In case their name didn’t tip you off, Man or Astro-man?
are a bunch of kooks. They call themselves Birdstuff, Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard, and Star Crunch, and their onstage costumes are usually radiation suits or overblown spaceman costumes. Plus their albums contain more than their share of sampled dialogue prophesying peril from beyond the stars—in one case, an announcer relays eyewitness reports of alien “Dragonmen” invading New York City. They also channel that geeky energy into expertly played, mostly instrumental surf-punk with a frenetic, wiggly bounce—spring reverb always knocks a riff at least a tad off-balance. Their mid-90s catalog on Estrus and Touch and Go hasn’t lost one gigawatt of its power, and like much of the band’s output, the most recent Man or Astro-man? full-length, 2013’s Defcon 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1
(Chunklet), sounds more ominous and evil than you’d expect from guys who’d name a song “Philip K. Dick in the Pet Section of a Wal-Mart.” —Kevin Warwick