HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER is Durham, North Carolina-based songwriter M.C. TAYLOR. 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 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. ALEXANDRA SAUSER-MONNIG of MOUNTAIN MAN contributes backing vocals; her tender, wooly voice both complements and challenges Taylor’s. The record takes its name from a Eudora Welty story, which is noteworthy not because of its origins—although there are hints of Welty in Taylor’s work, and not just Welty but Flannery O’Connor and Faulkner and Barry Hannah and Larry Brown and the whole pantheon of brutal and exquisite southern writers—but because Taylor is the type of person who recognizes the beauty in a phrase like that. It is a record about self-discovery and self-knowledge, and how impossible it is to outsmart yourself. I don’t know how you learn a lesson like that, except the hard way.