Hiss Golden Messenger – “Bad Debt”

On 28 February, 2011 by slowcoustic

Don’t even ask how I found out about this album.  I admit I wasn’t up to speed in knowing about it in the first place (and by the sounds of it, I should have been) and it has been quite a great find I have to say!

Without looking into the album too much, I started listening because I found a Soundcloud stream somewhere that was off of a forum thread, etc, etc, etc.  So let’s start there – this is the song that first caught me.

Balthazar’s Song – Hiss Golden Messenger by blackmaps

So it’s essentially a fully acoustic lament on life.  The lyrics are honest, the sound of guitar strumming is familiar, frontman Michael C. Taylor (or Jai ‘Slim’ Diamond as he often is known) sings with a voice that is restrained and just cracks a little under the melody.  Then I listened to the next track from the Black Maps release.

No Lord Is Free – Hiss Golden Messenger by blackmaps

At this point, I was pretty much sold on this lo-fi album and there was no turning back, so I picked it up on eMusic.  I mean songs that sound to be single track and come off this easy to listen to is something that just doesn’t happen that often.  In fact I do tend to obsess over an album I like and over listen immediately  (which is currently happening at this point) but it is holding strong.  The sounds are essentially folky-bluesy-lofi and of the sad bastard variety, so what’s not to like?  Some might be put off by the un-production (or production to sound like the album is not overly produced), but that is what makes it work – it’s scratchy, unpolished and sounds like real life.  You know Taylor created these songs, plays these songs and possibly even lives them.  I am in debt to “Bad Debt” you could say.

RIYL: Early Phosphorescent & Elephant Micah

Find more on Hiss Golden Messenger on Blackmaps, Facebook and website.
Purchase Bad Debt on iTunes, eMusic, Amazon & Picadilly Records.


2 Responses to “Hiss Golden Messenger – “Bad Debt””

  • Great stuff. I really liked Taylor’s earlier band The Court And Spark, and the first Hiss Golden Messenger release maybe a little less, but this stripped down approach is a wonderful regression…

  • RalHamilton

    Got to agree 100% with the sentiment here.
    I really kind of stumbled across this album quite by accident. I heard No Lord is Free on 6Music (radio in the UK), and then bought the album in a ‘why not?’ moment. I have since slipped ever deeper into it; and just CANNOT stop listening to it.
    It is so wonderfully pure and soulful.
    I wish the new one was equally lo fi and basic (thought I’ve only listened to it through just the once, so not enough to pass a rounded, informed comment).
    Bad Debt is just magnificent.

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