Sunday, June 29, 2014
KY102 Presents Homegrown Midwest's Best Music Taft Broadcasting 1980
KY 102 FM was a long standing AOR station in Kansas City. When I first moved to the KC area as a teenager, they were still functioning as a local station on the dial at 102. However, they fell victim to the hostile radio takeover, but did continue on under different call letters and new ownership. I think, after a few years, that station finally folded and ended up going top 40 or Country. Don't quote me on that, though, I don't pay a lot of attention to AOR radio.
When I moved to Kansas in the 90's the station was an odd mix of classic rock and newer music. They weren't close minded to newer stuff, but if it was new it was going to sit in well next to all the Boston and Rush. Piecing things together, it appears that back in the 80's the station may have been half-way cool. I've picked up on local album sleeves. The station is thanked on the first Rainmakers LP (Balls by Steve, Bob, & Rich), there's this LP, and a few other things I've seen referencing KY 102. So, it would seem back in the day, KY 102 supported the local rock scene. Can't imagine they were showing support for the Lawrence scene in those days, but I'm guessing the bar bands got a few spins at the station... and I bet they fucking LOVED Kansas.
Honestly, even with a nod from the Rainmakers, I've seen this album around town and never gave it much thought. However, a a good friend offered this up and all I had to do was find a copy of Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison, easily done and he sent a sealed copy of this. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been so pretentious about the comp. Looking it over, it's got the Secrets* who were featured on the hyper-obscure Kansas City power pop label, Titan!. Further, "Homegrown" comps were put out nationally, a few have some real gems (especially some of the ones from Hawaii). KC's version can't be much different. Below is a run down of everything the good and mostly bad.
Pedestrian - Ain't Got the Time - Some hard rockin' KC guys that use laser production effects in the recording. Sure the lasers are really synths, but pretty cheesy all the same.
The Secrets* - Uniform - This is the reason I got excited about this release, this a solid Titan! power pop band out of KC. Song isn't fast paced, they sent their wussy material to KY, obviously. It is a great little power pop tune with piano and bubbly AM sounds.
The Clocks - She Looks Lot Like You - Kansas City band full of confusion. Man, these guys don't know what they're shooting for. All sorts of crazy prog keyboard breaks with an 80's skinny-tie chorus and power pop aspects. It's kind of amusing, but just a bit too scatterbrained to be considered a gem.
The Moffet-Beers Band - It Could Be Raining - What a bunch of sappy crap. It'd be tolerable if it had some some twang, but this is just teenage roller-rink, sad-bastard music. The name of the song and the band say everything you need to know about this Lenexa band.
David Hale - Opus X - This Kansas City dude's song title sounds pretty sci-fi and he's credited for all instruments. It's got a killer drum intro, for sure. It tops it off with some prog guitar work over the top. From there, it doesn't go much further, TONS of guitar are added. It's instrumental with a break that takes a turn from the hard rocking prog feel to a jazz and blues feel. It really just ends up being a guy showing off and stalls there.
Rudy Passonno - Dead Boys - Outside of the Secrets* I had my hopes up for this...Not for any other of the reason but the name of the track. This Kansas City dude starts off all creepy, like a Halloween novelty song. Then it becomes kind of clear, the best case scenario for the song would actually be a novelty Halloween song. It's just gets goofy and the subject matter is an awful attempt at telling a story about child death and murder. It's friggin' weird.
Chaser - Anyone Will Do - This band is from Raytown, MO. They nail the bar band thing, just a rolling rhythm and hard driving guitars, a little twang for good measure. Nothing outstanding and the production is a little too slick for the sound the band is attempting.
US Steal - Crazy Things - Kansas City band and from looking at the band name and track, I just expected more standard MOR bar band stuff. A little harder edged than I expected. Bordering on metal. I imagine they toned things down for their KY 102 demo submission, but pretty similar to first wave pop-metal.
Fields - I'll Be Gone - This Parkville, MO band is trying to be blues-based rock band. Except, their keyboards go all prog and sound out of place, I think they're set them to the fiddle setting, too. Takes away from a song that's already pretty middle of the road.
Alchemy - Sparks - If your name is Alchemy and you're from Topeka, KS you better sound like the band Kansas' little cousin. The band certainly tries, they have two keyboardist and make an attempt at progressive rock. The theatrics are there, the singer is a little weak, but of all the tracks I've shit on throughout this review, this band showed the most promise even though it's nowhere near the level of Kansas, just had a sound that could have been explored further.