nothing smells quite like the re-release.

When we re-released Elizabeth we tried to concentrate on Europe a little more, and wound up picking up Semaphore as another distributor.  I don’t remember much about that company, other than knowing that they distributed records in Europe.  They wound up taking some copies of everything in our catalog.

I also decided that with our “Allnighter” 7″ soon to be serviced to 1500 radio stations and music reviewers, it would make sense for me to spend the money and send out some promos directly to record stores.  I scoured the reporting lists in CMJ to see which record stores were doing the most indie music, and put together a letter that introduced Dromedary to them, established how to get our records, and talked a little about some of the bands we worked with and titles on our label.  Because we were almost out of the first pressing of cuppa joe records, I decided to focus only on Footstone and Melting Hopefuls.  The letter read like this:

Hi,

Al here, from Dromedary Records, sending you a copy of our latest wholesale catalog.  If you’re not familiar with us, we’ve been putting out records for about a year and a half now, and are primarily distributed by Dutch East, Surefire, Performance, and Semaphore, although we do deal direct.

You’re holding in your hand two of our latest releases, Footstone‘s Wobbles From Side To Side 7″ and Melting Hopefuls‘ “Pulling An Allnighter On Myself” 7″.  Both bands are generating quite a bit of interest, and have a lot of fun things planned for the next few months.

The buzz surrounding Melting Hopefuls is pretty intense right now, as a result of some great press in SPIN.  The band recently signed a contract with a new indie called (indie’s name here), and have a full length CD planned for the summer.  As a prelude to the CD, the “Allnighter” 7″ will be reserviced to 600 college radio stations (and marketed by [radio promo company’s name here]) and over 1000 music magazines across the country.  Dromedary, (radio promo company), and (new label) will be working together to make sure this record is exposed to as many people as possible.

Footstone‘s debut 7″ is equally exciting, because of their upcoming East Coast tour.  The band will be hitting as many stops from North Carolina to Maine as possible, while concentrating on Baltimore, D.C., Philadelphia, Trenton, New York, New Haven, Providence, and Boston.  In addition, the band will be shooting a video for “Mountain Man” that will be serviced to key independent video programs across the country.

Anyway, I’m sending these records out in hopes you’ll listen to them, like them, and possibly place an order.  Feel free to call me if you’d like to work with us directly – we can help with small display items, working with local press and radio to get our bands exposure in your area, possible even setting up in-store shows, if you do that sort of thing.  I feel really strongly that I don’t want to be another sniveling indie label guy, calling you all the time and making your job a hassle – I’d much rather work with you to try and get these bands some exposure. 

Thanks, and I hope to talk to you soon,

Al

The package resulted in a few stores ordering a few titles direct, and it also resulted in another cuppa joe reorder, meaning we were completely out of busy work.  I knew that a few distributors had copies still in their inventory, but I had learned the hard way that if I sent out an invoice, I was getting the account closed – so instead, I decided to extend my consignments with Dutch East, and re-press a few hundred more copies of the CD.

I believe I made 250 copies, and did them on black vinyl as a way of differentiating the first and second pressing.  I had some hand-colored sleeves left, so we used them and when we ran out, we colored some more.

So, in addition to being the first title that was reordered by a distributor, busy work was also the first title we had to re-press.  

We were also beginning to get some mailorder business – maybe two or three orders a week.  Sometimes the order was for one title, sometimes it was for everything in the catalog, and once in a while it was for some other label’s stuff.  We tried to pay the other labels right away rather than hold their money; it really wasn’t enough money to worry about.

Letters were starting to come in from Europe at a fairly regular pace as well.  That was always fun to see.  And we started a few little “pen pal” types of relationships with different people from Europe who found out about us through a zine, or an ad, or through airplay.

In addition to their wholesale business, Surefire also decided to branch out into the mailorder catalog business, and put together a really nice first effort.  I particularly liked how Ron chose to describe our records.

CUPPA JOE  Busy Work 7″  Dromedary

Like if REM played a party in Nirvana’s basement, you know quirky clever pop with heavy catchy hooks.

FOOTSTONE Wobbles From Side to Side 7″  Dromedary

Another pop gem from this NJ label that shows the uneasiness and restlessness that flourishes in the intense boredom you find growing up across the river from the Big City.  Quite heavy and loveable.

MELTING HOPEFULS  Allnighter 7″  Dromedary

Female fronted noise pop.  Crunching melodies from a band who are sure to be seen in months to come.  I have heard that there is great interest, and I don’t mean from people with money.  They come across something like Helium but more sarcastic (sarcasm from Jersey?…no way.)

VARIOUS  Nothing Smells Quite Like Elizabeth CD  Dromedary

A “get to know us” type collection from a small NJ indy.  Underground bands including cuppa joe, Melting Hopefuls, Footstone, and major label freshmen Godspeed.  A very good look at the ever changing scene on the other side of the tunnels.

It was fun – we had a nice little community of people we dealt with up and down the east coast, from Surefire up north, to a few zines in Hoboken and New York, to Merkin in Baltimore.  Then we had our friends in Silver Girl out in San Diego, and The Sarnos in San Francisco.

On top of that, we were about to see some progress on The Tape.

~ by Al on March 29, 2009.

5 Responses to “nothing smells quite like the re-release.”

  1. man, how do you remember all this stuff…???

  2. I saved everything. You wouldn’t believe the stuff I’ve got. I’ve got two boxes full of files, and another box full of zines, plus all kinds of letters and stuff. I put it all together chronologically, and I’m just going through everything bit by bit, and filling in the holes with whatever I can remember. I actually have a letter that you wrote me, on the back of a flyer for a Godspeed show at the Brighton Bar.

    I know I’ve missed a few things, or gotten stuff not entirely right. But I think it’s a good story, so I’m trying to tell it anyway.

  3. right on man!

    good stuff!

    i had forgotten all about that show for the label. Just one of many crazy nights so thanks!

  4. What a gret inspirtional story for indy label supporters—keep on rockin’— olivia from olympia WA 98505 EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE

  5. Thanks, Olivia! Keep reading!

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