Friday, March 30, 2012

The Minus 5 - The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy

The Minus 5 is a supergroup, but not like any you've ever encountered before. The band is the brainchild of Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows) with Peter Buck (R.E.M.) as the other permanent member. The band is known for bringing in talent from all over the musical map and making it work. They did an entire album with Wilco (2003's Down With Wilco) and have also worked with Mike Clark (famous jazz drummer), Dennis Diken (Smithereens), Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), E (eels), Morgan Fisher (Mott the Hoople), Robyn Hitchcock (I don't need to explain him), Rami Jaffee (The Wallflowers and a half-dozen other awesome things), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Presidents of the United States of America, Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Sean O'Hagan (High Llamas), Paul Collins (The Beat. Also, he's a power pop god), Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Patti Smith (known for being awesome), Ken Stringfellow (The Posies), Wreckless Eric (don't know him, but awesome name), Jon Wurster (Superchunk), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), Pete Yorn, and about 20 other random musicians. So yeah, The Minus 5 has a lot of range. They're like The Travelling Wilburys of a new generation.

With all the lineup changes and constant collaboration, one would hardly expect The Minus 5 to sound as cohesive and awesome as they do. Also, with the title of this album specifically, one would expect super-mopey alternative country that can't stop crying about the dustbowl. What this album delivers is a mix of music that falls somewhere between Posies-esque power pop and Jayhawks-esque alt-country. When I first heard about The Minus 5, I expected a band that sounded like a side project (by which I mean a band that is not given the same care and attention as the artist's main band) but that's not what The Minus 5 are. They're a real thing. They're not some half-cocked half-baked idea. They're serious. Think Rocky when Apollo Creed goes to his corner and his trainer tells him "He doesn't know it's a show! He thinks it's a fight!"

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