Stick Against Stone, “Cramphead”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 05.16.14 in Listen to This

Sharing the same kind of worked-up, freaked-out no-wave groove as bands like Ludus and Essential Logic, the Oregon-by-way-of-Pittsburgh band Stick Against Stone specialized in curdled funk, freely employing the rhythmic recklessness of post-punk. “Cramphead,” from a VHS recording of a 1985 live show long believed to be lost, captures all of that manic energy. Vocalist Sari Morninghawk arcs soaring, wordless melodies high above the band’s knotty, restless din. Xeres Shepard’s sax and Daniel Ramirez’s guitars seem entangled in a kind of angry call-and-response, swapping tightly-wound melodic phrases back and forth, again and again. As music history goes, Stick Against Stone are a footnote to a footnote, but “Cramphead” displays the same tense energy as many of their more popular musical peers.