Posts Tagged ‘ Durham ’

Superchunk: December 3, 2015 Baby’s All Right

December 6, 2015

[photo courtesy of Ellen Qbertplaya]

Superchunk spawned one of the most revered independent labels, revitalized the music scene of two entire towns, and continue to inspire men and women alike to pogo at the stage lip singing every word. Few bands can claim those achievements, but even fewer can claim to have not only kept, but expanded their fans’ loyalty since the early 1990s. Mac McCaughan may well be one of his generation’s few ageless indie stars, as unabashedly confessional, athletic and compelling onstage as he was when he was in his twenties. What separates his songs from those of lesser peers is that those lyrics aren’t just reflections of youthful naiveté — they just say what they need to in the most direct, compelling way. It hurts none that behind Mac is a crack band (sans, sadly, Laura Ballance these days) that has only gotten better over the years; if many drummers are hitting the kit better than Jon Wurster at any age, they ought to count themselves lucky. And that doesn’t even begin to touch the humor of Jim Wilbur (who’s a pretty darn good player, too).

The band came into Baby’s All Right on this Thursday to follow up a performance the night before at Ground Control Touring’s 15th Anniversary, meaning they weren’t here to flog a new record or for any purpose other than to remind their fans exactly why they stick around. They rewarded us with a set that drew from all over their catalog, treating 2013’s I Hate Music and their 1990s canon with equal reverence. The sold out crowd gave as good as they got in terms of energy, as the people in the front didn’t stop moving, or singing, the entire time. The band may have joked before “The Popular Music” (from Indoor Living, 1997) about how they would sit around in front of a Britney Spears poster in their practice room and wonder if a new song they were writing would “make them popular” (Mac’s reply — it didn’t) but the reality is that, in the longer run, their efforts worked. Sometimes it’s quality, and not quantity of “popularity” that counts, and Superchunk has the former in abundance. For a certain group of people, Superchunk were a foundational band, in the same way other giants of the era like Pavement (or further toward the mainstream, Nirvana) inspired countless stints as independent radio DJs, memberships in variously-successful bands, and LP/CD collections that burden many of us to this day. In 2013, we called them “the best working band in America today,” and noted that they “don’t have a bad song in their catalog,” and those sentiments remain true to this day.

To be honest, I’m not really sure if they haven’t played the first encore, “The Breadman” single in more than 20 years as claimed, but I’m not going to be that guy who disputes the band on the Internet (according to said Internet, this was only the second time it’s ever been played). I will say that “Hyper Enough,” still rings true — rocking this night with an energy that belied its twenty years in the rotation, and a song whose central premise still rings true of Mac now as when he wrote it. And “Throwing Things,” which closed the first encore, well, it was as compelling as it was when it first appeared on No Pocky for Kitty in 1991. True to their nature, the band came out for a second encore, and closed with “Slack Motherfucker.” Balance wrote the song back in 1990 and, whoever it was addressed to at the time, Mac has proven to be anything but.

I recorded this set with Superchunk FOH Matthew Barnhart’s soundboard mix, together with Audio Technica 4051 microphones onstage. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!

Download the complete show: [MP3/FLAC]

Stream the complete show (minus banter tracks and encore breaks):

Baby’s All Right
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Matthew Barnhart) + Audio Technica 4051 (onstage)>Zoom F8>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, adjust width, fades, very light compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, image)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time: 1:24:15]
01 [intro]
02 Like A Fool
03 Cursed Mirror
04 Hello Hawk
05 Good Dreams
06 Me & You & Jackie Mittoo
07 Punch Me Harder
08 On the Mouth
09 [banter1]
10 Rosemarie
11 Kicked In
12 Iron On
13 The Popular Music
14 Low F
15 Crossed Wires
16 Detroit Has A Skyline
17 Driveway to Driveway
18 Digging for Something
19 [encore break]
20 The Breadman
21 Hyper Enough
22 Throwing Things
23 [encore break 2]
24 Slack Motherfucker

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Superchunk, visit their website, and purchase their albums directly from Merge Records [HERE].

