More Like Plus One Million

Scott McCaughey is unsung. He's in four major bands — R.E.M., the Young Fresh Fellows, Robyn Hitchcock's backing band the Venus 3, and the Minus 5 — plus a gang of semi-bands like K.M.R.I.A. (Kiss My Royal Irish Ass), a Pogues cover group that only plays on St. Patrick's Day and Christmas. Currently, he's on tour with three bands (one of which has written an entire album about baseball), all of which are made up of the same three other people. Our favorite of the three bands, since it's the only one we've heard, is the Minus 5. This particular McCaughey getup is a rangy, mercurial thing featuring a rotating cast of shockingly talented players (like, say, Wilco) but almost always containing Peter Buck. It sounds like the New Pornographers crashing into either the Replacements or the Flying Burrito Brothers, depending on the song; a new, not-baseball-themed record, Killingsworth, has pedal steel guitar on every track. "Your wedding day was so well planned," coos McCaughey, "like a German occupation." And yet he's not a household name.

Steve Wynn IV and the Baseball Project open.
Sun., Aug. 30, 8 p.m., 2009

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