year-end recognition.

So 2011 is over now, and all in all, I’d characterize it as a fuckin’ great year for Dromedary.

We put out fantastic records by Penguins Kill Polar Bears, Stuyvesant, Speed the Plough, Shirk Circus, The Mommyheads and The 65’s.  We held a fantastic benefit mini-fest, “Camelfest,” which raised a ton of awareness and more than $1,000 for Roots & Wings of NJ, and brought together some of New Jersey’s most legendary indie acts (including a reunion of the great Yung Wu), some of indie rock’s most exciting young bands, and some out-of-town friends that were a pleasure to meet. We continued to raise money through sales of Make the Load Lighter: Indie Rock for Haiti (which remains our strongest seller), which will be donated to Vwa Ayiti, which continues to implement community development projects inside Haiti (we’ll make our donation just as soon as we close up our books for 2011).  We even raised a few bucks for flood victims in New Jersey.  And we (hopefully) enriched some people with great music, and great performances.

Our records received tons of accolades, and landed on a bunch of year-end “best of” lists.  Check this out:

Vessels & Veins  by Penguins Kill Polar Bears (released in March) received the following accolades:

Fret Sounds by Stuyvesant (released in June) popped up on a bunch of lists:

Shine by Speed the Plough (released in August) appeared on the following lists:

Delicate Friction by The Mommyheads (released in October) was named the #65 Album of the Year at Blow Up Radio

This Band Will Destroy Your Life by Shirk Circus (released in November) was nominated for Outstanding Album of 2011 at the Hoboken Music Awards

And not to be outdone by all this, despite being released in December with just two weeks left in the year, Strike Hard! by The 65’s received the following accolades:

  • An unbelievable #7 Album of the Year at United by Rocket Science
  • An astounding #37 Album of the Year at Blow Up Radio
  • An album of the Month of December at Twangville
  • The band was also in the Top 5 for the “People’s Choice” award at the Hoboken Music Awards, and performed a fantastic set at the end of the night, decked out in suits (and a dress for Cindi)

We also received some flattering recognition as a label, from both United by Rocket Science and the fine folks at the Hoboken Music Awards.

The best part about the year, though, was the great new friendships that we made, as well as spending so much time with the old friends we love so much.  Running a micro-indie label the size of Dromedary Records is not something you do for the money, or for the recognition, or for the chicks.  You do it out of a desire to document great, underground music, and you do it because you dig the people.  And as far as Dromedary is concerned, there are a lot of people to dig.

There’s just no way to properly acknowledge all the fine folks who helped us out, promoted our stuff, or bought us beer this year.  For instance, how do I properly thank Ralph Malanga, who has been a close friend and an unbelievable help (and inspiration) for nearly twenty years?  How do I thank Brian Musikoff of Stuyvesant, who selflessly gave up his birthday show so that his band could play Camelfest, who designed a gorgeous Camelfest poster (twice), who posted bills all over Hoboken for us, who accompanied me to a handful of shows throughout the year, and who poured so generously when we stopped by his place of work?  Is there any possible way to thank Todd Abramson at Maxwell’s, who is so generous with his room and so supportive of our bands?  How do I thank people like Jim Testa, Ray Ketchem, Steve Bailey, Karl Heitmuller, Lazlo, Bill Benson, AJ Jahnig, Jim Santo, Mark Abney, Eric Greenberg, Steve Spatucci, Eileen Vocaturo, Adam Elk, Dan Fisherman, Michael Holt, Fraser Sanaghan, Paula Carino, Vicky Wheeler, Murray Reid, Seoridh Fraser, Jessica Poland, Dawn Schumacher, Skip Werner, Frank Brandon, Erol Chicowski, Jamie Webster, Steve Five, Ben Trokan, Gay Elvis, Paul Rosevear, Marc Francia, Ian Francia, Dan Francia, Mike Baumgartner, Ed Seifert, Carson Kopp, Andy Peters, Jim Fitzgerald, Ken Katkin, Richard Barone, Chris O’Donovan, Anne Hopkins, Richard Barnes, Brenda Sauter, Glenn Mercer, Dave Weckerman, and Stanley Demeski.  These people helped make 2011 a great year!

