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Studio Milwaukee Session: Hiss Golden Messenger

Jen Ellis

There are times during our Studio Milwaukee Sessions when everything sort of comes together and kicks the entire experience up a notch. Having a room of particularly enthusiastic Radio Milwaukee members on hand helps. Filling the stage with skilled musicians helps even more.

Both of those boxes were checked Thursday afternoon as Hiss Golden Messenger gave us a couple of magical moments ahead of their nighttime Turner Hall Ballroom show.

Playing a set populated entirely by selections from new album Jump for Joy, the band recreated the LP’s warmth and lightness throughout their performance at our Walker’s Point studios. There were two points in particular, though, when things coalesced just so and spurred the crowd to deliver one of the longer Studio Milwaukee ovations in recent memory.

In the bridge sections of “The Wondering” and “Nu-Grape,” frontman M.C. Taylor, guitarist Chris Boerner, bassist Alex Bingham, drummer Nick Falk and keyboardist Sam Fribush created a singular sound that hit the room just right. It backed up something Taylor said during his mid-set interview with 88Nine’s Marcus Doucette as he introduced his bandmates, explaining that as the various members fell into place, he told himself, “I’m not going to let these guys go if I can help it.”

The rest of the conversation ventured well outside band construction, covering everything from the pecan farm that doubled as the new album’s recording space to Taylor’s facial contortions on stage (“I’m definitely, like, in the Joe Cocker camp”).

You’ll have to imagine that visual while listening to the session using the player at the top of the page, although you do have the chance to see it for yourself when Hiss Golden Messenger plays Turner Hall tonight. You can also pick up the new album, Jump for Joy, on their Bandcamp page.

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Set list

  1. "Shinbone"
  2. "The Wondering"
  3. "Nu-Grape"
  4. "My Old Friends" (non-broadcast performance)