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Down With Wilco

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Album Review

Since its formation, the Minus 5 has been a supergroup of sorts, led by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows/R.E.M. sideman) and Peter Buck (R.E.M.). As the title would suggest, they are joined this time around by all four members of Wilco, the group responsible for the most talked-about recording of both 2001 and 2002 (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). Down with Wilco was to be released by a major label until it suffered the same fate as YHF, when it was suddenly shelved. Like that album, it deserved better and was eventually emancipated by the indie Yep Roc in 2003. While Down with Wilco doesn't match the quality of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (a difficult task, as this is one of the best releases of the early 21st century), it's unsurprising that they both have similar sounds, via the use of synthesizers, various percussion effects, and horns. The record is tighter as well — not as spatial as YHF. Wilco is effectively transformed into the Wrecking Crew by McCaughey and Buck, both huge fans of the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's technique of saturating the tape with music. In many ways, the disc updates experimental '60s pop, conjuring up the Beatles, the Byrds, Syd Barrett, as well as the aforementioned Beach Boys. "That's Not the Way It's Done" even emulates the synth-driven — and often misunderstood — Beach Boys 1977 release Love You. And then there's "The Old Plantation," which sounds tailor-made for early-'70s AM radio. McCaughey even draws upon old friend and colleague Paul Westerberg, romanticizing failure in "Dear Employer" and "Days of Wine and Booze." This collective has always represented the darker elements of McCaughey's personality, but the depression is kept in check here by Wilco's solid and often upbeat backing, thus playing a major role in the most enjoyable Minus 5 release yet.

Customer Reviews


good god why is this not 6x plat? you hear so many bands in them! very good ...

Now that's what I am talking about....

All I can say, it's about time!!! AWESOME!!

The name.

??? Well, let me just say it must be a pretty big band rivalry to make the name of the album.


Formed: 1993 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Minus 5 began life as a side project of the Young Fresh Fellows' Scott McCaughey, who formed the band in 1993. McCaughey designed the Minus 5 as a pop collective, and each record the group released featured a new lineup. Throughout these releases, he worked the most frequently with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, who was featured on the group's eponymous debut EP, which was only released through They Might Be Giants' mail-order record club, Hello Records. By the time they recorded their full-length debut...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by The Minus 5

Down With Wilco, The Minus 5
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