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The Real Nasty

Paper City

Review by Mark Johnson

The Real Nasty includes bassist Ryan Lukas, guitarist Jacob Groopman, and percussionist Matthew “Smitty” Smith. They are a country/rock trio from the San Francisco Bay Area. The band released this double CD as their debut. This music would sound much better live from a neighborhood bar, but they give you enough of the feeling that it really would rock the stage.  The first CD is actually called “Downtown.” while the second CD is called “The Sticks” The first has a punkier, bluesy sound to it, while the second is more of a country rocker.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
CD 1 - Downtown
The Original

“The Original” opens this debut album, with power electric guitar chords, blunting bass, and drums. It’s a real rocker with great electric guitar solos to open this band’s first recorded sounds. “She wants soft serve / She wants your money.” In short, she wants everything. The vocal almost sounds like something you’d hear on a Saturday Night Live parody.

Time to Lounge
Revving guitars, bass, and drums kick “Time to Lounge” to a quick start. It almost sounds like a punk start, especially when the vocals begin. The more the song develops it almost sounds like a send up to the Police’s “So Lonely, or “Born in the 50s.”
Life of a Dog
This opens fast with slamming guitars, heavy bass and drums. It’s a very strong commentary comparing the life of a dog with living in modern times. The guitars and drums are solid throughout this song. It’s very original and hard to compare to any other band.
KC’s Blues
Grinding guitars and heavy drums open “KC’s Blues,” which is a hard bluesy song. The heavy bluesy lead and bass guitar solos make this one of the best tracks on the album.
Pounding bass and drums get this off to a blasting start. Harmony vocals lighten up the sound of the deep bass and drums. Then a cool lead guitar solo rocks this one into overdrive. The intricate finger picking on the lead electric is offset well by the mashing drums and leaden bass.
New Generation
“New Generation” starts off with a cool guitar riff that drives the rhythm well. This features more of a punky sound than the country rock sound heard on their latest album.
One Last Time
Slow, almost crying vocals open things here. Slow, low bass, drums and electric guitar support a vocals-driven song full of lyrics and moods. The moody vocals come slow almost, as if it delivered amid tears.
I Don’t Love You Anymore
Dark vocals with the opening lyrics, “I Don’t Love You Anymore” changes the pace, and brings this first disc to a close. This one is delivered very slowly with bass, drums and electric lead blistering over the top. The vocals match the depressing tone with lots of deep, dark “oohs” that help you feel the emotion of the song.
CD 2 – The Sticks
The Surprise
Broad, bold bass and electric guitar open “The Surprise” with a rambling country beat. A slow “oompah” beat is complemented with sticks, heavy bass and some good electric chords surrounding rollicking vocals.
Bad Medicine
“Bad Medicine” is a slow rocker full of emotion. It features slow vocals delivered with a rambling beat of mean bass and drums. The lead electric providing some solo interludes in-between the beats.
Never the Plan
This opens with tambourine and rambling drums set to a distinctly country beat. The lead electric guitar fills the gap between the heavy power bass. This song almost sounds like a Johnny Cash track, but this is original.
Words from the Bottle
A slow country waltz or dirge-like beat opens “Words from the Bottle.” “You can never take back the words that you yelled from the bottle.” Yes, it’s an original country song for dancing on weekends. The guitar solo in the middle is good.
A Pretty Nice Place
Outlaws–like guitars open “A Pretty Nice Place,” easily the best song on this disc, and possibly the set. It features excellent vocals and spirited guitars that overtake the slower pace of the rest of the CD. Great harmonies and the heavy bass and drums keep it grounded.
Lay it All Out
There is a nice soft, slow guitar opening to the final cut. The vocals are good, “I’ll take the sun / I’ll take the rain / I’ll take it all and I won’t complain /I checked out as you checked in.” That slow strumming of the guitar is soothing as the bass and drums slowly support. The cymbals provide some highs to offset the lows.
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