Scraps Noise Not Music: 1986–1989 LP

France has never exactly been known for its hardcore bands. In fact, I’m sure most of you would struggle a little to name five French ’80s hardcore bands. Sure, we never had any shortage of terrible Oi! bands (a sorry tradition), but few inspiring fast bands in the ’80s. SCRAPS were an exception. They played that kind of really fast and raw hardcore thrash with extreme vocals that grew in Europe in the mid-’80ss with bands like LÄRM, NEGAZIONE, HHH, or ASOCIAL. Imagine DISORDER covering GANG GREEN in a Bristol squat in 1984. SCRAPS embraced the super punky “noise not music” philosophy, although they were not as radical as their fellow countrymen, the mighty RAPT, but more direct and vicious than the equally mighty HEIMAT-LOS. The lyrics are mostly in French and tackled the topics of the day (apartheid, animal liberation, the arms race), but also some that focused on French politics, like the rise of Le Pen (famous leader of the far-right whose daughter currently heads the most popular far-right party in France) or torture during the war in Algeria. Angry political words that fit the music perfectly. The LP includes the early records of a band that celebrated its 40th birthday in 2023. That’s what you call dedication and true passion for hardcore punk. This is a pretty essential record if you are into abrasive and fast political hardcore punk, and an essential piece of history. Guaranteed completely Oi!-free.

Scraps Demo ’85 12″

Part of a series of reissues for this long-running hardcore punk powerhouse, Refuse Records has dug deep in the vault to bring these demo recordings into the light of day. Compiling songs from three iterations of demos, this is the most raw, chaotic version of French pioneers SCRAPS. Seven songs of sheer noise and aggression, delivered with total abandon. This early incarnation of the band bucks against any sense of melody and dispenses with worn out traditional notions of musicality or talent. What is left is pure rage and unbridled anger, channeled into political punk that sounds something like KAAOS showing up at Dial House on a rampage with CRASS. There are times when the drummer and bassist seem to be playing totally different songs from the rest of the band. Sloppy, frantic, and pissed-off. Killer cover art. This rules.

Scraps Wrapped Up in This Society LP reissue

After one of the first WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? rehearsals, we were all talking about bands we liked and Max (625, SPAZZ, etc.) noticed that my background knowledge of fast, raw, European hardcore, a subgenre that was key to our stated mission, was deficient. The next time we met, he gave me some study material in the form of the first HEIBEL 12″ and this SCRAPS LP….and I studied. SCRAPS were so gloriously unhinged, you got the sense that they decided they were going to play fast before they decided if they could play fast. While they had surely honed their skills and focused their sights by 1990’s Wrapped Up in This Society, the blasts are still completely fucking off the rails while the youth crew moshes (and backing vocals) were in full effect, and it’s what makes this record sound so good. Because it’s kinda all over the place, and it mostly hits just off target, and because they go so hard in spite of it all. Or because of it all. If the anthemic end of “Win Together” were perfectly in tune (or in time) it would just be another hardcore song, but to hear SCRAPS wrap up the first side of this LP, it’s as if you’re ready to join the band before you even flip the wax. Lyrics blast inequality, imperialism, and military oppression, idealism leaping from the pages of the booklet just as it jumps out of the grooves. I have a vague memory of WHN? covering “I Was Blind” in rehearsal…though we may have just ripped it off and not told anyone.  A faithful and overdue (and gorgeous) reissue.

Scraps Dismantle the Machine One Cog at a Time LP

This French band’s final twelve-song album was originally released with a different cover in 1994 on Germany’s X-MIST. I’ve always found SCRAPS’ catalog, which dates back to the early 1980s, a challenging listen: the monotonous high-pitched yelped vocals are almost painful, the mixture of thrash and ’90s stop-start-change-start off-kilter experimentation, with some somber peace punk or DCHC “I’m leveling with you now” voiceover moments thrown in—it’s not something where I can usually make it through even one side of a record, though at this point, they had seamlessly dialed in their style and delivery. The lyrics are poignant and meaningful and quite thoughtful, and the thrash sharply delivered, but I generally have found this band completely unlistenable; and I’ve tried. I own almost all of their records. This album, remastered and repackaged, is no different. I want to like it, as the regard SCRAPS is held, the fact that this record was so lovingly reissued, point to there being is probably something I am missing that other people see, but each time I revisit their records, I still don’t get it. The sloppy delivery and randomness of the previous Wrapped Up in This Society makes it more bearable, and I find parts of all the things I love here, but I can only take so much, Je suis vraiment désolé.

Scraps Aaargh! EP

Six-song EP from France that usually starts slow then charges furiously into each song much like a lot of Japanese hardcore—there are songs they sing in English, complete with lyrics, but they whip by so fast you’ll have no idea what they’re saying.

Scraps Aaargh! EP

I haven’t liked too many amelodic trash bands lately, but these guys attack their music with such enthusiasm it works. Raging vocals, pounding snappy drums, insane guitar noise, reminds me of early Brazilian HC. Definite.

Scraps Apartheid EP

Though the music is not the slickest thrash I’ve ever heard, there is an urgency to it that’s most compelling. Combine that with raging vocals of a highly political nature, and you’ve got something special.

Scraps Scraps cassette

A three-song job, one track of which is a rhythmic, driving, raw song with a dash of early CRASS or the EX. The other two are raving, noisy thrashers. Lyrics are of a political nature, and all in all, this is a band to watch for. Confusing note: their flyer says seven songs are on a 20-minute tape for $3.50 ppd.