Monday, December 28, 2009

Magnapop “Open The Door”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

In my pre-mvyradio days, I hosted a Modern Rock specialty show on a great little independent radio station in Virginia.

I’d end each December with a big Friday night show, counting down the top Alternative songs of the year. And in that countdown, I had a few sub-categories and awards, including handing out what I called “The Magnapop Award.”

Music History is rife with stories of great bands that made great records, that no one heard, due to Record Label injustices. Some of my favorite artists are famous because of records that didn’t get released, or got released but didn’t get supported by the label. Big Star, Bettye Lavette, Delbert McClinton and Wilco all have stories to tell.

But I started the award after hearing about Magnapop.

They had enjoyed breakthrough success in the Modern Rock world in the mid-nineties, with the release of “Hot Boxing.” They had recording/producing support from Michael Stipe, and Bob Mould. They were opening for The Lemonheads and R.E.M.

The acclaim for their next record, “Rubbing Doesn’t Help,” was hugely positive, when they had the rug pulled out. Shortly after the release of the record, their label, Priority Records went out of business. With no label behind the record, it didn’t get distributed to stores properly (in the pre-MP3 age, if it wasn’t in your local record store, you couldn’t buy it), and it didn’t get proper support at radio.

But the real kick in the ass was this: due to the kind of contract only a Record Label could write, the band was contractually prevented from using the name Magnapop for 7 years.

Yes, the Label couldn’t provide for them, but wouldn’t let them provide for themselves.

Magnapop is still out there, making dynamic music, but it’s hard not to feel like the wind was taken out of their sails (and sales) at a crucial moment.

So every year, I would give “The Magnapop Award” to a band that had been screwed by their label, and deserved better. Go back and check out “Rubbing Doesn’t Help”

See the video, here

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