As with punk, disco, hip-hop and many other genres, New York’s no wave scene overshadowed that of other cities. Originating in downtown in the late ’70s, no wave was a short-lived and spirited rejection of new wave’s commercial sheen. “Post-everything” acts like Liquid Liquid, Bush Tetras, Talking Heads, Lounge Lizards, DNA, and Lizzy Mercier Descloux put the funk into punk, and the tribal groove into the primal noise. In the process, they also lay claim to the bulk of the fame.
Among those other, overlooked bands is Stick Against Stone. As political as they are experimental and polyrhythmic, Stick Against Stone has been through several lineup changes since first forming in Pittsburgh in 1981. After a short period in Brooklyn around 1983 during which they connected with Bad Brains, and sometimes hung out with the young Beastie Boys, SAS moved clear across the country to Eugene, Oregon in 1984.
“Instant,” premiering exclusively on VIBE today, is taken from SAS’s The Oregon Bootleg Tapes, a 1985 recording of a gig at Eugene’s Saturday Market, long believed to have been lost. On it, you can hear not only the quintet’s omnivorous influences, including reggae, Afrobeat, ska, and samba but their technical prowess as well. For a band pounding out such dissonant funk, Stick Against Stone sounds pretty tight. SAS may not get name-checked as often as their peers, but this live recording and the way they play on it should go a long way to changing that.
Stream the tune here.
The Oregon Bootleg Tapes is out on MediaGroove on May 20, 2014.