Birmingham trash punks Table Scraps have finally dropped their eagerly anticipated sophomore album – “Autonomy” and we’ve got a Track By Track for you.
Their debut – “More Time For Strangers” found itself atop my Best of 2015 list and it’s a pretty safe bet that “Autonomy” will repeat the feat for 2018 because it’s simply all killer no filler.
Originally a trio of Scott Vincent Abbott on vocals and guitar and Poppy Twist on drums, they’ve added TJ Mobbs on bass to fill out their already savage sound.
Marrying Detroit rock riffs of the Mc5 and Stooges with catchy Cramps-like garage rock and the bombast post-punk of Big Black, Table Scraps carve a path of their own on “Autonomy” and heads are turning. Idles’ frontman Joe Talbot, recently stated: “if you don’t know Table Scraps, you’re a fucking idiot!“.
Don’t be an idiot. TJ gives us the goods!
SICK OF ME
Once we’d hit our stride as a three-piece, Scott brought this two-chord riff to us and, before even playing it as a band, he seemed to have this whole song completely mapped out. As we’re quite an eclectic band (this is bad when you need to pitch something simple to magazines and such), we sometimes agonize about how people would describe the sound of tracks like this. Scott said: “It’s like Black Flag playing The Kinks via time travel” which is the perfect way to describe it. We love how tightly-wound and simple it is, but I associate it quite a lot with making ourselves puke by going on too many carnival rides for the music video.
A slower version of this was written not long before the end of the two-piece days. ‘Always Right’ is full-on jangle pop but played and sung with punk drive. There’s an awesome rhythm guitar part chugging along under the solo (Scott has no memory of how he made it sound that good) and, if you listen closely, you’ll notice the solo being whistled by Tim, which he threw when his hyperactivity got the better of him during vocal takes.
I’M A FAILURE
A sort of desert-grunge slam that, in our world, is obviously a massive radio friendly hit. A timeless ode to self-loathing and one that seems to really punch people in the gut when we play it live.
TAKIN’ OUT THE TRASH
We seem to have an unspoken agreement that this glam rock beat must make an appearance somewhere. Scott spent a good amount of time stacking up the layers of fuzz on this beautifully, going for a sound that feels more like an overdriven organ. We were still tweaking the song right up to the wire and I think we managed to play it through twice before recording it. It actually helped the process as it kept us on our toes (despite the bottle of rum that disappeared whilst getting this one to tape) and, even though it’s a slower song, you don’t lose any of the energy that we bring to what we do. Gang vocals and “woo!”s were a must and the rising waves of feedback over the solo climax are truly a joy to behold.
LYIN’ THRU YER TEETH
Slade-style title spellings here, as a tiny nod to our Midlands heritage beyond Black Sabbath, for this two minute smash and grab. Some of my favourite Scott lyrics here jabbing at the type of annoying blowhards you might find gathering dust at venues from here to eternity. A clunky, obnoxious riff in the verses is offset with a stubbornly simple three-chord chorus. We’ve played it usually two or three songs before the end of our set and it always jolts people awake. I’ve seen lots of beer and punches thrown whilst playing this, which is great of course.
We recorded this as a single to put out on a split 7″ with our friends in Black Mekon back in April of 2017, but we welcomed the chance to have another crack at it as we’d been touring it to the point of getting the pounding drone of it down to a fine art. There are a few happy accidents on Scott’s little delay sections in the breaks and we were really happy with how it came out overall.
Much like Frankenstein’s monster itself, this one has a history beyond its current life and has been re-appropriated into something sinister and misunderstood (no more analogies now). This song had endured from a previous band of Scott’s (both Poppy and I had separately seen this band without ever crossing paths, funnily enough) and had to be translated to work in the context of Table Scraps. Poppy, as a drummer, hates anything too fussy so it didn’t take too long to strip it down to its bare bones and build it up again. It was nice to be able to squeeze in a helping of Cramps-camp and horror rockabilly and people seem to really get into this one. It’s probably my favourite for little you could get between the bass and drums are and it’s always really fun to play.
TREAT ME LIKE SHIT
A real venomous garage ripper, this one. That howling blues harp-y riff that comes in just before the first verse drops really sets the scene, but what really brings it all together is this menacing fuzz-drone that Scott put under the entire track and very liberal theremin usage. I think that was to mostly offset the goofy bass run underneath the solo. It’s very cathartic to shout “You treat me like shit!”
MORE THAN YOU NEED ME
One of the very first new songs we tackled as a three piece, when we would blast Deep Purple’s ‘Black Night’ through our rehearsal space PA as a jumping off point. Scott would say that this song, lyrically, kind of sprouted from that episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets kicked out, ends up living in the family’s tree-house and ends up in rags. When he’s reunited with Marge he tells her, sincerely and pathetically, that all he can give her is total and utter dependency.
DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN
While pitching this one to Poppy and I, Scott framed this as “imagine that The Velvet Underground went to Memphis…” before showing us the ropes. Like ‘Takin’ Out The Trash’ we learnt this super quickly before recording it and, being the last song on the album, had that sort of “almost finished!” electricity to it that kinda reminds of the Sgt. Pepper’s Reprise. Again, some A+ dry cynicism from Scott here with lines like “nostalgia’s not what it used to be” before he completely went to town on the cowbell. A fitting ending, for sure.
Photo – Meg Lavender