Redline & KJHK Present Fresh Sounds From Middle America #3 Fresh Sounds 1986 CAT #FS 213
Been on the hunt for this for a long time and glad to finally have it. Used to dig this one out at KJHK all the time and play the Miconotz, the Todd Newman tracks, or whatever looked interesting. The station copy is beat to crap and splattered with a review on how awesome it is. I think the review urges the DJs to "Play it All!"
The Fresh Sounds From Middle America started on tape with the Fresh Sounds label. This edition, #3, is a combined the effort of the label Fresh Sounds with Redline Productions who were putting on shows in the area and the famed college station, KJHK. It's pretty obscure now-a-days, sure plenty of copies have been destroyed and most the people that retained their copies probably aren't willing to sell it as they were in the bands, friends with the bands, or part of the staff at KJHK or members of the Redline Production team. It does an excellent job of encapsulating the fertile underground scene in Lawrence, KS at the time.
The first side is a bit of a mix, pop and alternative. The flip side is almost exclusively punk. Highlights of the album are listed below, but everything on here is pretty solid considering:
Von Burlows – Summer Song – Lawrence based band. Riot on the Plaza was into the song and wishes there was more out there from them, I’m kinda like, meh, girl singer is cool and all, but nothing amazing.
Homestead Grays – Rev. Cross – Lawrence, KS, based. Chuck Mead doing country tinged power pop, great track, worth the price of admission on this comp.
Yardapes – Superstitious – Kansas City is listed as the address, thought they were a Lawernce band, nevertheless, I like the little I’ve heard of this band. This song is no exception, on a new wave tip, but not the pop-spectrum, this band should’ve have been college radio hit makers.
Lions And Dogs – “Be My Sunshine” – This is Lawrence, KS’ famed Todd Newman, who flirted with the major labels but never was able to secure a deal. He ended up cutting some great, obscure, pop music throughout the 80’s and 90’s. This tune is a great, gut-wrenching bit of power pop. He’s on the level with the Replacements’ best material, you could only mistake this tune for a sloppy version of a Replacements ballad.
Thumbs – Jericho – Talked about the Thumbs on the blog before, just kind of mentioning them on this comp as well…pretty, lame track.
Hundreds And Thousands – Girl in Little Rock – Another Todd Newman outlet. Not sure if this was just kind of a throw away, silly country outing. But, underneath all the country hodown, there’s a great song buried here.
Bum Kon – Steam Engine #9 – Listed in Denver, CO and falling somewhere between hardcore punk and thrash, interesting tune and band, just apparently not all that local.
Near Death Experience – Dolphin Torture – Lawerence, KS punk band doing a Dead Kennedys type thing without all the impossible political agendas. Just a goofy anit-Dolphin torture song, I guess.
Micronotz – Gimme Some Skin – It’s a decent cover of the Stooges classic. Not sure it was necessary, but for a comp, not a bad outing. There are better examples of the band for sure, though.
Pedal Jets – Hide and Go Seek – I haven’t talked about the Pedal Jets on this blog, yet. I really should, they’re a great band that was Zine famous back in the day and still making music today. The song here rivals the best tracks found on the album. Somewhere between Husker Du and English New Wave bands is the Pedal Jets. Really great, roughed up pop song, great listen, a true nugget.
Again, it's a great comp and it still means a lot to people who were apart of the Lawrence scene in the 80s, which makes it tough to find. However, if you come across it, don't walk away without trying to buy it. Great time capsule to own.