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.