9 O’clock Nasty is an indie rock monster who breaks all the rules and plays the game on their own terms. Exhausted with modern cliches, their new album Catch Nasty is meant to be streamed in its entirety as a concept piece, with side 1 and side 2 available on Bandcamp for your listening pleasure. The band was nice enough to intermittently drip EP’s containing the albums cuts throughout the year, but they are candid about how they prefer you digest their music.
Students of the golden era in vinyl, the record flows in style and discourse in a way that is lost on most young bands today. Powerful post punk influences shine through, and hints of early Talking Heads, Pretenders, and the Clash connect with this trio’s sound. Mostly going for the traditional guitar/bass/drums power arrangement, and only occasionally including some keyboards on the studio effort, the songs are carefully crafted to make each instrument memorable and unique into itself within the song. The band plays against and around each other while always being together. This is not the 90s cookie cut pop that destroyed rock, but rather, the “indie” resurrection of thoughtful rock arrangements that immortalized the masters. From the original guitar rock trios of the 50s like Buddy Holly to the late 60s idols Cream and Hendrix all the way up to the aforementioned indie punk masters, 9 O’clock nasty pays homage with each measured moment in every song.
The band includes multi-instrumentalists Pete Brock, Ted Pepper, and Sydd Spadd. After kicking around their music scene in various bands, they got together during the lockdown after one of their friends moved into a house with an analogue recording studio, and an invitation ensued to put the gear to use. Like their punk brethren, they refuse to take their rock too seriously. Their talent is undeniable but they know what they’re here for, to get loose and have fun. You can enjoy the cheeky themes, thoughtful voice samples, and interesting banter while still getting deep into these swaggered grooves. The sarcasm and commentary littered throughout is just a reflection of the rebellion and pissed-off attitude that inspired the music. If you’re going about life feeling great about this moment then you can buzz off. Let’s get real, sometimes this just freaking sucks and we need some music to represent how much we’re sick of it all.
A working man’s rock band for our blue collar times. 9 O’clock Nasty formed in the middle of the Covid crisis to get away from the chaos and mind evolving broadcasts, taking the time to just jam-the-F-out. Lyrically, what evolved is just a reflection on the epic decline of western civilization. Songs about bottled feelings of sex, social anxiety, and self worth. In the end it all resolves for one resounding message, don’t take it too seriously, rock out and let it groove.
Though it is necessary to reflect on the album as a whole, each song has distinct qualities.
9 O’clock Nasty gets dirty right out the gate with Monstruosa. A bass driven, tom heavy rocker that sets the tone for the record, and the concept as a whole. Foreshadowing the themes through out, and introducing the analogue tape studio sound that brought the group together.
Gravy Train is a groovy indie punk anthem. The groovy bass channels original Pretenders bassman Pete Farndom. The attitude has the authentic feeling and attitude of late 70s, early 80s inspired new wave punk a la the Clash, The Pretenders, and Elvis Costello. The signature call and response vocals that make 9 O’Clock Nasty so fun are on full display.
Let’s talk about your Boyfriend is another catchy backbeat banger, full of swagger and attitude. The surf rock and rockabilly influences combined with punk resonate with bands like Morphine and Cake. 9 O’Clock Nasty is meant for a smoky speak easy, where only the locals hang out and everyone wears black leather jackets.
Say No To Funk is a sarcastic resistance not to funk too hard. The Nasty Boys can’t help but add some groovy flavor to the their music. Overall, they won’t classify themselves specifically, noting they even have a disco song coming out in the future. Say No To Funk is dipping into some INXS vibes with a touch of Another Brick In The Wall peeking through.
Falling back into the origins of NOLA guitar funk, Big Fish (In A Pool of Piss) kicks off with a groovy Meters inspired guitar, before evolving into an angry anthem. “If you’re gonna live in a pool of piss – Be a Big Fish!” Truer words were never spoken.
On Last Chance, the 90s underground weird alternative movement headed by bands like Primus and Ween start to come through. Going back to the early 90s era of Ween’s records, the Nasty have an affinity for lo fi textures. The vintage equipment is a strength that is used to enhance their sound and style. It adds crunch and dirtiness to each song that reflects the attitude and angst of the music.
The stoner garage rock is back in full force on Dead Planet. “Nothing to eat, nothing to drink on a dead planet.” The dystopian rock anthem has tones of 50 rockabilly.
On Gammon v Pilgrim, 9 O’Clock does their best Primus impression, as unorthodox riffage and megaphone vocals ride a steady beat throughout.
Sick Child anchors side 1. The retro rock groove and psych rock affection has 70s glam spice. A quick musical reflection, the short number escorts you to side 2 like a merry trickster.
Side 2 kicks off with the poppiest jam in the repertoire, Unspool My Heart. “He’s the start of the the porno in his fictional mind, the idiot the village left behind.” The cheeky brit rock single reeks with 60s pop influence and Rolling Stones biker rock elegance.
Terror Couple Kill Colonel has the eastern theme and commentary that made the Clash international sensations in the 80s. Another influence that follows the Nasty through the record. Unhinged from the band, the guitarist jams throughout.
King of Hakney is another Primus inspired suburban rap spoken word quickie. The concept devolves into insanity as the Nasty pull us deeper into their sanctuary. They begin to appear totally cut off from the outside world, free from the demand of superficialities and convention, ambiguously jesting in spite of borrowed time. A radio in the distance blares Sinatra, as Walkman Walk blasts through the chaos. A return to their groovy rock roots and catchy tendencies. Only to give way to the energetic If They Won’t Eat Beef. Opening with a declaration from a TV reporter, message and music collide to provide commentary on the insanity of our times, 9 O Clock Nasty are painfully aware of everything wrong with modern society. They poke fun at it, they release a record in 2 sides, they do everything they want the way they want to, and they rock at it.
The dystopian theme returns on THX-1138, as the Nasty reflect on pandemic orders and restrictions. One wonders if the recording of the album risked repercussions as strict rules limited out of house contact over the last couple of years
We are treated to one last drip of funky flavor on “What Time is Nasty,” as the Nasty Boys do their best Beastie Boys impression. The message is clear, 9’ O’Clock Nasty is when the jams go down. Get with it.
The album, front to back, is art expression at its finest. A derivative of so many essential styles that drips with originality amid the influence. Ripe with commentary that reflect our current condition much like Shakespeare satirically cited the ironies of the elites. The album serves as a collective comment in Orwellian fashion, as if to say “how nice it must be to have a tool to control the masses.” With rebellious punk fever the group has pushed through to provide one authentic effort out of the whole mess. They’re happy to share, under there terms. So listen to it how it was meant to be listened to. Catch Nasty – Side 1 – Side 2.