Artist Biography by Richie Unterberger
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.