Formed by brothers Chip and Tony Kinman after they split up their punk band the Dils, Rank and File were a roots rock post-punk band. 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. They 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 band also included former Nuns guitarist Alejandro Escovedo.

The Kinmans' next project was the synthpop, guitar and drum-machine based, Blackbird. Alejandro Escovedo formed the True Believers with his brother Javier, before launching a solo songwriting and recording career.