Hiss Golden Messenger

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Hiss Golden Messenger
Hiss Golden Messenger.jpg
Hiss Golden Messenger live in 2011
Background information
OriginNorth Carolina, U.S.
GenresIndie folk, blues, alternative country, Country rock
Years active2007 (2007)–present
LabelsParadise of Bachelors, Heaven & Earth Magic, Blackmaps, Merge
Associated actsEx-Ignota, The Court & Spark, Boxharp
MembersMC Taylor

Hiss Golden Messenger is an American folk music band, originating from Durham, North Carolina, led by MC Taylor.[1] After releasing his earlier material on his own label, Taylor signed with Merge Records in 2014. In 2016 he released the album Heart Like a Levee and embarked on an international tour.


Taylor was raised in Irvine, CA,[2] where his father had been a member of a local band, The Settlers.[3]

The band was formed by MC Taylor and Scott Hirsch in 2007, after their relocation in North Carolina. Both Taylor and Hirsch were the members of the hardcore punk band Ex-Ignota and San Francisco-based indie rock band The Court & Spark, whose dissolution led to the formation of the band.[4][5][6] The band's early recordings were released through Taylor's own recording label, "Heaven & Earth Magic Recording Company."[6]

The band's debut album, Country Hai East Cotton, was released in 2009 via Taylor's label in a limited edition of 500.[7] This was followed by their international debut album, Bad Debt, in 2010, released via Black Maps.[4][8] The band's third album, Poor Moon, was released in 2012 via North Carolina-based "Paradise of Bachelors", and received positive reviews.[5][9][10] The band's fourth album, Haw, was released on April 2, 2013.[11][12][13]

Hiss Golden Messenger performing live in December, 2018.

Hiss Golden Messenger was signed to Merge in April 2014 and released their fifth album and Merge label debut, Lateness of Dancers on September 9, 2014.[14][15]

Musical style[edit]

The band's music contains elements from various musical genres, such as folk, country, dub, country soul, rhythm and blues, bluegrass, jazz, funk, swamp pop, gospel, blues, and rock.[5][7][12][13] The band's style was also described as "alternative country" and "country rock."[7][13][16] The band's main influences include the Beatles, The Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield.[4] The band has been compared to Will Oldham and Bill Callahan.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Taylor lives in Durham with his wife and two children.[1]


Studio albums

  • Country Hai East Cotton (2008, Heaven & Earth Magic Recording Company)
  • Bad Debt (2010, Blackmaps)
  • Poor Moon (2011, Paradise of Bachelors)
  • Lord I Love the Rain (2012, Heaven and Earth Magic Recording Company)
  • Haw (2013, Paradise of Bachelors)
  • Lateness of Dancers (2014, Merge)[18]
  • Heart Like a Levee (2016, Merge)[19]
  • Vestapol (2016, Merge)
  • Hallelujah Anyhow (2017, Merge)[20]
  • Virgo Fool (2018, Merge)[21]
  • Terms of Surrender (2019, Merge)[22]


  • Glad (2013, self-released)
  • Southern Grammar (2015, Merge)
  • Lagniappe Sessions - Hiss Golden Messenger (2017, Aquarium Drunkard)

Live albums

  • 042207 - Live in Big Sur (2008, Heaven & Earth Recording Company)
  • Root Work - Live WFMU 2009 (2010, Heaven & Earth Recording Company)
  • Plowed: Live in Bovina (2011, Heaven & Earth Magic Recording Company)
  • London Exodus (2013, self-released)
  • Parker's Picks Vol. 1: Live at Parish, Austin, TX 10/18/2016 (2017, self-released)


  • "Hiss Golden Messenger Plays Elephant Micah Plays Hiss Golden Messenger ", split with Elephant Micah (2012, Paradise of Bachelors)
  • "Yankee Road"/"Shiloh Town", split with Moviola (2012, Pale Rider)
  • "Jesus Shot Me In The Head" (2012, Tompkins Square')
  • "Every Knee Shall Bow" (2013 on We Are Not For Sale: Songs of Protest by the NC Music Love Army via Redeye Distribution)
  • "Brother, Do You Know the Road?" (2014, Merge)
  • "Rock Holy" (2014, Merge from Or Thousands of Prizes, October)
  • "The Beast and Dragon, Adored" (2014, Merge cover of Spoon song from Or Thousands of Prizes Cover EP, Google Play exclusive digital single)
  • "Bad Debt" Live at Luna Records (2017, Luna Records)
  • "Standing in the Doorway" (2017, self released)


  • Jesus Christ (2011, Heaven & Earth Magic Recording Company)
  • Golden Gunn (2013, Three Lobed Records - Hiss Golden Messenger & Steve Gunn)
  • Paralleogram (2015, Three Lobed Records - Hiss Golden Messenger / Michael Chapman split)
  • "Brown-Eyed Women" written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter for the 2016 Grateful Dead compilation album Day of the Dead.


  1. ^ a b Richards, Chris (2014-09-08). "Complicated faith: Searching for God in the songs of Hiss Golden Messenger". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-11-08.
  2. ^ Mulvey, John (November 18, 2014). "An interview with Hiss Golden Messenger - Page 2 of 6 - Uncut". Uncut. Retrieved 2016-11-08.
  3. ^ Ess, Miss (June 12, 2009). "MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger Chats". Amoeblog. Retrieved 2016-11-08.
  4. ^ a b c O'Brien, Jon. "Hiss Golden Messenger". Allmusic. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Currin, Grayson (April 26, 2012). "Hiss Golden Messenger - Poor Moon". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Inman, Davis (March 20, 2013). "Dead Reckoning: A Q&A with Hiss Golden Messenger". American Songwriter. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Poet, J. "Hiss Golden Messenger - Country Hai East Cotton". Allmusic. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  8. ^ Monroe, Jazz (December 7, 2010). "Hiss Golden Messenger - Bad Debt". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  9. ^ Litowitz (May 18, 2012). "Album Review: Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  10. ^ Moses, Bob (April 19, 2012). "A Revelation: Hiss Golden Messenger's Poor Moon -- Interview and Tracks". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  11. ^ Orr, Dacey (January 18, 2013). "Song Premiere: Hiss Golden Messenger - Sufferer (Love My Conqueror)". Paste. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Deusner, Stephen M. (April 1, 2013). "Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Jurek, Thom. "Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw". Allmusic. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  14. ^ "Merge welcomes Hiss Golden Messenger". Mergerecords.com. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Hiss Golden Messenger announces Lateness of Dancers LP, out September 9". Mergerecords.com. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  16. ^ Kelly, Jennifer (March 26, 2013). "Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw". Dusted. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  17. ^ Lester, Paul (January 13, 2011). "Hiss Golden Messenger (No 945)". The Guardian. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  18. ^ "Hiss Golden Messenger - Lateness of Dancers". Mergerecords.com. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  19. ^ "Heart Like a Levee by Hiss Golden Messenger". Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  20. ^ "Hallelujah Anyhow by Hiss Golden Messenger". Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  21. ^ "Virgo Fool by Hiss Golden Messenger". Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  22. ^ Hale, Tyler (June 11, 2019). "Hiss Golden Messenger announces new album and releases single". KCRW. Retrieved June 11, 2019.

External links[edit]