Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw - 2013 [FLAC] Verified

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ΓÇ£I come from the bottom of the river Haw,ΓÇ¥ sings M. C. Taylor in ΓÇ£Sweet as John Hurt.ΓÇ¥ Taylor was once of the hardcore punk band Ex-Ignota, later did time with SFΓÇÖs twangy Court and Spark and now is comfortably ensconced in North CarolinaΓÇÖs alternative folk/country/blues environs, inviting locals like William Tyler, Phil Johnson from Megafaun, Nathan Bowles of the Black Twig Pickers and at least one member of the Bowerbirds in for this second full-length as Hiss Golden Messenger. Taylor and his long-time musical collaborator Scott Hirsch (also of Ex-Ignota, also of Court and Spark) have settled into a low-key but muscular country groove, spinning out shimmering mirages of wah-wahed overtones, blues-bent meditations on god and man, and light-footed country rambles.

Hiss Golden MessengerΓÇÖs first album Poor Moon came out originally in November 2011 on the Paradise of Bachelors label in a limited run and was later picked up and reissued by Tompkins Square. The connection with Tompkins led to a spot on the Oh Michael! Chapman covers album. Hiss Golden MessengerΓÇÖs ΓÇ£FennarioΓÇ¥ was one of the few on the disc to capture ChapmanΓÇÖs rough masculine energy, the ragged wear and tear that makes his lines so memorable. Haw is, likewise, bristly, indelicate, often beautiful but never precious. It bursts with life.

Haw borrows freely from a bunch of rural musical genres, sticking generally to folk-ish acoustic blues, but dipping also into slinky, Stax-style R&B, bluegrass and Neil Young-esque country rock. ΓÇ£Red Rose NantahalaΓÇ¥ -- with its fat glistening bass line, its twitchy upbeats, its chinking, swishing cymbal beat -- has the same hypnotic sway as reggae, though filtered through a blues-ish scrim. ΓÇ£All the creatures with their folk guitars wonΓÇÖt let me be the one I want,ΓÇ¥ sings Taylor, against a back-slanting, heel-rocking beat, bent notes and pull-offs morphing into strange mirage-like shapes. HeΓÇÖs genuine and authentic without being, in any sense, a purist.

One of TaylorΓÇÖs best assets is his voice, its surface pocked and criss-crossed with fissures and abrasions. If he were an instrument, heΓÇÖd be a saxophone, blowing out the notes in long, variegated improvisations, the tones blurring with breath at their edges. As it is, he favors tone and emotional content over lyrical clarity, stretching vowels and obliterating consonants as he slurs and flutters toward the end of lines. Occasionally, he is joined by Sonia Turner at the chorus, and the weightless loveliness of her voice buoys him up into the ether.

ΓÇ£DevotionΓÇ¥ is the albumΓÇÖs best, a slow country ballad where Terry LonerganΓÇÖs drums are tuned so loose you can hear the drum skin flapping against the sides. Guitar tones, too, are loosened almost to dissolution, spreading out in tremoloΓÇÖd vibration like oil on water. The song is laid-back and ruminative with lots of room between the notes, as much unsaid as stated in the lyrics. When a violin swoops in mid-cut, itΓÇÖs a tipsy, ghostly kind of sound, apparently solid but giving way like spider-web at the intervals.

Elsewhere, on ΓÇ£IΓÇÖve Got a Name for the Newborn ChildΓÇ¥ and ΓÇ£The Serpent is Kind (Compared to Man),ΓÇ¥ the band dips further into country, a breezy insouciance in the picking, a burned in world-weariness in the voice. ThereΓÇÖs a nod to the bluesman, not the actor in ΓÇ£Sweet as John HurtΓÇ¥ and a giddy homage to string bands in the brief, instrumental ΓÇ£Hark Maker (Glory Rag).ΓÇ¥

Yet, whether Hiss Golden Messenger is whooping it up country style or slinking and slithering in a late-night approximation of Stax-ish soul, thereΓÇÖs a directness in its attack. These songs donΓÇÖt refer to certain styles of music, they embody them, contradict them, warp them and, in the process, breathe life into them. If thatΓÇÖs what scares all those people with their folk guitars, IΓÇÖd say bring it on.		
Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw - 2013 [FLAC]/01 Hiss Golden Messenger - Red Rose Nantahala.flac 28.642 MB
Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw - 2013 [FLAC]/02 Hiss Golden Messenger - Sufferer (Love My Conqueror).flac 32.571 MB
Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw - 2013 [FLAC]/03 Hiss Golden Messenger - I've Got a Name for the Newborn Child.flac 19.991 MB
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