Welcome to my Astro-Man archive

This site is meant to be a visual archive of every variation of every Man... or Astro-Man? 7" single ever released. Most of what you'll see here comes from my personal collection. As information pours in I will post it, so please comment if you think you have something to add. I have no intention of posting MP3s here. I'm sure you can find the music elsewhere. This is just an attempt to collect information about the band's prolific creation of singles into one spot. If you can get past the fact that I rarely clean my scanner, I think you'll enjoy what you find here.

Use the Table of Contents on the sidebar if you are looking for details on a specific 7".


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jabberjaw No. 6 – Pure Sweet Hell


Jabberjaw No. 6 – Pure Sweet Hell was a compilation box-set that included four 7” records. It was released by Mammoth Records in 1996 (MR0133-7). It was envisioned as a fund raiser for the financially troubled Jabberjaw Café, a coffee house and music venue in a seedy neighborhood of Los Angeles. The club has since closed. Man or Astro-Man? contributed one song: “Earth Station Radio”. There were a total of 16 bands on the compilation, each contributing one song.

The 4 x 7” box-set came in a cardboard box that was designed to look like a pack of cigarettes. Each of the individual records was designed using images taken from vintage smoking ads. The records were pressed on black vinyl, and the picture sleeves were printed in black and white. Here is a scan of the record that featured the MOAM? song:




There were four inserts that came in the box. There was a Jabberjaw postcard, a Jabberjaw/Mammoth Records merch insert, a book of matches and an ashtray. This first scan shows both sides of the postcard, the merch insert and a white book of matches:


And here is a look at the ashtray:


I've also seen the matchbook printed on a yellow card. It could be that there are other colors as well. Here's a large shot of the yellow version:



And I've even seen a version come up for sale with a green matchbook. Here's a screen grab of that variation:



And here is the whole package (with the white matches and without the ashtray):



This appearance by Man or Astro-Man? was one of a few instances where they did not credit a rhythm guitarist. At this point Dexter X was on the way out, as was Starcrunch. The Clone Tour would soon follow, Crunch would leave to join a touring version of Archers of Loaf and MOAM? would regroup with two new guitarists (Blazar and Trace Reading). As for this recording, though, they were a three piece. In this state they would contribute to this comp, to the Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks comp and would release the Ex Machina 7" for Touch & Go.

For vinyl completists, this is a tough box-set to track down. Since it also features tracks by Jawbreaker, Low and Elliot Smith (playing guitar on the Mary Lou Lord track), it ends up being the piece that completes many different vinyl collections. And believe me, there are few things more disheartening than losing an eBay auction to some twit trying to fill out his Elliot Smith vinyl collection. If it’s just the songs you’re after, the set is still fairly easy to find on CD.

3 comments:

  1. I never bothered to get this one because I found the CD version the very day it was released,and I'm not even the slightest fan of any other band on this comp otherwise I would have for sure.

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  2. i have an extra of just the moam 7" from this set if you would like to keep your moam vinyl collection complete.

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  3. Through the miracle of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, here's some recording notes on this release - and a mystery.

    This comes from the Birdstuff's old tour diaries from Astroman.com:

    "February 28, 1996
    Zero Return: Inside the Phantom Cruiser

    Another day in the studio with the mystical, psychedelic frenzy that is the Man or Astro-Man? love machine. Okay, so we haven't quite progressed into psychadelia, but just wait 'til the year 1999 - Man or Astro-Man? "Underground Fire 2." On this day we did tracks for the most recent Jabberjaw compilation on Mammoth records and one for the Space Ghost compilation for...eeek!...Geffen.

    Yes, unfortunately, we're still one of those lame-o idealistic indie-dork bands that have an irrational disdain for all things corporate. However, when the project itself, such as the Schoolhouse Rock Rocks! compilation on Atlantic is cooler that the label is evil, we have no choice but to lend a hand, and when Jan and Jace are involved, we've absolutely got to hop aboard the Inviso-Belt Band Wagon.

    "Destruction by Destructo-Ray" became a two and a half minute frenzied sci-surf ode to those famous Space Ghost power bands. The tune for the universally-heralded Jabberjaw, we entitled "Earth Station Radio," and it featured sampled voices for strange alien vocal chords. I was very happy with both songs, and do hope that at least one of them tackles the American Top 40 with the same fervor as the "V" television series attacked the Nielsen's."

    So, I'm curious as to why MOAM? didn't make it to the Space Ghost comp., which I'm pretty sure was released, but I really want to know what happened to the track "Destruction by Destructo-Ray." Is this a lost track, or is it possibly the same song as "Structo" on Made from Technetium? Any guesses?

    One more thing: I think the reason that Dexter X isn't listed on this recording and was only occasionally credited on releases from 1995-1998 is he didn't actually perform in the studio with the band, and when he was credited, it was for roles like "Vacuum Silence" or "Live Configuration Assistant."

    From things I've read over the years, it seems like MOAM? made a concerted effort to do all recording as a three-piece after Captain Zeno's departure, and used Dexter X to flesh out what they did in the studio on stage. It's possible that Dexter played on some studio release somewhere, and he's most likely playing on the 1997 Peel Sessions (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/johnpeel/sessions/1990s/1997/Jul13manorastroman/), but I'm pretty sure most recordings from this period only feature the core Star Crunch/Birdstuff/Coco triumvirate.

    ALIII

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