammering out Bad Debt while his baby slept. Perhaps Taylor isn’t that exact same man, but a better version of him. An artist coming, like the slow bloom of this spring, fully into his own.

I recorded this set with the house mix by head engineer Kevin Mazzarelli, plus Schoeps MK41 microphones and a Sound Devices preamp to provide ambiance. The quality is outstanding. Enjoy!

Stream “What Comes After the Blues” [Songs: Ohia]

Stream “Sufferer”

Download the complete show [MP3] | [FLAC]

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

IMG_6792

Hiss Golden Messenger
2014-03-02
Mercury Lounge
New York, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Kevin Mazzarelli) + Schoeps MK41 (PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>Sound Devices USBPre2>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (compression, align, mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ)>Audacity 2.0.3 (tracking, fades, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks
01 When I Was A Young Boy [Nina Simone/traditional]
02 [banter]
03 Call Him Daylight
04 [banter2]
05 Blue Country Mystic
06 Balthazar’s Song
07 [banter3]
08 O Little Light
09 A Working Man Can’t Make It No Way
10 [banter4]
11 Busted Note
12 The Lateness of Dancers
13 Southern Grammar
14 Jesus Shot Me In the Head
15 [banter5]
16 Lucia
17 [banter6]
18 What Comes After the Blues [Songs: Ohia]
19 [banter7]
20 Super Blue (Two Days Clean)
21 Sufferer

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Hiss Golden Messenger, like him on Facebook, and purchase Haw, Bad Debt and his other releases on digital or vinyl from Paradise of Bachelors [HERE], or all of his releases on vinyl [HERE].

Hiss Golden Messenger: August 17, 2013 Glasslands – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

August 20, 2013
By

Hiss-Golden-Messenger26
[Photos courtesy of P Squared Photography]

A man can make complicated music these days in a room alone with a machine. Create a symphony out of bits and bytes, a hit single out of a 4/4 beat and an idea. If you look at what’s celebrated most often in music these days it’s one person transcending the limits of money and time and space and the need for bandmates, usually because of his or her skill with a machine. In case you forgot, men alone have been doing that for decades, centuries, eons. Just the machines were simpler.

Hiss Golden Messenger has more words in its name than regular band members. In the studio the band is MC Taylor, former lead singer of beloved San Francisco band The Court & Spark, and longtime collaborator Scott Hirsch, plus the cream of available guest players. On the road, it’s often Taylor alone.

What started it all — a rough-hewn bit of work called Bad Debt — was nothing more than Taylor banging out songs with a guitar and a tape deck in his kitchen, while his baby slept. If it sounds old-fashioned, way more old-fashioned than some wide-eyed impresario making beats with a MacBook Pro and Ableton, well, that’s because it is. Sometimes the best things are the simplest things, the ones made how we used to before everything got too easy. But to hear the deep feeling and rich meaning that Taylor can put into a song with the tools he has, well, the old way starts to look economical. Take the Bad Debt spirit, add a band and unforced, high-quality production, and you’ve got masterpieces like his two primary releases on North Carolina imprint Paradise of Bachelors Poor Moon and this year’s Haw, which are probably my two favorite records of the past two years.

This night’s show at Glasslands — Taylor’s first New York show in four years — brought us back to the Bad Debt days, with Taylor alone at a guitar in front of a room that, with no disrespect to the night’s headliner Daughn Gibson, seemed to include a lot of folks, myself included, who’d come to see him. We were rewarded again and again. Taylor’s typical set-starting song, “Father Sky” found itself replaced with his version of a traditional song, most recently popularized as “When I Was A Young Girl” by Nina Simone. Two new numbers, possibly to appear on an upcoming EP, showed up for the first time I’ve heard them. “Southern Grammar”, streaming below, was particularly breathtaking, continuing Mike’s ongoing lyrical struggles with faith. On stage sitting down in old jeans, a white tank top and a Caterpillar hat, Mike looked like an anachronism, especially on a Saturday night. He didn’t have much for us to look at, gimmicks to parlay into Twitter excitement or iPhone photos. Hiss Golden Messenger had nothing but music, and words. He sang, and the world went still.

This recording is primarily the soundboard feed of engineer Josh Thiel’s house mix, plus a small amount of the house mics for ambiance. The sound is excellent. Enjoy!

Stream “Southern Grammar”

Stream “The Serpent Is Kind (Compared to Man)”

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Hiss-Golden-Messenger19

Hiss Golden Messenger
2013-08-17
Glasslands
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Josh Thiel) + Naiant XR>Sound Devices USBPre2>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (light reverb to SBD)>Izotope Ozone 5 (tape effect)>Audacity (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 38:28]
01 When I Was A Young (Boy) [Nina Simone]
02 [banter1]
03 Blue Country Mystic
04 Call Him Daylight
05 [banter2]
06 O Little Light
07 He Wrote the Book
08 Southern Grammar
09 [banter3]
10 Chapter & Verse
11 The Serpent Is Kind (Compared To Man)
12 [banter4]
13 I’ve Got A Name For The Newborn Child

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Hiss Golden Messenger, like him on Facebook, and purchase Haw and his other releases on digital or vinyl from Paradise of Bachelors [HERE], or all of his releases on vinyl [HERE].

Support nyctaper

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