Often side-project bands don't live up to the hype of the artist or band's main gig. But for Stephin Merritt, this isn't the case with several of his non-Magnetic Fields bands. With The 6ths, he's taken on the challenge of writing the songs but handing them over to guest vocalists. On the 1995 debut Wasps' Nests, that means a wide array of contributors, including Lou Barlow from Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr., Mary Timony of Helium and Ex Hex, Dean Wareham of Galaxie 500 and Luna, Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo, Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, Mitch Easter of Let's Active, and more. The musical landscape shifts from song to song, one minute aping the motortik of Stereolab and next the harmony sunshine of Laurel Canyon in the 1970s. But it's all in Stephin Merritt's wheelhouse, utilizing an array of synth and keyboard sounds over minimalist rhythms that reveal layers upon repeated listens.