HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
A vehicle for singer/songwriter Michael Taylor (M.C. Taylor) and multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer Scott Hirsch, Hiss Golden Messenger's fusion of classic rock, folk-pop, and sparse blues in various guises has seen Taylor compared to the likes of lo-fi legends Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Bill Callahan. Born and raised in Southern California, Taylor was inspired to pick up the guitar by his musician father, who had previously played in the Settlers, a pop outfit that once opened for John Denver. His first musical outing was with Scott Hirsch in the hardcore punk band Ex-Ignota. But the influences of the Beatles, the Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield proved too strong to ignore. He began writing his own songs, and in his late teens he moved to San Francisco, where he fronted the country-rock outfit the Court and Spark, who released four critically acclaimed albums before disbanding in 2007.
After relocating to North Carolina, Taylor and Hirsch began to record material under the alias of Hiss Golden Messenger, but Taylor performed entirely solo with just an acoustic guitar for accompaniment when it came to playing live. Following the release of albums Country Hai East Cotton and the vinyl-only Root Work through their Heaven and Earth Magic Recording Company, they signed a deal with U.K. label Black Maps, which distributed Hiss Golden Messenger's international debut, the nine-track acoustic mini-album Bad Debt, in 2010.Their 2011 LP Poor Moon has been hailed as a masterful and moving country-soul statement on faith and family by Pitchfork, Uncut, Salon, and many others, leading to profiles of Taylor by NPR, The Oxford American, and Interview Magazine. In April of 2013 Paradise of Bachelors released HGM’s eagerly anticipated full-length follow up to Poor Moon, the remarkable, and darker, Haw which earned glowing reviews from the New York Times, MOJO, The Times of London, the Washington Post, and beyond, becoming one of the year’s most critically lauded recordings. 2014 saw a reissue of HGM’s fabled lost album Bad Debt, earning unanimous critical praise (including an 8.2 from Pitchfork).