12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the '90s, the booming underground college-radio scene that had started in the '80s continued to thrive. Many bands found niches in older genres that had once enjoyed a brief in-style moment in those heady days of the '50s and '60s. One case in point was the Auburn, Ala.–based Man or Astroman?, which took Dick Dale's early-'60s surf-rock instrumentals and added a new wave/punk edge, as well as outer-space kitsch. After some cult success in the '90s, the band went on hiatus in the '00s, only performing a few strategic shows to keep itself in the public eye. Since 2010, Man or Astroman? has stepped up its performances. In 2013, the band released the excellent Defcon 5…4…3…2…1—and has never sounded better. Recorded in Chicago (with longtime engineer Steve Albini) and in Birmingham, Ala. (with Daniel Farris), Defcon features everything fans could hope for. Space-age surf instrumentals have defiant growls and even a rare vocal move here and there ("Disintegrate," "Arc," "Cocoon"), solidifying the group's underrated chops and accessibility.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the '90s, the booming underground college-radio scene that had started in the '80s continued to thrive. Many bands found niches in older genres that had once enjoyed a brief in-style moment in those heady days of the '50s and '60s. One case in point was the Auburn, Ala.–based Man or Astroman?, which took Dick Dale's early-'60s surf-rock instrumentals and added a new wave/punk edge, as well as outer-space kitsch. After some cult success in the '90s, the band went on hiatus in the '00s, only performing a few strategic shows to keep itself in the public eye. Since 2010, Man or Astroman? has stepped up its performances. In 2013, the band released the excellent Defcon 5…4…3…2…1—and has never sounded better. Recorded in Chicago (with longtime engineer Steve Albini) and in Birmingham, Ala. (with Daniel Farris), Defcon features everything fans could hope for. Space-age surf instrumentals have defiant growls and even a rare vocal move here and there ("Disintegrate," "Arc," "Cocoon"), solidifying the group's underrated chops and accessibility.

TITLE TIME
3:13
2:35
2:46
3:15
1:57
3:01
2:37
3:09
4:06
2:15
4:03
2:44

About Man or Astro-Man?

As part of the surf revival movement of the early '90s (Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Laika & the Cosmonauts, the re-emergence of the great Dick Dale, etc.), Auburn's Man or Astro-man? specializes in a slightly different variation on the genre, self-described as space-age surf. Formed in 1992, the quartet originally consisted of members who went by such off the wall aliases as Birdstuff (drums), Star Crunch (guitar), Dr. Delecto & his Invisible Vaportron (bass), and Electronic Monkey Wizard (on something called alternate-universe bass), Man or Astro-man? combined the classic surf sounds of the '60s along with the quirky humor and approach of such groundbreaking groups as Devo. The group issued albums at an extremely brisk rate throughout the '90s (a few of which were engineered by renowned punk/alternative guru Steve Albini) -- 1993's Is It...Man or Astro Man?; 1994's Destroy All Astromen!!; 1995's Project Infinity; 1996's Experiment Zero; 1997's What Remains Inside a Black Hole, Live Transmissions From Uranus, and Made From Technetium; plus 1999's EEVIAC: Operational Index & Reference Guide. The group has been able to successfully overcome the defection of two original members (Dr. Delecto and Star Crunch), as Man or Astro-man? pressed on into the 21st century with such further releases as 2000's A Spectrum of Infinite Scale, plus a pair of releases in 2001, the limited release A Spectrum of Finite Scale and the compilation Beyond the Black Hole, the latter of which combined What Remains Inside a Black Hole along with B-sides and outtakes. The band eventually went on hiatus, but reformed briefly in 2006 to play at the Touch and Go 25th anniversary show. The band reformed in earnest in 2010, playing a handful of shows while working on new material. Their first new album in over a decade, Defcon 5...4...3...2...1, landed in 2013. ~ Greg Prato

  • FORMED
    1992

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