North Carolina folk Duo Hiss Golden Messenger released their Merge Records debut, Lateness of Dancers on September 9th. You can listen to it right here in its entirety via Spotify.
Vocalist and principal songwriter of Hiss Golden Messenger MC Taylor came to North Carolina in 2007 by way of San Francisco, where he was in hardcore band Ex-Ignota and in acclaimed alt-country act, The Court & Spark. However, with Hiss Golden Messenger he has completely accepted Southern music and folklore, and the amount of respect and passion he has for the subject and the area shines through on Lateness of Dancers. Taylor's vocals are warm and tender and filled with soul. The listener can feel his joy in songs like the opener "Lucia," a reworking of an old The Court & Spark song, when he sings "She was beautiful / and it was circumstance / watch the boat on the water learn to dance."
There's an authenticity in every song he sings, and every story he tells. Everything on this album is natural and smooth, he even uses an opening of crickets on the title track, which creates a peaceful atmosphere for the soft, soothing song, and feels like it's being played for you in the woods under the stars.
Instrumentally the record is full and beautiful. Taylor and his bandmate Scott Hirsch bring in Megafaun members Phil and Brad Cook on keyboards and bass respectively, guitarist William Tyler, and guest vocalist Alexandra Sauser-Monnig of Mountain Man. Alexandra's tender vocals work beautifully with Taylor's voice and they create some beautiful harmonies.
Songs like "Lucia" highlight wailing slide guitar, and there is a wonderful piano solo during "Day O Day (A Love So Free)." The instrumentation on this album highlights the vocals and storytelling and it feels like everyone playing has been playing together for years.
The album ends with a reworking of the song "Drum" from 2010's Bad Debt. In contrast to the sparse, delicate version on Bad Debt, this one is a celebration. It's added a jaunty violin and banjo, and a full choir. It's a perfect closing to an album that shows Taylor's dedication to folklore and truly honors Southern music traditions.
For the latest on Hiss Golden Messenger, including news, music, and upcoming tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page.