Hallelujah Anyhow is the latest studio album from Hiss Golden Messenger, out September 22 worldwide on Merge Records. Its ten new songs, penned by HGM principal M.C. Taylor, were recorded with Brad Cook, Phil Cook, Chris Boerner, Josh Kaufman, Darren Jessee, Michael Lewis, and Scott Hirsch. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Tift Merritt, Skylar Gudasz, Tamisha Waden, Mac McCaughan, and John Paul White provided vocal harmonies.
I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They're the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That's the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I’ve never been afraid of the darkness; it’s just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.
Whatcha gonna do when the wall comes down?When the wall comes down?What you ought to do is let it lie-let it lieAnd in the gathering darkness vow to never go backIt was built by man and you can tear it downTear it down, tear it downStep back, Jack, from the darkness
I've seen darker things than night. Hallelujah anyhow.-M.C. Taylor, July 2017
Lateness of Dancers is the fifth full-length from Hiss Golden Messenger. It's an open, confident, immediate album, and it feels, at times, like a direct response to the darkness of M.C. Taylor's last record, 2013's Haw, or to the searching of 2010's Bad Debt, the stunning acoustic LP he made at his kitchen table shortly after the birth of his son.
Lateness of Dancers was recorded in a tin-roofed barn outside of Hillsborough, North Carolina, last fall and includes many of Taylor's longtime collaborators, like Phil and Brad Cook of Megafaun, the guitarist William Tyler, and his erstwhile recording partner Scott Hirsch.
It is a record about self-discovery and self-knowledge, and how impossible it is to outsmart yourself. Still, over and over, Taylor subverts that creeping darkness, turns it into something useful, defines it and defangs it and transforms it; Lateness of Dancers is, against all odds, an optimistic record.
It seems unlikely to me that there will be another record this year that does this work, or does it this well. Lateness of Dancers is a deliverance from the self, to the self. From Taylor to us.
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