Man or Astro-Man?

  • Man or Astro-Man?
  • Is It ... Man or Astro-Man? (Estrus) 1993 
  • Destroy All Astromen! (Estrus) 1994 
  • Your Weight on the Moon (UK One Louder) 1994 
  • Intravenous Television Continuum (UK One Louder) 1995 
  • Live Transmissions From Uranus! (Homo-Habilis) 1995 
  • Project Infinity (Estrus) 1995 
  • What Remains Inside a Black Hole. (Aus. Au-go-go) 1995 
  • Deluxe Men in Space EP (Touch and Go) 1996 
  • Experiment Zero (Touch and Go) 1996 
  • 1000X (Touch and Go) 1997 
  • Made From Technetium (Touch and Go) 1997 
  • EEVIAC: Operational index and reference guide, including other modern computational devices (Touch and Go) 1999 
  • Spectrum of Infinite Scale (Touch and Go) 2000 

Considering how many garage bands have been formed by those whose heads were shrunk by spending their youth glued to the TV watching monster movies, it stands to reason that trashy science-fiction would have polluted its share of minds as well. Taking a few obvious cues from Devo but going far deeper into the land of cheap and dodgy, the four men of Alabama’s prolific Man or Astro-Man? (whose names, naturally, are Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard, Dexter X (aka Dr. Deleto and His Invisible Vaportron), Star Crunch and Birdstuff — Birdstuff?) play reverbed whammybar guitar instrumentals, faster and looser but not unrelated to the usual surf-flavored twang, and dress them up with comical bits of film dialogue, instruction records and various intrusions of pseudo-technology on a budget-the kind of thing that would have made Ed Wood proud. When they open their mouths to sing (as they do from time to time), the lyrics are strictly of a piece with the spectacular packaging.

Since 1992, MOAM has issued something like two dozen singles and a stack of full-length albums; their rambunctious pure-fun emissions are a can’t-miss proposition for those of a mind to tune in. Destroy All Astromen! comes to Earth with a couple of relevant Ventures covers, the guest organ-ized “Landlocked” and the delightfully sung “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Love Theme.” Project Infinity is a singles compilation with some new tracks; Live Transmissions From Uranus! documents a Florida concert from late ’94. Deluxe Men in Space previews Experiment Zero with “Maximum Radiation Level” but its other five tracks (including a couple of covers) are non-LP.

[Terry Rompers]