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".

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Sounds of Tomorrow

The Sounds of Tomorrow was a Man or Astro-Man? 7" EP released on Estrus Records in April of 1996 (ES783). The picture sleeve was made from light weight cardstock that had been machine folded and glued on three sides. It was printed partly with metallic ink, giving the single a clean, slightly reflective look. This was another one that was designed by Estrus sideman Art Chantry. Where the title probably makes reference to an electronic music duo that played alongside Del Shannon in the late 1960s, the design itself was inspired by a 1967 Shure Brothers, Inc. stylus cartridge trackability record. Where some other Chantry-designed Astro-Man? EPs varied only slightly from their sources of inspiration, this one made only passing reference, and seems to come more directly from Chantry himself.

The source record, An Audio Obstacle Course, was issued for the purpose of promoting, testing and adjustment of the "Shure V-15 Type II" stereo cartridge. Here is a scan of the record:

Several design aspects of the MOAM? EP find their origins here--the swirly, concentric circle cover graphic, for one. The LP's title, An Audio Obstacle Course, finds its place on the back cover of the EP. There are also references on the MOAM? EP to the single being a "stereophonic demonstration record" and a "trackability test record for stereo cartridges," both taken directly from the source LP. Even the text on the back of The Sounds of Tomorrow seems to draw inspiration from the source LP, using technical-sounding language to joke about how dual-speaker stereo playback will sound better because the listener has two ears.

The single was recorded at Zero Return in Alabama by the itinerant recording engineer Steve Albini. The main track, "The Evil Sounds of Planet Spectra," was from the forthcoming LP Experiment Zero. The acknowledged cover song on this one was “Green-Blooded Love,” previously released by The Shatners on their Planet Pimp Records LP. Members of The Shatners would go on to form the Ne're-Do-Wells and the Hi-Fives. The other two tracks are also covers: "Dick Tracy" being a reworked Ventures tune, and "Wayward Meteor" being a retitled version of "The Wayward Nile" by The Chantays.

The single was released on slightly translucent black vinyl. There were also 600 copies pressed on swirly gray vinyl for the Estrus Crust Club. Here is a scan of both versions:

Thanks to comment section champions Abraham Lincoln III and Benjamin Brinkman for helping me to flesh out this post


  1. Hey, this blog is great!

    One note: "Dick Tracy" is a Ventures cover that's been retitled, and I'm pretty sure that "Wayward Meteor" is a cover too, possibly retitled. I'm sure someone knows the truth. Birdstuff?

    Side note: The second time I saw MOAM? was at a cheesy, all-ages venue in Brandon, MS, mid-1993, and the openers were the Ne'er-Do-Wells, who did a brief set in their Shatners persona, complete with a life-sized William Shatner cardboard cutout and "Green-Blooded Love." Great show.

  2. "Wayward Meteor" is a cover of "The Wayward Nile" by The Chantays.

  3. I'm not so sure Dick Tracy was a surf standard before The Ventures wrote it, if I'm reading this correctly.

    According to internet sources, The Ventures wrote it as the theme to a proposed live-action William Dozier-produced Dick Tracy series in 1967. Only the pilot was filmed and never aired as NBC decided against picking up the series.

    The opening theme as used in the pilot episode, entitled "The Plot To Kill N.A.T.O.", has some interesting distinctions from the version The Ventures released. Namely, the lead guitar features a "2000 lb Bee" fuzz treatment and is accompanied by the captivating lyrics "Dick Tracy - he's a good cop" repeated a few times.

    Notably, on their final tour, Jonny and the Shamen would also cover this song.

  4. I thought it was an old surf song that the Ventures added lyrics to. Then again, my understanding on this is probably not based on anything other than my own muddy memories of conversations with old people. I should probably stick to the facts. I'll rework that part of the post.

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