[photo by Lauren Epstein]

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

November 25, 2015


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
Baby’s All Right
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
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]

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.


Phil Cook: September 23, 2015 Rough Trade NYC + September 10, 2015 Hopscotch Music Festival (Raleigh, NC) – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

October 7, 2015

[Hopscotch photo courtesy of Kenneth Bachor]

Phil Cook is a very easy person to like. If there’s a musician — or heck, a human in general — who is more affable, good-hearted and filled with positivity, I have yet to see them. Cook has been the dutiful bassist, the cheerful sidekick, the go-to-guy for a slew of bands, including Megafaun, with his brother Brad, Hiss Golden Messenger, Akron/Family, Gayngs, and DeYarmond Edison. As Phil pointed out himself, he’s had a long career of doing what other people told him — showing up on time, hitting the right notes, being a get-along guy. The new album Southland Mission represents his first foray into the world of the frontman. The microphone is his now, and the shots are his to call. So he’s assembled an eight-piece band, complete with backup singers, bass, second guitar, and keys, and he’s the one who decides when practice is, where to go, what to do. Suffice it say, most of us would be lucky to have such a genial boss. Southland Mission wears its influences on its sleeve — much as Cook literally wore a Staples Singers shirt this night — and Cook’s devotion to the gospel, soul, R&B and blues music of an earlier era is both obvious and genuine. “Lowly Road” offers a gospel-style chorus, while the loping blues of “Sitting On A Fence” could’ve come from Chicago in the 1960s.

These sets followed a relatively similar course, though with somewhat different vibes. The first, at Hopscotch, came on the day before the release of Southland Mission, and was the first time that Cook played the material in public, together with his band The Guitarheels. Staged in the grand Fletcher Opera Theater, with a band banner at his back (along with an inappropriately large ad for festival sponsor Mini), the setting felt appropriate to the moment. Packed with a fawning hometown crowd, Cook’s material was greeted at every step with roars and encouraging shouts from people he probably sees at the same shows every night (I had to reduce between-song volume to account for it, but trust me). When the band kicked off with one of the album’s most direct and best tunes, “Ain’t It Sweet,” the easy answer had to be yes — and the applause showed it. All of Southland Mission was played, not quite in album order, and the band chose to close with a country song, Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Northeast Texas Women.” As he would in New York, Cook complimented the band profusely, calling them a collection of the finest musicians he had worked with. It being the insular Triangle scene, it’s a reasonable guess that many of the people in the crowd knew them, too. Appropriate to the location, the show’s pace was leisurely and relaxed, with long breaks between songs that felt like Phil having a chat with friends. Both “Great Tide” and “Sitting on a Fence” proved to be opportunities for the band to stretch its legs, with guitar breakdowns that took them into longer territory than the tight album versions.

In New York, Phil and the Guitarheels could still welcome a crowd of friends from previous work, though in the club-like, intimate atmosphere of Rough Trade NYC. Phil may have had to exhort this crowd to stop standing so still (clearly he hasn’t seen as many shows in New York as I have), but against the odds, he got what he asked for. It remained an intimate and chatty show, and Phil’s own speech about getting to finally “be the frontman” was a touching one. Similarly, true to the album’s roots, Cook also talked a good bit about his love for the Staples singers (even wearing the T-shirt), and that’s another influence you can feel throughout these songs. For ease of listening, most of the banter tracks aren’t on the streaming versions below, but I’d urge you to download the full sets to get a better flavor of what Cook is about. While there are only so many ways to mix up the tracks on a single album, we got two brand-new covers this time: first, the Blind Boys of Alabama’s “Take Your Burden To the Lord and Leave It There,” and then Curtis Mayfield’s “Talking About My Baby.” Throughout this show, as in North Carolina, you couldn’t have forced the broad smile off of Phil Cook’s face at gunpoint. If there’s a world where nice guys finish first, well, Phil Cook is in pole position, folks.

