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The 6ths

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The 6ths is a band featuring various artists and notable guest singers created by Stephin Merritt, also the prime mover behind The Magnetic Fields, The Gothic Archies and Future Bible Heroes.

The two albums released to date are Wasps’ Nests (1995) and Hyacinths and Thistles (1999). The names of both albums, and the name of the band, are deliberate tongue-twisters. The words are chosen for their abundance of s and th sounds. Sixths packs one th and three s sounds into one syllable.

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 songs which are then played and sung by other artists, different ones on each track. It has so far produced two well-received albums and many bizarre collaborations.

The other story (and the more accurate one) is that Merritt wrote the songs, mailed the singers rough demos, their vocals and additional tracks were returned via mail back to Merritt who the results took to his studio and polished them up as finished items. This at least rings true on the debut record, with the singers and composers never meeting in person. A few years later, the Postal Service would use this same tactic and even use the method as their namesake.

The list of singers on Wasps’ Nests reads like a veritable Who’s Who of mid 90s indie rock starpower, including Miho Hatori, Barbara Manning, Mary Timony, Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna), Lou Barlow, Robert Scott (The Bats, The Clean), Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo) and Mark Robinson.

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  • YanShlyakov

    How is "When I'm Out Of Town" not on the list? I love that song.

    26 Dec 2013 Reply
  • ParadesGoBy23

    It is a bit like that...

    17 Mar 2012 Reply
  • LiteraryBum

    made the mistake of thinking "oh, i'll just listen to one track off H&T" ten tracks later....

    2 Feb 2012 Reply
  • ProfondoRosso17

    YOU'VE TRIED SCIENCE, YOU'VE TRIED ART...

    8 Dec 2011 Reply
  • alejamand

    Sometimes I forget how much I love Hyacinths and Thistles.

    27 Aug 2011 Reply
  • karmified

    MARRY YOUNG, DIANAA

    18 Mar 2011 Reply
  • faignacia

    (U)

    2 Jan 2011 Reply
  • anabeldorothy

    oahu

    1 Jun 2010 Reply
  • picchionero

    hyacinths and thistles is soo esoteric in some way, one of the best album ever

    25 Apr 2010 Reply
  • xJake_Guitarx

    Nice I like this band pretty good :D

    9 Apr 2010 Reply
  • allisaaa

    if someone chainsawed stephin merritt (god forbid) his insides would be gold and green

    16 Mar 2010 Reply
  • chinneths

    goodies

    2 Feb 2010 Reply
  • _mute

    I've listened to alot of Stephin Merritt records over the years.. The 6th's - Wasp's Nest is the only work of his that I have never been able to put down. Classic record with the perfect guest vocalists.

    23 Dec 2009 Reply
  • aizsak

    if you want to compare a stephin merritt song, you compare it to every other song ever made that wasn't a stephin merritt song.

    16 Nov 2009 Reply
  • insomniacme

    nowhere near his best work

    11 Oct 2009 Reply
  • vmkqube

    Hyacinths and Thistles has annoying tags on it when played in Media Player, each track is a different artists combination instead of just "the 6ths".

    15 Jul 2009 Reply
  • evil_laugher

    I love "When I"m Out of Town", bb.

    28 Jun 2009 Reply
  • videowineparty

    does anyone know where i can download wasps nests?

    7 Jun 2009 Reply
  • indy-kid

    Why does no one like When I'm Out Of Town, it was great when I saw Magnetic Fields live.

    12 May 2009 Reply
  • magnilex

    "He didn't" is kind of a dream come true. A swett piano ballad by Stephin sung by my all time hero Bob Mould.

    30 Mar 2009 Reply
  • All 53 shouts

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