Search - Minus 5 :: Down With Wilco

Down With Wilco
Minus 5
Down With Wilco
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Down with Wilco, while a stellar album in its own right, also sounds like a creative counterpart to Wilco's warped and wonderful Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It makes sense, since all four current members of Wilco contribute, and...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Minus 5
Title: Down With Wilco
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Yep Roc Records
Release Date: 2/25/2003
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Style: Indie & Lo-Fi
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 634457205222

Down with Wilco, while a stellar album in its own right, also sounds like a creative counterpart to Wilco's warped and wonderful Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It makes sense, since all four current members of Wilco contribute, and Down with Wilco was recorded around the same time (and was met with the same resistance from the music industry) as Foxtrot. This one is tighter and more conventional, as songs like "Where Will You Go?" and "The Family Gardener" threaten to fly off into space but never actually do. Of course, it also features Scott McCaughey (of Young Fresh Fellows) and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, and the playful feel of past Minus 5 efforts such as Old Liquidator. The group's strange yet familiar cacophonies borrow the best parts of Beach Boys and Beatles. Credit Minus 5 with another lovely genre-bending collection. --Matthew Cooke

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CD Reviews

Could've Been Better, But Enjoy It For What It Is
Drew Macevenwick | IA | 06/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Like many others, I came to hear the Minus 5 mostly because I was a fan of Jeff Tweedy and Wilco. I read reviews referring to this album as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot's cousin. Naturally, I had to listen to it.

The funny thing is, even though I am a Wilco fan, I think this record could have potentially been better without them. I have found a new rock hero in Scott McCaughey (even though he's technically not a "new" musician at all) and have gone on to enjoy several other Minus 5 releases and plan to venture into the Young Fresh Fellows next. From what I'm heard, this is not the best Minus 5 album despite glowing reviews I've read to the contrary.

So what exactly is wrong with this album? Nothing, per say. As an individual record stands, it's pretty enjoyable and I don't think anyone (with taste) could flat-out hate it. However, I did enjoy several other Minus 5 releases more- notably, their most recent self-titled album (or the "Gun" album), and their collection of B-sides entitled, "At the Organ." I think, overall, the problem is that this album attempts to be Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but The Minus 5 isn't Wilco. This isn't to say they are better or worse than Wilco, but that they are different. They're better off going their own direction musically, rather than following Jeff Tweedy's lead. While their self-titled album is a pure 60's pop-styled sensation despite often gloomy lyrics, this album is just plain gloomy. Often times, it seems as though Scott McCaughey has set aside the fun in his music. And that's too bad because the guy has a great sense of humor and is at his best when he's in touch with his fun side.

But while the album may not rank as McCaughey's best work, it's still pretty good. "Days of Wine and Booze" is a mesmorizing listen. "Retrieval of You" is fun, but slightly subdued. "Where Will You Go?" is among the catchiest of the album, perhaps second only to "I'm Not Bitter" which ranks among the best songs I've heard by McCaughey.

I'm also a bit disappointed by a couple of notable omissions from the album. The version of "The Town that Lost It's Groove Supply" found on "At the Organ" is much rockier (and all around, better) than the one featured here. It seems as though this version was selected because it was a better fit for the overall mood of the album, but it's a shame because I assure you that a better version is out there. I also lament that they chose not to include, "Hotel Senator," which can also be found on "At the Organ." A vastly inferior version would eventually surface on their self-titled album, but I definitely prefer the version recorded during these sessions.

Overall, just don't expect Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2 or an album similar to the YFF's 80's output. This album is fine for what it is, but it suffers because people expect it to be something that it isn't.

A Modern Pop Classic
David Brown | Carbondale, IL | 11/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the first Minus 5 record that isn't "half good." The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy showed pop smarts via great arrangements, but it was a fatty cut of meat. Down With Wilco is full of sounds that have a purpose and a place in each song. Nothing here is superfluous. I'm sure this is largely the result of Scott McCaughey's decision to ennlist longtime friends (an ever-changing musical heroes) Wilco as the backing band. Jeff Tweedy's contributions to the record in particular are fantastic. "The Family Gardener," on which Tweedy sings lead, almost steals the show. Make no mistake though, this record is still Mccaughy's baby. Lyrically, the frontman has taken some massive strides. Neil Armstrong steps. Songs that were once in danger of lackluster verses about popsicle shops are now adorned with beautiful, enigmatic life lessons. That is not to say that there is any preaching going on here. "The Town that Lost its Groove Supply" is a stern warning to mankind to never forget the power and importance of gettin' down with it--some life lessons are just more pressing than others. The song choices and sequencing are flawless. There are no throwaways and there is no audible fear of musical elders. The record is a modern pop classic because it exands upon what pop greats like Brian Wilson accomplished, rather than standing in his shadow. Down With Wilco brings us hope that pop music still has somewhere left to go."
Two great bands combine to make a great album.
mattwsc | NY | 02/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wilco and The Minus 5 have really pulled it together to make a great album with "Down With Wilco". You won't be disappointed and will like every song on the record."