File photo by Jeremy M. Lange
"Mac, is that you?"
If there’s one thing that Merge Records have made increasingly clear these past few years, it’s this: They really love North Carolina.
Hot on the heels of announcing a single from another group of scrappy Triangle garage-punks Flesh Wounds
—this time, Merge has signed Hiss Golden Messenger, the wonderful folk-rock project of Durham’s Mike Taylor. A press release indicates that the band will release a new album on Merge in the very near future, though there is no mention of a title or an exact release date.
“I've been buying Merge records for about half of my time on Earth, so I am very stoked and deeply gratified to be joining their esteemed ranks,” Taylor offered in the press release.
For the past three years, Taylor has rolled with Chapel Hill’s Paradise of Bachelors
releasing two full-length records and a reworking of his Bad Debt
, helping the once reissue-only imprint emerge as one of the preeminent curators of outsider Southern music. But as well as Hiss Golden Messenger fit on that imprint, they will be equally well positioned on Merge.
The music Taylor makes with help from longtime collaborator Scott Hirsch and others slides from stark old-time to humid psychedelics, from foreboding string swells to bouts of unrepentant choogle. Paired with Taylor’s ever enthralling spiritual quandaries, it’s a sound that will sit well beside bands like Mount Moriah (with whom Taylor has collaborated a few times now) and Lambchop, expanding the folk-leaning end of Merge’s roster and affording Hiss Golden Messenger the chance to reach a larger audience.
It is, by all appearances, a pretty perfect fit.