I recorded the NYC set with a soundboard feed from Rough Trade engineer Danielle DePalma and Schoeps MK4V microphones; the Hopscotch set was recorded by our friend Larry Tucker with Peluso wide-cardiod microphones. The sound quality of both recordings is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the Rough Trade NYC set: [MP3] | [FLAC]

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

Stream the Rough Trade NYC set:

Stream the Hopscotch set: 

Phil Cook
Rough Trade NYC
Brooklyn, NY

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Danielle DePalma) + Schoeps MK4V (FOB, DFC, PAS)>KC5>CMC6>Edirol R-44>24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down, fades, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, dither, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time: 1:10:38]
01 Ain’t It Sweet
02 [banter1]
03 1922
04 [banter2]
05 Belong
06 Sitting On A Fence
07 [banter3-band intros]
08 Time To Wake
09 Anybody Else
10 [banter4]
11 Gone
12 [banter5–speech]
13 Lowly Road
14 [banter6]
15 Great Tide
16 [encore break]
17 Take Your Burden To The Lord and Leave It There [Blind Boys of Alabama]
18 Talking About My Baby [Curtis Mayfield]

Phil Cook
Hopscotch Music Festival
Fletcher Opera Theater
Raleigh, NC USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded by Larry Tucker
Produced by acidjack

Peluso CEMC6-CK21 (subcardiod) (Room center hung from balcony rail)>Fostex FR2-LE>24bit/48kHz WAV>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 Ain’t It Sweet
02 1922
03 Belong
04 [banter1]
05 Sitting On A Fence
06 [banter2]
07 Lowly Road
08 [banter3]
09 Time To Wake
10 Anybody Else
11 [banter4]
12 Gone
13 [banter5]
14 Great Tide
15 [banter6]
16 Northeast Texas Women [Jerry Jeff Walker]

If you enjoyed these recordings, PLEASE SUPPORT Phil Cook, visit his website, and buy Southland Mission from his online store.


William Tyler: May 5, 2015 Bowery Ballroom & April 18, 2015 Chaz’s Bull City Records (Durham, NC) – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

May 14, 2015

[Possibly the coolest photo of Willy T I have seen, courtesy of P Squared Photography]

William Tyler is a force. “That was a tragic song, in case you guys couldn’t pick up on that, because the lyrics are so clear” he laughed at Bowery Ballroom, where we caught him last week opening for Mikal Cronin. But Tyler might be wrong there. His playing is of such emotional heft that you can feel what he’s trying to say with his guitar, both wielded with grace and experimental verve. These two very different sets covered both some of the Lambchop guitarist’s newest solo material (the outstanding “Highway Anxiety”) along with tracks from his first solo outing, Deseret Canyon. That release saw its initial Merge reissue on Record Store Day show at Chaz’s Bull City Records, so it was appropriate that Tyler brought out two of its most treasured gems, “The Waltz of the Circassian Beauties” and “Crystal Palace, Sea of Glass” at that show. If you missed Deseret on Record Store Day, fear not: Merge will be bringing it out in wider release come early June.

It’s a testament to Tyler’s abilities as a player and storyteller that he kept the crowd whisper-quiet at Bowery, where the new track found itself nestled along nicely next to beloved songs from Impossible Truth and 2010’s Behold the Spirit. People may have been there to witness Cronin’s power-pop headlining affair, but they were smart enough to pay attention as Tyler played “Hotel Catatonia” — preceded by a typically Tyleresque introduction involving being locked in a TCBY freezer. (For the New Yorkers in the audience, that’d be The Country’s Best Yogurt). Likewise, the affair in North Carolina felt more like a gathering of friends that a proper concert, and that was just right for the afternoon vibe outside of Chaz’s. It was a great day to be outside, and a great day to be a music fan. It’s always a great day to see William Tyler, which is a good thing — Northeast crowds will get plenty of opportunities when he tours in June with Real Estate and Ty Segall.

I recorded the Bowery set with a soundboard feed from the legendary Kenny, together with Schoeps MK41V supercardiod microphones. The Bull City show was primarily a board feed from John Koelle, plus Schoeps MK4V microphones in front of the stage. The sound quality it outstanding. Enjoy!

