Category: Magnapop

Magnapop – Rubbing Doesn’t Help

ARTIST: Magnapop              Magnapop_-_Rubbing_Doesn't_Help

TITLE:  Rubbing Doesn’t Help

YEAR RELEASED: 1996

CHART ACTION: #22 Heatseekers

SINGLES: Open the Door, This Family

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hold You Down, Down on Me

LINEUP: Linda Hopper, Ruthie Morris, Shannon Mulvaney, Josh Freese

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Atlanta alternative rock band weathers a personnel change and records their best album, only to find their record company took a dirt nap on ‘em.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Magnapop lost their drummer right before recording this album, but pro’s pro Josh Freese stepped in and the band didn’t lose a step. Hopper’s vocals and Morris’ guitar work well together, and the songs are more varied this time.

“Open the Door” may be among the best cuts the band’s ever done, along with “An Apology”. Still, it only struck a chord with album buyers when a record store chain reduced the price of this for a week in an experiment. Their record company then went under, and with that any chance the band had for momentum.

The three albums released by the band in the 90’s were definitely an evolution, and they may have been onto great things had not they ran into contractual issues. These things happen.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title of the record comes from a slogan for Ben-Gay.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, extra cuts in Japan and a slightly different version for the Low Countries.

GRADE: A-: A move forward for the band, consolidating their sound and varying their attack.

Magnapop – Hot Boxing

ARTIST: Magnapop 220px-Magnapop_-_Hot_Boxing
TITLE: Hot Boxing
YEAR RELEASED: 1994
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Slowly, Slowly (#25 Modern Rock); Lay It Down
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Texas was a video
LINEUP: Linda Hopper, Ruthie Morris, Shannon Mulvaney, David McNair
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A much improved, much cleaner second album that allowed them to gain notice in the alternative rock world.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Magnapop was an improved band, with better songs and better production, thanks to Bob Mould, for this release. It now was hard to pin them down into a genre, since they definitely were alternative, but not that outre, and they had power pop elements but not the traditional jangle with layered harmonies. They were a good band that released a good album.

“Lay It Down” is the key track for me, with layered tangled guitars of Morris working well with some layered split vocals from Hopper and a rhythm section driving forward. “Here It Comes” is another killer track that showcases the economical guitars of Morris with Hopper’s understated vocals. Most of the songs are well worth it, though.

One drawback is that thanks to the 90’s being an era where you didn’t throw tracks away and cram everything on a disc, it seems a bit too long. A couple of songs could have been pruned off, not because they’re worse than the others but that the record just seems a bit too long at the end.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Europe, especially the festival crowd in Germany, France and the Low Countries gave them a lot of love and they broke through over there first before hitting the alternative charts in the US.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: One with an acoustic version of an old song and a B-side.

GRADE: B+: Good with some great tracks. I think it’s too long but I can’t pinpoint what tracks to get rid of.

Magnapop – Magnapop

ARTIST: Magnapop 220px-Magnapop_-_Magnapop
TITLE: Magnapop
YEAR RELEASED: 1992
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Merry
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: R.E.M. covered Favorite Writer on a B-side
LINEUP: Linda Hopper, David McNair, Ruthie Morris, Shannon Mulvaney
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Friends of Michael Stipe get a chance to record an album, and it’s not the best in the world, but good enough to get them another record.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Michael Stipe’s friend Linda Hopper had a band that was gigging around Athens, GA, and he produced the second side of this album. A year later the band got back into the studio to record five more (for the first side).

The muddy sound of the record makes it a bit of a slog to wade through, and some tracks are swallowed up by the sound. The overdubbed guitars Morris sometimes conflict with each other, and not in a good way. I also noticed that they may have reused some of the melodies for later songs (I have a sneaking suspicion “Chemical” was re-purposed.)

This is an OK debut, but Magnapop would do much better soon enough. Also, for the price of a full-length you get just nine songs in 24 minutes. Not very much value there in the CD era.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Hopper was in the group Oh-OK, with Linda Stipe (Michael’s sister) and Matthew Sweet.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: C+: A few cuts are keepers, the rest are rather flat and the production doesn’t help. It’s also too short for full price.