Prisoners in Their Own Band

There are those couple hours, between a long night of poisoning yourself with various substances and the moment a punishing hangover clamps your head under a drill press, when your synapses feel like they're firing at will, leaving little bullets of incomplete thoughts buzzing around in your head. Sacramento's Sexy Prison capture that dizzy imbalance (minus the skull-splitting finale), spewing out jittery, synth-heavy montages of bass and dissonant electronics, coming off somewhere between a shoe-in on the GSL/Gravity catalog and Point Line Plane meets Aphex Twin. I'd never heard the band before a paper-wrapped, burned copy of their split with Science Victim was passed my way, and to be honest, I can't make head or tail of the packaging, but the songs are damn good. Prison's stuff puts heavy delay/distortion on the vocals--which come from the same frontman who leads Sacramento's avant-hardcore act Corpse Fucks Corpse--so lyrics like "Oh man, I'm so high" collide with church bells and dental drills and, much later on the disc, samples from what sounds like an Eddie Murphy standup record. Everything is chopped up, sticking out, and thrown for a stuttered beat loop, becoming some of the coolest-sounding dance punk/experimental industrial I've heard patched together since a gloomy high-school friend of mine attempted to create his own versions of Severed Heads' work. Sexy Prison come to fuck with our heads Tuesday, September 16, at Re-bar with Science Victim, who ride snotty vocals over tense, off-kilter, overdriven math punk that sounds wired tight enough to break. It should be an excellent pairing, especially with our own synth-pop addicts the Cripples rounding out the bill.

Speaking of overdriven punk, someone has finally had the good sense to release a full-length album from Popular Shapes. The record recently came out on S.F.'s On/On Switch, home to Crimson Sweet and the distributor for Bay Area video star Virgil Porter's Burn My Eye! DVD (a compilation of cool interviews/show footage from the Coachwhips, Numbers, Deerhoof, Extreme Elvis, and other interesting/experimental acts). The Kurt Bloch-produced Shapes disc, Bikini Style, starts in fifth gear and continues speeding through one- and two-minute songs, with vocals shrieking in barely tamed fits while the guitars, bass, and drums pile on top of each other, separating a bit at the choruses only to pile-drive each other in mathematically expanding aftershocks to the finish. Although my favorite Popular Shapes song, "Here Comes the Pancakes," is sadly absent from this debut, I still love tracks like "Speedboat," "Symmetrical Girl," "Outrageous Math Test," and the Pixies-esque "Flattered You're Terrified," and the disc is a testament to one of the most spastic punk acts in the city.

Now that Right On! have called it quits, Dan Wood can concentrate on his massive record collection as he continues to DJ at the Twilight Exit on Saturday nights, spinning soul, R&B, mod, and '70s punk selections with Johnny Samra. I stopped by the bar recently and was reminded how cool a space it is--especially when it's hot enough to take over the back patio. The Twilight is removed enough from the beaten path that it still feels like a neighborhood bar on the weekends, and Wood and Samra definitely make the place their own come Saturday night.

On Monday, September 15, punk booker Brian Foss will take over the Monday Movies at the Sunset for an Alice Cooper attack, showing a movie billed as Alice Cooper's Special Forces, along with some rare Alice footage. As always, it's a free show, and if the film is anything as good as the Iggy Pop footage shown last winter, it'll be a worthy way of winding up the week.

And finally, it's been a while since the Blood Brothers have been in town, as the band has been on one long tour since the release of Burn Piano Island, Burn. For those hungry for something new before their next appearance at Graceland on October 17, the band is releasing a new single on Friday, September 12, and there's a DVD coming out either in September or October from Strictly Amateur Films featuring the Blood Brothers as well as other Three One G bands Swing Kids, the Locust, Cattle Decapitation, and Orthrelm. Check back with for more info.