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Pasatiempo - - Terrel's Tune-Up -

The Scrams by The Scrams. One day last year, I was lis­ten­ing to a show by a fel­low garage-punk pod­caster (RadiObliv­ion’s Michael Kaiser, who lives in Ten­nessee), and he an­nounced a fun, rock­ing, heavy-on-the-Farfisa band called The Scrams from “Steve Ter­rell’s back­yard in New Mex­ico.” I went out and checked — they weren’t there. He was ly­ing. But later I found out that The Scrams were only some 60 miles away, in Al­bu­querque. Just re­cently The Scrams re­leased a full-length, self ti­tled al­bum that ful­fills the prom­ise of the songs on the first 7-inch EP they re­leased last year.

They’ve only been around for less than two years, and they call their sound “ware­house rock.” Started by gui­tarist Juan Car­los Ro­driguez and drum­mer Nate Daly, other Scrams in­clude singer Joseph Cardillo, Farfisa-nut Daniel Eiland, and bassist Matthew Vanek.

All tracks, from the open­ing shout of “1,2,3,4,” on “Ex­iles” to the weird sonic blast that fol­lows “Cry, Cry Cry (In the U.S.A.)” — it sounds like back­ward mask­ing — is raw garage joy. The first tune that grabbed me was “La Llorona,” a song about a lo­cal girl. She mur­dered her chil­dren and is now doomed to eter­nally wan­der­ing the ar­royos as a wail­ing ghost. The Scrams pay her spooky jus­tice.

There’s a song called “Chimp Necropsy,” which may or may not be about those poor med­i­cal-ex­per­i­ment chimps in Alam­ogordo. I can’t make out the lyrics here to save my life. I’m not sure what “Goat Throat” is about, ei­ther. Maybe The Scrams are try­ing to warn the world about some sort of hu­manan­i­mal hy­brid. What­ever, it’s an ir­re­sistible lit­tle tune with just a hint of ’ 60s-style soul. “Space Jeeps” is a sci­ence-fic­tion ad­ven­ture, while “Cry, Cry Cry” al­most sounds like The Flesh­tones man­gling Dion & The Bel­monts’ “Teenager in Love.”

I’d be proud to have The Scrams in my back­yard. If you want a hard copy of the CD, you’ll have to buy it from The Scrams. You can down­load the MP3 ver­sion for free at www. the­scrams.com.

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