Album of the Day


  • Axl Rosenberg


When I met Loudermilk vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Davey Ingersoll after a show at the now-defunct Tribeca Rock Club in 2003, I told him that The Red Record was the best album I’d heard in ten years. Listening to the album now, I think I was only exaggerating slightly. Originally a GN’R cover band called- wait for it- .22s and Tulips (!), Loudermilk never really found their audience (that performance I was at was attended by 14 people- I counted), which is heartbreaking considering what a staggering achievement they created with this record. It’s not just that there are no bad songs here- it’s there are no songs here that aren’t GREAT. Perhaps best described as some weird love child of Motley Crue and the Smashing Pumkins, with flourishes of Ozzy-era Sabbath and Brit-Pop at its most elegiac thrown in for good measure, every piece of music here is a difficult-to-catergorize gem. “Estrogen Oxygen Aches in the Teeth Again” may sound like the dumbest song title ever, but as an album opener, it sucks you in and spits you back out within a matter of seconds; “Rock N’ Roll and the Teenage Desperation” is the song every garage band on Earth wishes they wrote; “Ash to Ash” and “Attached at the Mouth” are gorgeous works proving Ingersoll to be a true poet; “The Twisting” is somehow both sludgey and mournful with a driving beat that’ll kick your ass right proper. The production, by George Drakoulias (the man who discovered The Black Crowes and produced all their best records) is dirty and multi-tiered: everything you want from a hard rock CD. Every modern drummer should have to listen to the diminutive Isaac Carpenter (why do short guys make such great skinsmen?), who shares Josh Freese’s talent for making every fill slightly more complicated than it needs to be without every losing the thread of the primal beats we expect from great rock music (check out the last minute of “Juillet”- AWESOME), and while lead guitarist Mark Watrous may not be as techincally impressive as some of his peers, he has an innate ability, to paraphrase Bruce Dickinson, to tell a story with each and every one of his superb solos; his work on “Anthema” alone makes the song my favorite epic almost-but-not-quite-a-ballad not written by Axl Rose. Ingersoll’s singing and Shane Middleton’s bass playing ain’t too shabby, neither, and I can tell you- live, these dudes knew how to bring it.

They looked like hipsters but played this kind of bizarre hybrid-rock; consequently, a tour with The Mooney Suzuki wasn’t gonna do much for them, but neither was posing for Rolling Stone magazine alongside labelmates Papa Roach. Loudermilk eventually changed labels and shifted away from their hard-rock roots, morphing into the garage-rock act Gosling. They still make able-bodied music, if you like that kind of thing; but for one shining moment, it seemed as though they were the most important, if totally unappreciated, rock band on the planet.

Goddamnit, I love this Red Record.


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