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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


As spaciously arresting and emotionally vulnerable as the best rock and roll. In a year lacking in musical greatness, Snakehips take a most impressive leap back.

-Bill Ellis, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Harrison's material is in the Memphis groove. The songs on Memphis Juke sport a loose, spontaneous sound that is typical of the city's musical approach and reflect the city's main musical strains, from the slinky soul popularized by Stax Records to [Alex] Chilton's skewed rock style.

-Chris Morris, Billboard

Snakehips plays relatively loose, unhinged rock'n'roll, with front guy Mark Harrison singing like a cross between Matthew Sweet and a less irritating Billy Corgan. If you’re thinking 60's and 70's rock (as I'm sure Harrison often does), he sings like a cross between Bowie, Alex Chilton, and Lou Reed.

-Option

Imagine young LX, hanging in the E. Village post-Box Tops, waylaid by a time traveling Tav Falco and Feargal Sharkey (Undertones, grandson!), diverted into a karaoke bar and stuffed fulla bad acid. Then picture a buncha songs that touch on a myriad of rock and pop bases: chiming, arpeggio-laden janglery; South-fried boogiedelicism; folk-rock with funny pop-psyche choruses; et cetera. . . the visionary sythesis that Big Star achieved.

-YourFlesh

Others have tackled this familiar terrain (Matthew Sweet, J.C. Hopkins, Alex Chilton), but only a Memphian such as Mark Harrison could create Houndog Blues, a flat slice of Wurlitzer and slide guitar destined to be a lost American classic.

-Bill Ellis, The Commercial Appeal

Mark Harrison's blend of power pop and roots rock is just as potent and memorable as the best stuff by his hero, [Alex Chilton] and frankly a lot more consistent.

-Pop Culture Press

On the scene for 10 years, they've got their sound down: Juke's guitar-heavy tunes feel as though they were organically grown from the Delta silt and laced with smoke and grease. There is a brightness to them that recalls Memphis forebearers Big Star; like that band, Snakehips flesh out melodic pop ideas with loose, rambunctious instrumentation. It's hearty rock'n'roll, shaking hips with authority.

-Nashville Scene

Rooted in the kind of stripped down, Stones-based rock-and-roll that's usually shunned by post modern hipsters; [Lit] is the kind of album that exists outside of trends and fashions; an album of very good, simple rock-and-roll that doesn't care about changing the sound of modern music or polishing its edges to a spit-shine veneer. Sharp and evocative.

-Memphis Flyer

Lit may just be the best rock'n'roll album released in 1994. I'm talking rock'n'roll here, the stuff Chuck Berry dreamed up, the stuff the Stones pumped out before they started recycling, the simple guitar/bass/drum sound the whole overrated Velvet Underground legacy is built on. Snakehips make music that's almost extinct.

-Illinois Entertainer

Try to imagine Bobby Zimmerman on acid, Keef playing guitar with a bad hangover, a solid rhythm section holding it down. Think of Lou Reed and Marc Bolan also. Dark and mysterious with a well-defined snap and crackle in the air.

-Pop Culture Press

Taking their sound from early 70's Stones and Faces, Mark Harrison and Snakehips come up with a credible rock album. Filled with loud, raunchy guitar and Jagger-like sneering vocals, this sounds like the real thing, and the fact that it was recorded in Memphis only adds to the authenticity.

-You Could Do Worse

A fearless alternative-rock band: a band to watch.

-Details

- Various


Discography

"Lit" cd (Feralette) 1993
"Memphis Juke" cd (Feralette) 1997
"Turn You On" cd (Feralette/Slag Wheel) 2001
"Monster Bars" cd (Feralette/Twister) 2004

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

In a bluesy, booze-soaked 80's Memphis environment awash with slinky soul and skewed pop, Mark Harrison received his musical education. In 1989, after a summer of gigging with Shag Nasty, Neighborhood Texture Jam, and the infamous Panther Burns, Harrison formed the Snakehips. The Hips’ sonic foundation distilled elements of early rock, blues, and the trippier aspects of the southern muse as ingredients for their own home brew. Ultimately in Nashville, Harrison put together the first Snakehips line-up which emphasized an understated compositional power. The Snakehips are survivors in a world of near rock'n'roll extinction with critical and artistic successes that include1993's Lit, 1997's Memphis Juke, and 2001’s Turn You On.

Focused and evocative, the Snakehips’ fourth release Monster Bars is their most accessible yet. It is a virtual checklist of vintage rock n’ roll styles, interpreted for the 21st century. The rampant crass commercialism and homogenization of music today makes it easy to say that rock is dead... yet its ghost remains as does its spiritual source.

For the majority of Monster Bars, the Snakehips’ main man Mark Harrison has again teamed with Memphis producer Doug Easley (Pavement, Thrush Hermit) who plays on much of the recording. Longtime Hips drummer Paul Buchignani (Afghan Whigs, Todd Snider) lays down the groove as does Mark’s brother Price Harrison (The Botswanas) who trades mean electric riffs throughout. The addition of several legendary sidemen, Memphis’ Ric Stef on keyboards, Jim Spake (Ike Turner, Chuck Berry) on horns and Dan Dugmore (Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson) on pedal steel, helps to flesh out the Hips’ guitar based rocking blues.

“It is phenomenal just how much of our musical culture has come from this region of the country,” says Harrison, who grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee before wandering south down Highway 61. “You can’t help but soak it up if you’re
here long enough.”