Monthly Archives: March 2020

Hiss Golden Messenger Drops Live Album for Durham Public Schools Kids

“To give what I can.” Amen, sir. Grab the music at his Bandcamp page. HGM is a longtime BLURT hero par excellence.

By Fred Mills

North Carolina’s M.C. Taylor and his Hiss Golden Messenger collective have just surprise-released a live album, Forced Children: A Fundraiser for Durham Public Schools students. It’s a wonderful recording, intimate yet expansive and perfect for playing on the stereo loud and with the windows open since we’re all shut in anyway, and I will spare you any editorial blather and simply copy, below, the info at the Bandcamp page where you can order it. Suggested price for the digital release is $10 or more, and if you can kick in more than $10, please do. It’s for a great cause, and M.C. knows his shit.

From Bandcamp:

“When M.C. Taylor moved to North Carolina more than a dozen years ago now, Hiss Golden Messenger was his private enterprise, an outlet for the curious songs he composed quietly at his kitchen table in the country. But soon after Taylor and his budding family moved to a modest home nestled back from busy roads in the gentle Durham hills, he began building a network of local aces, all sympathetic to songs that documented his quest to be a better human being. Hiss Golden Messenger became and remain a community endeavor, an indelible part of North Carolina’s historic and contemporary musical fabric. The 15 songs of Forward, Children: A fundraiser for Durham Public Schools students are an instant illustration of that decade-long arc, a one-night snapshot of Hiss Golden Messenger’s metamorphosis from solitary songwriter fare to full-band jubilee.

“Just days into 2020, the quintet—well-rested from a holiday respite after a busy 2019 that included some 60 shows across the United States and the release of the gripping Terms of Surrender—loaded into their home region’s legendary hub, Cat’s Cradle, for a two-night stand. For nearly 90 minutes, they smoke, sorting through the greatest hits of the Hiss Golden Messenger songbook with the intuition of a band that accepts these tunes as gospel…

“The son of two teachers, Taylor taught for a spell at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, arguably the nation’s first public university, after finishing his graduate degree there, joining one of the country’s proudest educational lineages. His wife, Abby, is now an ESL instructor in Durham, and his children, Elijah and Ione, are in the fifth and first grades there, respectively. In mid-March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Durham Public Schools closed like most others nationwide, at least through mid-May. The necessary move means that many children throughout the school system don’t know where they’ll get their next meal, a profound failure of our social safety network but a profound opportunity for our collective help. All profits from Forward, Children will benefit the Durham Public Schools Foundation. “It’s my duty as a dad of students and the spouse of a teacher,” Taylor says, “to give what I can.”

Track Premiere: Datura4 “Mother Medusa”

Key track from the Aussie combo’s upcoming album West Coast Highway Cosmic. Also see link below for exclusive interview with frontman Dom Mariani, pictured above (photo courtesy Alive Naturalsound).

BY JOHN B. MOORE

You know how to keep your sanity during a forced global shutdown that has us all living like hermits behind closed doors? Still waiting for the CDC and the World Health Organization to sign off on this one, but pretty certain it involves listening to the song “Mother Medusa” by Australia’s Datura4 an repeat, with the volume turned up to an obscene level.

With the album, not out until April 17th, BLURT is able to hook ya up thanks to this exclusive song premiere.

You can also check out a recent interview that fellow BLURT-er Michael Toland conducted with Datura4 singer/guitarist Dom Mariani, long a fave of the staff here through his many musical incarnations, from the Stems to the DM3 to Majestic Kelp and, of course, his latest powerhouse outfit.

“The title actually came from Warren our drummer who used it to describe an over-zealous partner of a mutual friend,” says Mariani, of the tune.  “I liked the imagery of the ‘Mother Medusa’ and it set the scene for the inspiration behind the song. We here at D4 headquarters dig the heavy sounds, so to complement the lyrics the riffs had to be hard and heavy and the drums pounding like Cozy Powell on steroids.” (Below photo by Ben Taylor-Vivian)

The album, West Coast Highway Cosmic is coming out on limited-edition splatter colored vinyl, CD and digital/streaming formats via Alive Naturalsound Records.

Read our extensive past coverage of both Datura4 and Dom Mariani by simply entering his name into the search box on the homepage.