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Group Members: Stephin Merritt
All Music Guide:
The 6ths are a side project of the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, who produced and wrote all of the material on 1995's Wasps' Nest, as well as playing much of the music. He only sang one of the tracks, however, giving all of the remaining lead vocal slots to alternative rock faves like Barbara Manning, Dean Wareham (Luna), Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo), Chris Knox, Lou Barlow, Robert Scott (the Bats), Chris Knox, and Mary Timony (Helium). Brighter and poppier than his contemporaneous efforts with Magnetic Fields, it demonstrated (intentionally or inadvertently) that his principal talents are as a producer and composer, rather than a performer. Hot on the heels of the well-received Magnetic Fields project 69 Love Songs, Merritt released his second 6ths album, Hyacinths and Thistles, with vocal help from Marc Almond, Bob Mould, Gary Numan, and Sarah Cracknell, among others.
The 6ths is a band created by Stephin Merritt, also the prime mover behind The Magnetic Fields, The Gothic Archies and Future Bible Heroes.
One story has it that the band was conceived when Merritt, observing that there was no tribute album dedicated to him, decided to make one himself. The concept is that Merritt writes and plays songs which are then sung by other artists - a different artist on each track. It has so far produced two well-received albums and many different collaborations.
Albums and single 
The two albums released to date are Wasps' Nests (1995) and Hyacinths and Thistles (1999/2000). as well as a 7" vinyl single for Heaven in a Black Leather Jacket (1993) (from the Wasps' Nests' LP) that contains a B-Side, Rot in the Sun, a humorous take on Los Angeles, sung by Merritt himself.
The names of both albums, and the name of the band, are deliberate tongue-twisters. The words are chosen for their abundance of and th sounds. Sixths packs one th and three sounds into one syllable. The band's website refers to the 6ths as "every lisper's nightmare".
The list of singers on Wasps' Nests includes many notable mid-90s indie-rockers, including Barbara Manning, Mary Timony, Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean & Britta), Lou Barlow, Chris Knox (Tall Dwarfs), Robert Scott (The Bats, The Clean), and Mark Robinson.
Some of the more notable artists appearing on Hyacinths and Thistles are Bob Mould, Sally Timms (The Mekons), Sarah Cracknell (Saint Etienne), Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), Gary Numan, Marc Almond, Momus, Clare Grogan (Altered Images), Melanie, Miss Lily Banquette (Combustible Edison), Katharine Whalen (Squirrel Nut Zippers) and the accomplished toy piano player Margaret Leng Tan. The album also features an improbable duet of singer Odetta accompanied by Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler on accordion.
One of their songs, "Falling out of Love with You," was featured on the popular 90's children's show The Adventures of Pete and Pete.