An oddball New York City quintet based around the team of singer/guitarist Renee LoBue and drummer-producer Ray Ketchem, the Melting Hopefuls delivered a sometimes strange -- but usually winningly -- melodic brand of indie rock with a nice balance of folk and noise textures.
LoBue and Ketchem formed the Melting Hopefuls in 1990, adding bassist Sue Kresge and electric guitarist Max Siebel (LoBue usually favors a folkish acoustic), and playing local clubs. A self-released demo cassette, Prune Juice, came out in 1991, followed by Magnet for Stains in 1992, and Heal Back Harder in 1993. Finally signing with the Philadelphia-based indie Big Pop, the Melting Hopefuls recorded their debut album, Space Flyer, in several sessions over the course of 1992 and 1993, but the album didn't come out until early 1994. By that time, the group had added a third guitarist, Lorraine Turri, who is credited on the album's sleeve although she doesn't actually appear on the record.
Space Flyer was well reviewed, and the wry single "Pulling an All-Nighter on Myself" received a fair amount of alternative radio airplay. That tune was remixed and included on the group's next release, the eight-song EP Viva la Void. Unfortunately, however, Siebel, Kresge, and Turi left the group before any more recording could be done. After a period of woodshedding, LoBue and Ketchem recruited guitarist Peter Langland-Hassan in 1997. LoBue moved to keyboards and bass synthesizer, and as the newly constituted trio's sound changed and Langland-Hassan began sharing songwriting duties with LoBue, the group changed their name from the Melting Hopefuls to Elk City. The first Elk City album, Status, was released in 2000.