The garage is hallowed ground. Like the opposite of a graveyard.

Where a graveyard is a place for the dead, a garage is a place of birth. Records are conceived and spawned inside those four walls, born free of all constraints but the artist’s. It is autonomy made brick.

That’s what Table Scraps named their LP, Autonomy. And it was autonomy that allowed them to create such an album. The airwaves are owned by the big 3 labels. But Table Scraps own their 5M X 5M room. And in that room, they fashioned a world.

It’s not an entirely unfamiliar world: neurotic, distorted, snarling. But it’s theirs. And they’ve been kind enough to open the door to us commoners. A banquet of takeaway leftovers laid out before us and slabs of cheap cans for chairs.

Ten tracks of classic garage rock ideals: lo-fi, driving, simple songs. “Great simplicity is only won by an intense moment or years of intelligent effort,” as TS Eliot put it. It takes skill of a most subtle sort to leave your song at 4 chords and as many sentences. To write a song so simple it’s as if it’s always been there. Buried somewhere in the human condition. The Stooges were masters of that art. Black Lips are more modern champions. Now, we can count Table Scraps as miners of our consciousness.

But this is the 21st century. Picks and shovels just won’t cut it anymore. Dynamite is what’s required for this excavation. And Table Scraps supply the TNT like very few can. The fuse is lit on track 5, Lyin’ Thru Yer Teeth. That’s when it all clicks like some cryptid’s jaws snapping shut.

A pale, lean, hairy cryptid that spits bullets and lurks in the basement. Where pop music has “matured” – i.e. grown senile – Table Scraps remain resolutely adolescent. Singing of Frankenstein in B-movie stomping manner on track 7 and doing its monstrous title justice. Sick Of Me opens Autonomy in gloriously insecure form: “are you sick-sick-sick-sick-sick-sick-sick of me?!” And Do It All Over Again, closes it with a slew of riffs to make so-called “virtuoso” adult-orientated artists scoff to cover up their envy.

Their little world in that room is teeming with the discoveries they found in their subterranean excavations. My Obsession hammers home the point with laser-precision. As accurate portrayals go, it captures obsession wondrously in its neuroses-addled repetition. More Than You Need Me and Treat Me Like Shit are teenaged self-effacement contained in under five minutes each. As Iggy did note, adolescence is “NO FUN!” And Table Scraps have presented that fact in prose and guitars raw as Bukowski.

It will require surgery to get Autonomy out of your brain. Where the big 3 labels have seized pop by the neck and are making it sing through their choking hands, Table Scraps are breathing free as the breeze. Their 5M X 5M world is not an alien world at all. In fact, it’s much more relatable than Ed Sheeran’s.         

by James Fleming

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