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Rank and File

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Formed by brothers Chip and Tony Kinman after they split up their hardcore punk band The Dils (who recorded the great L.A. punk single “Class War”), Rank and File were, at times, a dazzling roots rock post-punk band that stumbled early in its career, only to flame out much too quickly and finally collapse with an embarrassing thud. Their debut record, Sundown, was a gem of tuneful, Byrds-ian pop, with a healthy dollop of Gram Parsons and Merle Haggard to boot. The Kinmans’ singing was distinctive; they weren’t traditional harmony singers à la the Everly Brothers, but rather sang synchronized upper and lower octaves. The songwriting was wry, heartfelt, and cliché-free; the band (which at the time featured the guitar of the immensely talented Alejandro Escovedo) rocked with gusto, but never bombastically, preferring nuance and subtlety over volume and simplicity. In fact, the Kinmans were so into cowpunk and so far from their hardcore punk beginnings that they even landed a spot on PBS’s revered country music showcase Austin City Limits. The sophomore record, Long Gone Dead, was an excellent follow-up, but the self-titled third album, recorded three years after Long Gone Dead, was absolutely awful; the songs went nowhere, and the singing and playing, which had previously been so precise and artful, was now buried under a thicket of clichéd hard rockisms. After listening to side one, you knew these guys were done for. Sad, really. In a stunning repudiation of Rank and File’s roots rock style, the Kinmans’ next project was the execrable Blackbird, an ill-conceived try at synth pop that went a long way toward making them laughingstocks.

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  • TaggingMachine_

    Untagged from "" at 2014 listeners. It may take a while for the change to show. Visit the group under 2000 listeners for more info.

    5 May 2011 Reply
  • JeremyAce4

    Solid.

    17 Jan 2011 Reply
  • deyaro

    Saw them on their tour supporting their second album. The concert was at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. It was a good show. Chip stayed on stage afterwards and chatted with those who just wanted to say "Hi" to him and wish him and band good luck. :-)

    23 Jul 2010 Reply
  • morticiagurl

    I was looking through my favorite cassettes and don't know if I even own a cassette player anymore. So glad to find them here!

    1 Feb 2010 Reply
  • thrash07

    I saw Rank and File perform like, back in the 80's at a small club in Chicago, they were around before that Country Rock genre really took off.

    16 Apr 2009 Reply

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