Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Premiere: To Celebrate 25 Years, NJ's Dromedary Records are Re-Releasing Their First-Ever Single.
Melting Hopefuls, "Gondola"
In a post over at the Dromedary Records website, label co-founder Al Crisafulli says,
"Most people we've met that started record labels did so to help promote a band, or to have a vehicle to put out their own bands' records. In our case, we wanted to have a record label. We didn't have a band. We just wanted to find bands we liked, and turn as many people on to them as possible. So we started Dromedary. There were three of us, we were 22 years old. We had no idea what we were doing.
At some point in late 1992, in Jim Santo's demo column for Alternative Press, we discovered our reason for living for the next year or so: Melting Hopefuls."
The song that gave Dromedary reason to live back then was "Gondola," the lead track from Melting Hopefuls' demo tape. Melting Hopefuls were built around singer / multi-instrumentalist Renee LoBue and drummer / producer Ray Ketchem. The band also featured bassist Sue Kresge, guitarist Max Siebel, and, later, guitarist Lorraine Turri.
"Melting Hopefuls were just the right blend of powerful noise and beautiful melody, propulsive rhythm and angelic vocals, right on our wavelength," writes Crisafulli. "Gondola" became the opening track to Dromedary's first release, the out-of-print compilation Nothing Smells Quite Like Elizabeth.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Dromedary Records and his longstanding partnership with LoBue, Ketchem has remixed and remastered "Gondola." Dromedary are making that new version of the track available for free, starting today, over at their Bandcamp page.
Dromedary would sign other bands, release more records. Al Crisafulli went on to start another label, The Sugarblast Music Company, and currently hosts the "Signal To Noise" radio program on WFDU. The show will be hosting several fundraisers for the station next month:
Feb 10 King Missile, Flower, and Charles Bissell (Wrens) at Rose Gold in Brooklyn
Feb 17 Stuyvesant, Lyons, Joy Cleaner at Pino's in Highland Park, NJ
Feb 23 Scupper, WV White, Kerbivore at Piano's, NYC
LoBue and Ketchem formed Elk City after Melting Hopefuls, producing four LPs between 2000 and 2010. In 2017, Elk City signed with venerable NJ label Bar/None. Their debut for that label is due sometime this year.
Reflecting on 25 years of the label and his 25-year relationship with Melting Hopefuls and with "Gondola," Crisafulli sums things up:
"We're celebrating 25 years of kinda putting out records for a handful of people, and our greatest success is this idea that I have in my head that somewhere out there, there's a person whose favorite song came out on Dromedary Records. If I were to lay odds on what song would most likely be the song, "Gondola" would be a good bet."
Happy anniversary, Dromedary!