Minus 5

  • Minus 5
  • The Minus Five EP (Hello Recording Club) 1993 
  • Emperor of the Bathroom EP (East Side Digital) 1995 
  • Old Liquidator (East Side Digital) 1995 
  • The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy (Malt / Hollywood) 1997 
  • Down With Wilco (Yep Roc) 2003 
  • At the Organ EP (Yep Roc) 2004 
  • In Rock (Yep Roc) 2004 
  • The Trials Posthumous of the Minus 5 Containing the Epistle Dedicatory (Yep Roc) 2006 
  • The Minus 5 Vs. Young Fresh Fellows
  • Because We Hate You / Let the War Against Music Begin (Malt / Mammoth) 2001 

With the Young Fresh Fellows on hold in the early ’90s, Seattle singer-guitarist (and Trouser Press contributor) Scott McCaughey launched the Minus 5 with Peter Buck of R.E.M. (for whom McCaughey has been a concert sideman since 1995). The free-floating aggregation has variously involved members of NRBQ, Wilco, the Posies and Walkabouts (not to mention Fellows bassist Jim Sangster and, on the John Lennon tribute album, Mary Lou Lord, Lee Ranaldo and Dennis Diken). On the four-song subscription-only Hello Recording Club CD, McCaughey’s past lyrical irony blossoms into full-blown adult disillusionment, without the Fellows’ buoyant garage-pop sensibility to cushion the impact. The full-length Old Liquidator, which formalizes the 5 as a quartet with Buck and Posies Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer, continues his slump into self-flagellation. But this time McCaughey allows more whimsical music to buoy emotionally naked tunes like “Vulture,” “Worse” (co-written by the late Jimmy Silva) and “No More Glory” go down painlessly; in this context, an elegantly disheartened cover of Nick Lowe’s “Basing Street” is entirely appropriate. Emperor of the Bathroom follows the title track (Old Liquidator‘s only real pop-rocker) with another album cut (“Story”), a spare remake of “Vulture,” a jokey country weeper (“Heartache for Sale”) and McCaughey’s solo acoustic cover of the Fantastic Baggys’ “This Little Woody.”

[Scott Schinder]

See also: Young Fresh Fellows