And special thanks that I’m just not capable of properly giving would certainly have to be given to Kim and Andrea at Roots & Wings, to Glenn Morrow at Bar/None, to Ben, Lisa and Josh of Varsity Drag, Rich Masio at Rdio, and Rad Del Prete (who’s been my friend for WAY more than half my life, and still selflessly works the merch table for an entire night when I ask).

And how could I possibly thank the people who bought our records, attended our shows, and read the reams and reams of tweets, status updates, blog posts and other crap I’ve written all year?

And the bands!  Jesus, the bands!  I’m sure I won’t even be able to remember them all, but how could I properly thank Robbers on High Street, Readymade Breakup, Charlotte Sometimes, Wild Carnation, the great Yung Wu, The Library is On Fire, Varsity Drag, Jamerson, Don Ryan, The Adam Ezra Band, Those Darlins, Wussy, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Telekinesis, The Swales, Kate Jacobs, and especially Yo La Tengo were all a huge help to, and supporters of Dromedary bands at various points during the year.

And Sandy, who has stood beside me while I babbled at people about music for 25 years, who’s my best friend, my drinking buddy, my show partner, my sitting around and doing nothing companion, and the love of my life.  So yeah, maybe you do do it for the chicks.

And of course there were a few new friends that we made this year, who quickly transcended any silly record label and became people that are right up there on the list of “reasons to wake up in the morning.”

James Damion, who’s excellent photography documented Camelfest, Stuyvesant’s band photos, and The 65’s release party, who has covered every Dromedary event this year, and in the process who has become an excellent friend.

John and Toni Baumgartner, who not only brought a sincere joy and passion for performing to the Dromedary family, not only brought me to a great new place to drink beer, not only introduced us to a whole new group of fantastic people, but they became great friends and people we genuinely love.

Cindi Merklee, Joe Vocaturo, John Steele, and Dan Smith.  I’m a pretty wordy dude, and I could sit here all night and not be able to describe how happy I am to have met these guys (despite the shitty, shitty circumstances under which we came together), how much I truly enjoy their company, and how much I value their friendship already.

Nope, there’s just no way to thank all those people properly.  So I won’t even try.  Especially because I’d surely forget someone really important and feel awful about it all year.  So let’s just say that if you helped us, bought us beer, took a beer we bought you, or allowed us to enjoy your company for even a second in 2011 – thank you.

I will, however, acknowledge three people who left us in 2011 one last time, because they deserve it:

Josh Silverman; songwriter, singer, and guitarist for Shirk Circus.  He passed away in February.  Much has been written about Josh’s incredible songwriting and even more incredible guitar playing.  Not as much has been written about the stuff I learned about him after he passed.  He was a teacher, a father, a husband, and a friend, four things that are way, way more important.

Tom Price; songwriter, singer and guitarist for the New York band Ff.  He passed away in the fall.  The day after he died, I made a comment that in the mid 90s in New York and New Jersey there was Ff, and then there was every other band.  They were that good.  And they were mostly driven by Tom’s work.  He was, by all accounts, an awesome guy that created some seriously intense, beautiful, powerful punk rock.

And lastly Elvis Boyd, son of my good pal Ted.  More than music, I love kids.  I spend a good number of hours every week with kids.  I’m also a dad, and I understand the kind of impossible-to-articulate, head-over-heels adoration that a dad can have for his child when he’s really engaged in the kid’s life.  It’s a kind of hero worship, a kind of doting, unconditional, almost desperate sort of love.  Even thinking of losing a child produces an unbearable pain.  In one swift and painful day, Elvis’ passing taught me to respect every second, to make every single minute count, to cherish every single friendship, and to do everything I can to do everything I can.

That’s what I intend to do in 2012.

Happy New Year, everybody.

~ by Al on January 6, 2012.

One Response to “year-end recognition.”

  1. I’m not really a god type of guy, but amen.

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