Man or Astro-Man? go surfing in outer spaceon February 14, 2020 at 10:47 pm

There’s a difference between surf and instrumental rock–not every rock ‘n’ roll tune without a vocal is surf. The likes of Duane Eddy, Link Wray, and even Booker T. & the MGs have all been mistaken for surf artists, but none of them have had that “wet” reverb sound favored by west-coast guitarists such as Dick Dale and Dave Myers. However, Man or Astro-Man?–who emerged out of Auburn, Alabama, in the 90s–blur the line that divides those two traditions (and they’ve occasionally used vocals too). Taking cues from classic surf and the Ventures’ echo-effect-laden 1964 album The Ventures in Space, they go far beyond retro nostalgia, incorporating punk attitude, modern synths and sound-effect machines, and dramatic samples (including snippets of Spider-man storybook records and “control room” dialogue from science-fiction serials). At their shows, the band members wear space suits and assume extraterrestrial identities, and they’ve been known to send other musicians out on the road as their “clones.” Except for a brief hiatus in the early 2000s, Man or Astro-Man? have remained in orbit, continuing to find new angles without stagnating or bastardizing their sound. Their most recent album, 2013’s Steve Albini-produced Defcon 5. . . 4. . . 3. . . 2. . . 1, prominently features hard power chords and often recalls Davie Allan’s soundtracks to 1960s biker movies. All props to any band who would dare take a Harley-Davidson into outer space. v

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *