In late 2010, Orange County quintet Mississippi Man called it quits, not long after releasing their debut album “A-OK.” In 2012, Luke Messimer, one of the band’s two frontmen, unveiled some music under the name Northern Youth, although the songs never quite saw a formal release.
Fast forward to this year, and Messimer, who’s been residing in Portland the past few years, has released a jaw-dropping, 32-song compilation titled “Ten Years,” which is available on a name-your-price basis on Bandcamp. “Ten Years” is comprised of songs Messimer wrote between 2005 and ’15 — more than 19 people played on these tracks, which were recorded in seven locales over his “Decade.” It’s a spectacularly uneven (sonically) display of spectacular songcraft, as Messimer lays down his folky tenor (think Mercury Rev) on guitar-, piano- and synth-driven tracks across many styles. Stashed away in his cupboard all these years were folk ballads, jagged guitar jams, twangy anthems and bombastic rockers — some recorded for his Northern Youth project, some just sitting there, waiting for the songwriter to let them, as he says, “find their way into the sunshine.”
The highlights are many, and fans of bands such as Neil Young, Band of Horses, Grandaddy, Delta Spirit, Deer Tick and Cold War Kids will find something to like. Says Messimer: “None of these songs have been edited, re-recorded, re-mastered, or messed with in any way since their origin. Some songs may be loud, some may be quiet, some may sound like they were recorded with the built-in mic on a Macbook on Garageband … That would be because they were.”
Try three songs on for size (the whole album is recommended), and if you’re in Portland, note that Messimer has begun playing shows again:
||| Stream: “Broken Minds,” “Sunshine” and “Los Angeles”
||| Also: Stream the whole album via Spotify