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Down With Wilco

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Down With Wilco album cover
01
The Days Of Wine And Booze
Artist: The Minus Five
3:42
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02
Retrieval Of You
Artist: The Minus Five
3:51
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03
That's Not The Way That It's Done
Artist: The Minus Five
3:29
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04
The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply
Artist: The Minus Five
2:35
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05
Daggers Drawn
Artist: The Minus Five
2:47
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06
Where Will You Go?
Artist: The Minus Five
3:17
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07
Life Left Him There
Artist: The Minus Five
3:00
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08
The Family Gardener
Artist: The Minus Five
2:44
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09
The Old Plantation
Artist: The Minus Five
3:40
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10
What I Don't Believe
Artist: The Minus Five
2:29
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11
View From Below
Artist: The Minus Five
3:17
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12
I'm Not Bitter
Artist: The Minus Five
2:58
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13
Dear Employer (The Reason I Quit)
Artist: The Minus Five
4:13
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Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 13   Total Length: 42:02

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Wondering Sound

Review 71

Peter Blackstock

Contributor

Peter Blackstock was co-founder/co-editor of No Depression magazine from 1995-2008. He is co-author of SXSW Scrapbook (Essex Press, 2011), an informal history o...more »

09.23.11
The Minus 5, Down With Wilco
2004 | Label: Yep Roc Records / Redeye

Jeff Tweedy’s longtime friendship with Scott McCaughey, ringleader of the R.E.M. side-project the Minus 5, led to McCaughey’s recruitment of Wilco as the backing band for this 2003 disc. The ties run even deeper, actually; R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, McCaughey’s primary Minus 5 collaborator, produced an album for Tweedy’s former band, Uncle Tupelo, way back in 1992. Down With Wilco was a welcome low-key breather for Tweedy and company amid the pressures of following up… read more »

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They Say All Music Guide

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. – Bart Bealmear

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