21. Brian Causey—Man or Astro-Man?
In the ‘90s there was no shortage of bands touring college towns hawking some sort of modern update of surf rock and rockabilly. Long-term this gimmick proved unsustainable, but one band hailing from this movement has demonstrated remarkable staying power; Man or Astro-man? On its initial albums for Estrus Records, the band mixed dark surf instrumental jams—anchored by Brian Causey, aka Star Crunch, whose guitar playing veers between tight control of a melody line and barreling abuse of his reverb coils—with clever vocal samples from old movies.
MOA? claimed very sincerely to be from outer space (they’re actually from Alabama), dressed like astronauts and decorated the stage with devices like tesla coils. As the decade progressed, they signed to Touch & Go and got a little more serious as a post-rock influence crept into their material. They haven’t released much music in the last dozen years but still tour, slaying audiences at club shows and festival appearances. A lot of their longevity stems from the irrepressible charisma of bassist Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard but just as much is owed to Causey beating out stuttering guitar lines on his Univox Hi-Flier.