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

Download the Bull City Records show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the NYC set:

Stream the Bull City Records set:

William Tyler
Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Kenny) + Schoeps MK41V (LOC, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>Aerco MP-2>>Edirol R-44 [oCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects, EQ)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 Missionary Ridge
02 [banter2]
03 A Portrait of Sarah
04 [banter2]
05 Highway Anxiety
06 [banter3]
07 Hotel Catatonia>
08 Tears and Saints

William Tyler
Chaz’s Bull City Records
Durham, NC USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: John Koelle) + Schoeps MK4V (stage lip)>KC5>CMC6>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects, EQ)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8

Tracks [Total Time 35:17]
01 Tears and Saints
02 [banter1]
03 A Portrait of Sarah
04 Missionary Ridge
05 The Waltz of the Circassian Beauties
06 [banter2]
07 Crystal Palace, Sea of Glass

If you enjoyed these recordings, PLEASE SUPPORT William Tyler, visit his website, and grab his records from Merge.

photo by PJ Sykes

photo by PJ Sykes

Mac McCaughan: April 18, 2015 Chaz’s Bull City Records (Durham, NC) – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

May 8, 2015
photo by PJ Sykes

photo by PJ Sykes courtesy of Merge Records

What you first notice when you hear Mac McCaughan play Superchunk and other material of his solo is how it puts the band’s most vital characteristic front and center: lyrics. It’s not that you wouldn’t like to also hear the surge and kick of a backbeat to go with that plaintive voice that still sounds like a 22-year old; it’s just that, without as much racket, you finally get a chance to hear and feel what Mac (and by extension, his band) had to say. What you find are keenly-observed images — data piling up like magazines,  alligator clips on glasses, dancing on a propane tank, somewhere deep in the country — that curdle a certain kind of nostalgia, for places you may or may not have been, people you probably don’t know. People say that Superchunk, as a band, has gotten older with grace, and a listen to Mac’s words, and his style, proves that out. He wears his older words well, even as they sidle up to the new.

Mac (not to mention his co-owned label Merge) was a huge part of the success of this Record Store Day show at Chaz’s Bull City Records in Durham, NC. Serving as the leadoff for the three Merge bands on the bill, Mac drew in an instant crowd, many of them no-doubt hungry to hear tunes from his brand-new Merge release, Non-Believers. Indeed, we got three songs’ worth here, plus a mix of old and new Superchunk. But one of my biggest favorites was the lone Portastatic number, “Drill Me”, from the newly-reissued 2003 LP, The Summer of the Shark, a song that takes aim at existential doubt with some of Mac’s best lyrics yet. Just before tearing into “Digging For Something” to close out his set, Mac exhorted us to all to support our local record stores every day of the year. Over his own career, Mac has given us plenty of excuses to do so.

I recorded this set with a soundboard feed from NC engineer John Koelle, plus Schoeps MK4V cardiod microphones at the stage lip. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!

Direct download of the complete set: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the entire set:

Mac McCaughan
Chaz’s Bull City Records
Durham, NC USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: John Koelle) + Schoeps MK4V (stage lip)>KC5>CMC6>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects, EQ)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 31:04]
01 Lost Again
02 Hello Hawk [Superchunk]
03 Overflows [Superchunk]
04 Only Do
05 Box Batteries
06 Home at Dawn [Superchunk]
07 Drill Me [Portastatic]
08 Detroit Has A Skyline [Superchunk]
09 Digging For Something

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Mac McCaughan by visiting Merge Records and buying Non-Believers and his other releases there.

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

November 11, 2014

[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
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 )

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]

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.

MV & EE: September 5, 2014 Three Lobed / WXDU Day Show, Hopscotch Music Festival, King’s, Raleigh, NC (FLAC/MP3/Full Set Streaming)

October 7, 2014

"photo by PJ Sykes"
[photos by PJ Sykes]

MV & EE are an underground band in the purest sense, the kind of band who self-releases an LP after scads of others have come out on (admittedly obscure) labels and still presses tasty CD-Rs of their best-loved live sets. They exist on exactly that plane you might expect for a Vermont band, doing things their way, happy to earn the love the slow way, through swapped tapes and late-night listening sessions on porches and in basements. Their sound, a sort of far-out experimental folk, is homegrown and not easily replicated. Having seen the band twice this year already, I noticed now more than ever that no two MV & EE sets ever seem quite alike, and Matt Valentine and Erika Elder seem so in tune with one another that no song needs to hew to a single version, either.

