12 O'Clock Track: Stick Men, "Mystery Party" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Stick Men, "Mystery Party"

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Even during their heyday in the early 80s, Philadelphia band the Stick Men were pretty obscure, and the past three decades have only made matters worse—which really saddens me. I only saw the five-piece once, but it was one the most memorable shows of my life. When their scant recorded output was collected on the CD Insatiable (Cuneiform) in 2001, it sounded better than ever. The group were part of Philly's sort-of answer to New York's short-lived no-wave scene, sounding a bit like the Contortions except way more hopped up. Front man Pete Baker was a total spaz, combining charisma and chaos onstage, and the rest of the band played their manic, fucked-up funk with impressive precision and outsize brio. Over the years I've taken pretty much any opportunity to advocate for the Stick Men, and nothing makes converts like their actual music: that's why today's 12 O'Clock Track is the raucous "Mystery Party," a herky-jerky groover with ridiculously busted chicken-scratch guitar and blurts of cheapo Farfisa. I'm surprised I haven't posted one of their songs before.

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