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Milwaukee Concert Pick: Hiss Golden Messenger at Turner Hall

A man wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat and lightly tinted sunglasses laughs broadly while seated in front of a tall bush out of focus behind him.
Graham Tolbert
Pabst Theater Group

Milwaukee’s concert scene has a lot going on, so we look at the shows coming up to find the ones you’ll look back on and be glad you went. Then we add them to our weekly Milwaukee Concert Picks.

Soulful North Carolina band Hiss Golden Messenger’s newest album for Merge Records, Jump For Joy, is full of homespun, old-school vibes, splitting its emotional weight between wistful and feel-good. Singer-songwriter M.C. Taylor simply calls it “a meditation on a life lived with art and the way that our hopes and dreams and decisions occasionally merge with real life.”

Taylor’s worn-in life has unwittingly granted him the knowledge that nothing is so permanent and serious, and that one should try to be more gentle with their own spirit.

On the single “Nu-Grape” that we have on the 88Nine playlist, Taylor sings a tribute to poet Mary Oliver “drinking Nu-Grape with a five-dollar bill,” realizing that he’s “just a nail in the house of the universe.” When he backs those realizations with folksy, groovy instrumentation, dancing among life’s trials doesn’t seem too out of place (and might even feel great).

That’s the nexus of Jump For Joy: a realization that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows; its weather patterns can change in an instant, perhaps when you least expect. Fans of old-school Nathaniel Rateliff, Phosphorescent, Big Red Machine and Phil Cook (with old-school hints of Grateful Dead) will find Hiss Golden Messenger truly makes every moment vibrate and sing on this latest record.

Find the band on our stage this Thursday for a Studio Milwaukee Session at noon before they head to Turner Hall Ballroom for a proper set that night, with doors at 7 p.m. and music starting at 8 p.m.

Bonus pick: Benefit for Palestine @ Cactus Club

This Thursday, Cactus Club and Milwaukee4Palestine will team up for a show supporting the Red Crescent Society, whose mission is to “alleviate human suffering, protect life and health, and uphold human dignity especially during armed conflicts and other emergencies.”

Headlining the night’s lineup is the anarcho-inspired peace punk outfit World in Action — a collection of musicians from other bands, such as Splatter Pattern, Indonesian Junk, Law/Less, Cougar Den, Gallery Night and Chinese Telephones. In addition, the event will feature the talents of nalami, Standstill and YMN. Doors for the benefit concert open at 6 p.m., with music starting at 7 p.m.

More shows worth a go

88Nine Music Director / On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee
88Nine Asst. Program Director / On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee