Speak Into My Good Eye

New Jersey’s Dromedary Records Turns 20, Celebrates w/Two Shows At Asbury Lanes ++ A Compilation (Stream Selections)

Chris Rotolo October 9, 2013 Features No Comments

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In the deepest depths of New Jersey’s backwoods sits a small distribution label named Dromedary Records, and though it may be small in stature, there’s no denying the revered sounds brought to life by founder Al Crisafulli and his independent collective for the past 20 years.

“I never thought Dromedary would see 20,” Crisafulli explained in a recent e-mail exchange.  “At one point the label went on a lengthy hiatus because my best friend passed away, and he was a big part of the operation.  I really lost interest in music altogether after that, and it took years to rekindle it.”

Stuyvesant, The Mommyheads, The 65’s, Shirk Circus, Speed the Plough…these are just a few titans of the Indie-Rock realm to have called Dromedary Records home, not to mention the most recent member of the Dromedary Roster in SIMGE favorite Cinema Cinema, who worked with the label to release its cover of PJ Harvey’s “50 Ft. Queenie”.

“It’s funny,” continued Crisafulli, “because we had put out all these great records and then completely vanished, so re-introducing ourselves to the music community has been a process.”

Crisafulli and Dromedary Records have seen and weathered it all from the rise of Indie-Rock to the current decline of the genre; the internet’s industry-altering effects on recorded music and the resurgence of vinyl pressings; personal success and immense heartache…and despite all joyous peaks and painful valleys, we sit mere days away from a well-deserved celebration at Asbury Lanes that’s been two decades in the making.

Camelfest is the name of this celebratory event (because a Dromedary is a type of camel…seriously, Google it) and past editions have been held annually at the late great Hoboken venue Maxwell’s.  However, with the storied music club’s recent closure, Asbury Park’s 10-pin penthouse and music locale has been named the site Dromedary Records’ 20-year anniversary showcase and will be played out over two evening on Friday, October 18th and Saturday the 19th.

“I’ve always hosted a few shows a year, but I always wanted to do something more elaborate.  Three years ago we finally took the plunge and did a three-show thing at Maxwell’s, and it was a lot of fun and raised a decent amount of awareness for Roots & Wings.  So I decided to make it an annual thing.  It’s fun, and since the bands on the label and our friends are like a big family, it’s a great excuse for us to get together and enjoy each other’s company, play some great music, and drink a bunch of beer.”

And good times are surely to be had as the confirmed lineups are stacked with Friday evening’s festivities featuring The Everymen, Cinema Cinema, The Coffin Daggers, and Wax Darts, while Saturday will see the likes of Stuyvesant, Overlake, The Brixton Riot, and The Anderson Council share the stage.

However, what is not to be lost or minimized in any way amongst this joyous music gala is the wonderful cause it’s will support in Roots & Wings, a Denville, NJ-based operation that provides young adults who age out of the Garden State’s foster care system with safe housing, educational support, counseling, and life skills in order to empower them toward self-sufficiency.

“A few years ago I got a brochure in the mail from Roots & Wings,” explained Crisafulli, “and it highlighted some of the simple things that these kids have to deal with.  Most of them have moved around from family to family over the years, but never found a permanent home, and now they’re on their own, with nobody to teach them how to navigate life.  Simple things we take for granted, like how to deal with grocery shopping, or when to go to the doctor are things that nobody has taught these kids.  My wife and I have three kids of our own, and we both do a lot of volunteer work with younger kids, but this brochure really touched me.”

“Anyway, I realize I could have just written a check, but I’m just one guy and my funds for that sort of thing are really finite.  Dromedary gives me an opportunity to amplify my voice, get other people involved, and raise a lot of awareness.  It’s been a fantastic pairing, and I can’t imagine doing a Camelfest without Roots & Wings.”

Doors for Dromedary Records’ Camelfest 2013 will open at 8 p.m. with music expected to commence at 9 p.m and a cover charge of $10 to be paid upon admission. All proceeds from the door charge will be donated to Roots & Wings.

In addition to Camelfest, Dromedary Records is also releasing a special compilation album titled From ’93 To Infinity, which features B-sides, covers, and unreleased tracks by the aforementioned Stuyvesant, as well as The 65’s, The Anderson Council, The Brixton Riot, Varsity Drag, and Cinema Cinema, as well as a rendition of Teenage Fanclub’s “Radio” as performed by Jean Homme & The Broken Telomeres (a supergroup of sorts featuring members of Jenifer Convertible, The Sharp Things, Stuyvesant, and Overlake), and Overlake’s cover of Yo La Tengo’s “From A Motel 6″…both of which you can stream below.

Stay tuned for more next week when SIMGE will premiere an exclusive stream of From ’93 To Infinity

“Radio” by Jean Homme & The Broken Telomeres

“From A Motel 6″ by Overlake

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About The Author

Chris graduated from The College Of New Jersey in May of 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in both Journalism/Professional Writing and Communication Studies. He's held down a position in the Asbury Park Press’ Sports Department since September of 2010 and is a contributor to the outlet’s Arts & Entertainment section as well as Consequence of Sound (http://consequenceofsound.net).

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