This set at the  Three Lobed / WXDU Day Show at King’s during Hopscotch Music Festival was the only one by an outfit that had actually played a night-time festival set (the night before at The Hive), but that didn’t mean MV & EE were willing to dish out the same thing twice. In keeping with the vibe of this show, this set went to the more noisy end of the spectrum, especially on the delicious combo of “Roll On>Mayan Feedback” from this year’s self-released record Alpha Lyrae. Valentine and Elder have been on a bit of a roll lately tour-wise, so they may be off the road for a bit, but check back at their website for all the band’s latest info and releases, including their new seven-inch split with Woods with both bands performing Pink Floyd’s “Green is the Colour”.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones on stage coupled with a soundboard feed from the King’s staff. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!

Direct download of full set: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the full set:

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, and feel free to repost the Soundcloud links.

Three Lobed Recordings / WXDU Day Show
Raleigh, NC USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard + Schoeps MK4V (on stage pair)>KC5>CMC6>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects, EQ)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, fade, amplify, balance)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 [intro – Cory Rayborn and Matt Valentine]
02 Green Is the Colour [Pink Floyd]>
03 Jam>
04 Freedom and Unity Rap
05 [tuning]
06 Roll On>
07 Mayan Feedback

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT MV & EE, like them on Facebook and buy their latest record, Alpha Lyrae, directly from the band HERE.


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

September 19, 2014

[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
Rough Trade NYC
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
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 )

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.


Gross Ghost: September 6, 2013 Hopscotch Music Festival Main Stage (Raleigh, NC) – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

September 26, 2013

[Photo courtesy of Abby Nardo]

If you’ve been following our Hopscotch Music Festival posts, you could be forgiven for thinking the festival is geared heavily toward rather arty, possibly over-serious bands (since I happen to like them). Well, Gross Ghost are a more approachable kind of fun, bringing punk-inflected rock n’ roll to all comers. The band’s core duo are scene veterans Mike Dillon and Tre Acklen, who spawned the band name in the best way possible — that is, after partying hard late into the night a number of times. What a surprise, then, that Gross Ghost’s sound leans toward looser, rougher-hewn, garagey good-time music rather than the cerebral (also great) stuff hosted at some of the festival’s other stages.

The band had the honor of kicking off the main stage, the festival’s largest, and drew curious onlookers streaming into the City Plaza in the heart of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. One of the festival’s main missions is to highlight North Carolina acts (a fairly large percentage of the festival’s lineup), and Gross Ghost fall into that category. The Carrboro, NC band has been working on Public Housing, the follow-up to 2012’s Brer Rabbit, which should be hitting the streets at the end of October. Expect Public Housing to be their most musically focused and pop-driven yet, if the slew of new songs played here were any indication. From the show opener, which was the album’s kickoff track, Seeds” through the final number, the brand-new “Howlin'”, the Ghost showed off a knack for lyric-driven pop anthems that were the right way to start off the first weekend night of Hopscotch.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones and a mono soundboard feed. Given the relatively long distance from the stage and the outdoor setting in particular, the sound quality is quite good. Enjoy!

Stream “Howlin'”

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.

[Photo courtesy of Ash Crowe]

Gross Ghost
Hopscotch Music Festival Main Stage
Raleigh, NC USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack for

Schoeps MK4V (at SBD, DFC)>KC5>CMC6 + Soundboard (mono)>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down, set fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.03 (tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 [intro]
02 Seeds
03 Other Side
04 You Will
05 [tuning]
06 They Say
07 Leslie
08 You Tell Me
09 Trying
10 Memory Screen
11 [banter]
11 Howlin

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Gross Ghost, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and buy their music from their bandcamp page.

[Photo courtesy of Abby Nardo]

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