Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Michael Rank

Michael Rank and Stag

"Donchu know you're my only friend?"

Swift jewel thief, Michael Rank, stylishly led the romantic, raggle-taggle gypsies in SNATCHES OF PINK - one of the memorably most under-rated underground rawk bands of the Post Hanoi Rocks eighties glam era. With an edgy guitar style not unlike an angrier Peter Buck from R.E.M., or Judah Bauer from Jon Spencer Blues Exlposion, Michael Rank crooned seductive, folksy ballads with one red cowboy boot steeped in pill crushing Johnny Thunders terrain, and the other in the Camus-reading Replacements college-rock gutter. A pretty boy Neil Young for art damaged Royal Trux and Chrome Cranks fans, his lusciously lyrical songs were always invested with real emotion, flickering with a compassionate, candle-lit ambience like Chick Graning's Boston band Scarce, but always punctured with these erratic, untamed bursts of wet cat shrieking, ala Mick Ronson, Buxton/Bruce, or the Only One's John Perry. Effortlessly straddling the trash and jangle genres, Snatches Of Pink made some of the finest music of their day. In A world full of lousy NY Dolls and vintage Aerosmith imitators, Snatches Of Pink were always a cut above 98% of the scarvey glam poseurs who jumped on Izzy and Axl's coat-tails, simply by cutting their own thoughtful, countryish path, devoid of the cheesy cock rock gesturing and corny, metal-head wanking, that made so many talent-free major label cornballs millionaires, in the spandex years. I remember buying "Send In The Clowns", a Flaming Lips L.P., a New Model Army twelve inch single, and the "Bucketful Of Brains" fanzine with Jeff Dahl on the cover, from Newbury Comics, in Harvard Square, like it was yesterday. There was indeed, a moment in time, when only Soul Asylum, Thee Hypnotics, and the Replacements could really hang with Snatches Of Pink- and as hard as it is to believe: Goo Goo Dolls were pretty good, back then, too! All his shit's better than the two songs a piece that Gin Blossoms and Counting Crows ever summoned. I remember thinking music could not get any worse than when grunge puked forth all those corporate jock Tarzans with their tedious, Ethyl Merman warbling Zep rewrites, pouting endlessly about smack and rainy days. Then, came the boy bands, nu-metal, rap-metal, Madonna knockoffs, slickly commodified R&B and ring-tone hip-pop. Needless to got much, much, much worse, as the five big media-monopolies merged and weaponized the entire entertainment industry, reinventing it as a huge tool of distraction, indoctrination, pacification, relentlessly training the dumbed-down masses to blindly accept slavery, torture, surveillance, fondling, austerity, and endless war as "normal". Thankfully, Brother Michael Rank has convened an intensely beautiful, all-star super group, from the culture-rich community of North Carolina's indie-rock royals, and his new album, "KIN", will variously remind you of Dogs D'Amour, Wilco, Kris Kristofferson, the Faces, John Fogerty, Shooter Jennings, Hank The Third, Townes Van Zandt, and the very, very best of Black Crowes' ouvre. It's an absolutely brilliant, beautifully packaged, double C.D., and as a wounded, old, songwriting front man, myself, I'd be painfully envious, but when there is this much honest and pure, raw, soul-power, being channeled into these many good songs, you can't help but feel more gratitude, than jealousy. This whole album totally resonates with me, and I have a dismal existence. It gives hope to the doomed, you dig? If you love Dave Kusworth & The Tenderhooks, Paul K. & The Weathermen, The Alarm, or the Waterboys, you ought to buy "KIN" by Michael Rank & The Stag, right now-I'm talkin' to you, Stu Gibson! I love his song, "Kin"-it reminds me of David Bowie's "Hunky Dory" and the first Wallflowers record-sweet, sentimental, gorgeous, and deep! Since the sad death of the American print-media, I don't get paid for writing about music, anymore, and can very seldom be bothered to bear witness, but this is an important album, and I'm not the kind of rock'n'roll refugee to keep something this worthy and powerful to himself. I only wish I could find a drummer this good-it hurts like hell, getting old, with no band. If you're one of the real rock'n'roll people, and you've ever suffered an irretrievably broken heart, please do get this collection-it's just beautiful. Sincerely.

-Pepsi Sheen

1 comment:

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