Homegrown album project (local music compilations from the 70s and 80s)

I was at a show at Square Cat Vinyl a couple of weekends ago, and while I was there, I noticed a record in the used section: “Coca Cola Q95 Album Project III”.

I do a fair bit of poking around in local music history, but I’d not come across this one before. Not that I get too far into the 70s and early 80s; I just have no frame of reference beyond bits and pieces that I remember Charlie Hoovler or Steve the bartender telling me about music history around Lafayette.

It looks like this was somehow sponsored by Q95 (Indianapolis radio station WFBQ) and released by Karma records, a now almost defunct record store / headshop chain that most folks my age think of as the place you had to go to buy Ticketmaster concert tickets in the 90’s. The content was all Indiana bands. I started searching on this LP title a bit and initially wasn’t finding much until I googled just “album project”. Looks like there were 3 of them. Here are links to their Discogs pages:
WFBQ 95 Karma Homegrown Album Project I
WFBQ 95 Karma Album Project II
Coca-Cola Q95 Album Project III

Every once in a while I have some luck finding ancient things like this on youtube, so I rolled the dice and found that someone had uploaded video from the award ceremony for the first homegrown album project. Pretty wild that video from that time somehow survived. I’m not gonna lie, this one is a real snoozer. Here’s the link if you want to check it out: WFBQ Q95 Homegrown Album I Award Ceremony

The same user had uploaded a real gem with a performance video from the second album. Most of the material feels dated, but there are a couple of songs on there that I think are worth a listen. Here are direct links if you don’t want to go through the whole thing:

The Edge – Fine Line – These guys seem like the early 80’s version of some band that I’d be friends with. It’s guitar driven power pop backed by Hammond organ and touches of synth with big vocal harmony choruses and some nice guitar leads. I think I see an Orange head in the background there. One guy in a satin jacket, one in a Beatles suit(?) another in a T-shirt. lol.

Lifer – She Clown – This starts off and you see a guy in bell bottoms with a weird hat and think it’s going to be pretty bad.. But then they launch into a really tasty lead harmony with great guitar tones. I feel like this could be on the sound track for Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. The vocal harmonies are probably the best of any of the bands in this video, and overall, the composition of the song is just really good. Tasteful.

Anyway.. The more I looked on Discogs, the more of these local compilation records I found. WEBN in Cincinnati did 10 of them from ’76 to ’87, maybe making them the originator of the idea? 93QFM in Milwaukee did 3 records from ’80 to ’88, the last one sponsored by Pabst. WSTW out of Delaware did one in ’81. KEZX did one in ’83. At this point, this is kind of an internet black hole.. The label that put out WSTWs record, Pacer, has a discography with several more of these all over the place.

I guess no real point here, other than the fact that this is kind of interesting. I suppose it never really occurred to me that there were this many of this level of band – “local” stuff – in the late 70s and 80s. While I remember my high school friend Jason telling me that his Dad’s band (two synth players and a drummer!) got played on Q95, I didn’t know how common that was. I figured that either you were working hard enough to have a shot at “making it”, or you were a punk rock band. Dumb assumption on my part, but I guess you just don’t hear about bands like these.

Also along these lines this makes me have a better appreciation for the “Star Tracks” local CD that Dave Lindquist put together 18 years ago as a time capsule of what was going on. I kind of hesitate linking to the weak review of it that I did, but I literally can’t find anything else about this comp on the ‘net.

Star Tracks CD cover

But while I’m at it.. Just digging for the Star Tracks review, I bumped into a couple of other compilations.. (Remember the Patio Battle of the bands? Check out young Rob G and Matt Chandler on the AirCheck comp.) and just recently I was reminded of both the IMN “Indy MP3 CD” and all of the IMN showcase CDs. Might be worth a listen back.

4 thoughts on “Homegrown album project (local music compilations from the 70s and 80s)

  1. I came across your blog post after spending a morning looking at the few local music compilations I have in my collection. I guess there to this comment other than I also thought it was interesting that this kind of collections exist. I wonder what something like this would look like now? I love Spotify but I don’t think it would feel the same as a full local project. Anyhow thanks for the post

    • Thanks for writing!

      I think you pose an interesting question. In the 2000’s, some of the collections I mentioned went a couple of different ways. The “Star Tracks” CD was the same old format as the records. I never talked to Dave about it’s success, but I think the fact that he didn’t get to do a second edition was maybe telling. On the other hand, looking towards the future, the Indy MP3 CD was all mp3’s which allowed it to have around 200 tracks. I am curious how successful it was as well. I always felt like it was more of a really fancy business card than a great tool for exploring the music.

      I am a part of a non-profit called Musical Family Tree (MFT) that hosts a user submitted collection of local music from Indiana, which is maybe another step in this continuum. As a user, navigating it all can be kind of tough though, and I feel like in general it’s about 10 years behind the times as a platform. We also do local radio shows that are in line with this idea, and they are streamable after the fact, but I don’t know if that really has the impact of putting out a record.

      I think spotify would make sense. (at least halfway.. there are a lot of people who don’t use it based on the ethics of who gets paid and how) I think the deal breaker is that each artist has to be on spotify, which while a lot more trivial than it’s been in the past, is still $ and work.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I was looking for a copy of the Album Project II and came across your blog. Was surprised to see the video. I am the satin jacket guy in the Edge. Obviously wardrobe was an afterthought for that gig!
    Radio station compilation albums were a great way to get your music heard in the 70s/early 80s.

    • Hey Dan – thanks for commenting! Glad you found the video; I still think it’s wild that it survived all these years and someone digitized it. I know I have a VHS of my band playing our highschool talent show in the 90’s that I’d love to digitize if it even works anymore, but I don’t know which box it’s in even if I had time to do it. haha. Anyway, if there’s any other info about your band from back then online, feel free to comment and link to it here. I’d love to see it and this particular post gets a fair amount of hits, so I think other folks would too.

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