The video to Scraper‘s “Misery” is threaded with humorous b-roll and allusions to a murder plot, but at its core the footage captures the cracked menace of the San Francisco trio on stage. There’s drummer Miles Luttrell’s rigid backbeat; bassist Noah Charnow’s metronomically swinging mane; and vocalist Billy Schmidt’s emphatic hand gestures, which convey a sense that his strumming patterns are more frantic compulsion than planned attack. Together with the recording, which sounds live and unfettered itself, the video aptly represents Scraper’s straight-ahead but decidedly ill-at-ease sound.
“The picture was inspired by the sound of the guitar, drums, and bass in combat, shaking heaven and soothing hell,” Schmidt reckons. The props in the video, which was shot at Oakland recording studio Grassy Null, include his “prized collection of white jeans.”
In 2013, Scraper released an EP on Ty Segall‘s Drag City imprint, God? Records, and an eponymous full-length on Cut-Rate Records. But Misery, due February 19 on Slovenly Recordings, most closely resembles the group’s jarringly good 2012 demo. Scraper’s first practice space was a converted meat-locker, located three stories beneath San Francisco’s Mission District. (They inherited it from Grass Widow.) On Misery, the group appears to revisit the spirit of those early sessions.