Prison gave me a bunch of acid and I ate some of it in my Subaru on a Saturday morning outside of Matt Lilly’s house in Rockaway Beach. I told them I was going to “save it for the right time.” I guess what I meant was “as soon as no one’s looking.”

Matt’s the drummer in Prison, a heady, shreddy mix of weird blues, krautrock, and psych punk stuck in a locked circular groove. Think of it as a drone-y, hypnotizing version of the Stooges or MC5, or Can’s heavier moments, or even a slowed-down Hawkwind in an extended Grateful Dead jam session. It’s a band stuck in time—and probably should have existed 50 years ago at an acid freakout, since their music is best consumed while dosed. Prison’s new LP Upstate is a loose and spacey 91 minutes of hard groove to infinity, and in an era of verses synced for optimal TikTok posting, it’s a long, deep breath of DMT smoke. With five tracks that are more than 11 minutes long and three of them clocking in at over 20 minutes, that’s a lot of inhaling.

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The band came together when Matt started rando-jamming with Sarim Al-Rawi peak-COVID/pre-vaccine, and shortly thereafter Paul Majors was incorporated by virtue of friendship, respect, general awe, and a shared practice space in Williamsburg. Other folks pop in and out of the lineup, including members of Silver Jews, Sic Alps, Weak Signal, Foster Care, Love as Laughter (R.I.P.), and that guy Smoota, to name a few.


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