Straight A’s – Self Help

Straight A’s – Self Help (Noise Pollution Records) 2010. The Straight A’s first full-length is a real headfuck of a record. It goes in a million different directions and does so effortlessly. Having been a fan of the A’s since seeing them back in Louisville in 2008, its striking to me how far the band has come in such a brief time. And this is a band that was pretty far along at the get-go. Each song from the band has always been a very concise and succinct smack in the face. “Get in, get out and fuck shit up” is the name of this game and the sheer discipline of it is impressive. Never ones to fool around with the unnecessary, vocalist Andrew Padon, Guitarist Duncan Cherry, Bassist Nate Smallwood and drummer Sean Roberts create fragments of songs in the same way that What Makes a Man Start Fires-era Minutemen used to create fragments of songs. Using some of the same touchpoints; particularly free jazz and minimalist poetry, The Straight A’s make it their own with a style that sounds very unlike the boys from Pedro. Maybe that is because The A’s are from Kentucky, Louisville to be precise, which means there is gonna be a wilful dedication to both experimentation and rocking the fuck out in the heaviest manner possible. A good example of which can be found in the album closer The Wilderness where Duncan, who never settles for classic rock riffs, creates high pitched squeaks and squalls over a rhythm section that has to be one of the heaviest I have ever heard. They kill it! Padon’s lyrics and delivery on The Wilderness as well as New Lease on Life are perfect. Tell me he ain’t spinnin’ some crazy yarns. On Self-Help, The Straight A’s push their own boundaries. They even add piano and horns to the mix. I can’t imagine what they are gonna come up with next but you would be a fool not to check this album out. It’s only twelve bucks for the vinyl. I mean really, what else are you gonna do? Listen to 30 Seconds To Mars or some stupid shit?

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3 Responses to Straight A’s – Self Help

  1. jonder says:

    “Awkward Silence” is one of the standouts on your last podcast. I need to check this out.

  2. jonder says:

    Looks like the five bucks is for international shipping. The LP is $12.

  3. maxson says:

    Yea, that’s the int’l shipping. LP = $12, CD = $10

    & if you’re getting vinyl shipped from NP, throw down another 12 bucks and get the Cerebellum LP. It really kicks. It sounds like a recipe for disaster (Late 80s L’ville band reunites for a couple shows, recording 5 old songs to go along with the 5 from a period cassette release) but is instead utterly bodacious!

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