Music Recommendation: Magnatone — “Drag City”


Music: “Drag City”

Album: IF IT AIN’T TASTY IT AIN’T MELTED​.​.​. THE MELTED RECORDS YEARS (1995​-​2001) (Free Bandcamp download) mixtape sampler

Artist: Magnatone

Record Company: Rum Bar Records

Record Company Location: Boston, Massachusetts


“Rum Bar Records is turning into one of the absolute best labels for real rock and roll these days, if you haven’t gotten hip to that trip. It’s the boss sound from the Boss-town.” – Bill Kelly, Bill Kelly’s Teenage Wasteland WFMU

“Disclaimer: Including all the snaps, crackles, skips, hisses & pops of your favorite worn out record and high school mixed tape. This is not a proper retrospective, or full compilation into the label’s releases, it is just a glimpse into the awesome world and music that came out of Melted Records with a hope that we will be able to present more to you down the line, enjoy.”

Band Pro Tip: When you choose a band name, make sure people can find your band on social  media, including YouTube. (Of course, in 1995-1998, this wasn’t a consideration.”

“There was a time when rock & roll didn’t have to be heady, groundbreaking or poetic–just fun. While most musicians seem to have forgotten those early primal impulses, Magnatone hasn’t. Stealing from everyone, the trio puts together a collection of catchy garage-pop songs that generally clock in under three minutes. Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tom Rosenthal not only shamelessly robs Graham Parker of his chord progressions (which Graham himself shamelessly swiped from his late ’50s/early ’60s influences), but somehow he also manages to steal his voice. Johnny O’Halloran’s revived Mersey-beat drumming and Jacques Wait’s melodic bass lines round out a sound that is raw, fast, and furious. No, Magnatone’s debut is not earth shattering, but it is, beyond a doubt, irresistible. –Bill Snyder”

Brewzerr wrote this two-paragraph review on Amazon:

“Well I know this review comes about 6 years [now 23 years] after this severely underrated band’s untimely breakup, but I’ll sleep better knowing I put my 2 cents in on this overlooked treasure. I saw these guys play in Austin, TX back in ’97 and we became fast friends. A few months later I went on the road with them up the I-35 corridor and I could write a book about how much fun we had on that short trip… but back to the album (that’s why you’re reading this, right?). This is hard-edged power pop perfection. Very few people these days even know what power pop is. The frequently made misjudgment is that it is the same as “pop punk”. The fact of the matter is that the two genres are VERY different. Power pop is a genre that emerged in the early 70’s with bands like the Raspberries, Big Star, and the Flamin’ Groovies… bands who coupled the 60’s pop stylings of the Beatles and the Byrds with 70’s angst and distortion to give it a harder edge. The genre reached a zenith in the late 70’s and early 80’s with bands like (early) Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Paul Collins’ Beat, The Knack, The Records, and The Plimsouls.

“So enough with the history lesson. Like I said, this album is a perfect modern example of this genre. It doesn’t come off as retro and it is definitely pop… but with balls. Every song on this short but sweet disc has all the best ingredients of power pop. Had this album been picked up by a more ambitious label I have no doubt in my mind that it would have spawned more than one number-one hit. Just listen to the amazing “Up in Flames” and tell me that shouldn’t have been tearing up the airwaves! It’s a damn shame these guys broke up way before their time. Oh well… the CD is still here so by all means buy it and hear what most of the world missed out on.”

Magnotone’s “Boys Say” is also on this album.

Formed: November 1995, Minneapolis, MN, United States

Disbanded: 1998

Members: Tom Rosenthal (vocals, guitar), Jacques Wait (bass, vocals), Johnny O’Halloran (drums)

Price: Name Your Own Price (Includes FREE) for 33-track album

Genre: Rock



Rum Bar Records

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