Friday, November 15, 2013

Reel to Reel to Reel to Reel




Vintage media captured in antique formats
Please press play now to begin your journey
The reels spin slowly
Winding the tapes
The turntable belt needs to be replaced
The hard drive is corrupted playback the trip hop drumbeats and the light above the ceiling knows no boundaries
Lay down the tracks hipsters and my dear hiptress
It’s all about the sound not the function or form and the sounds can change
Hit rewind for just a moment

Yours in repose,
Count Robot


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stranger Than A Stranger Land



Some updates on the Astro Al news front….
We’ve got a lot of footage shot for an upcoming video. The song title will remain a secret for now…

While gigs have been few and far between that should change next year. Astro Al is not going away no matter how much you may want us too.

Count Robot wrote a short sci-fi comedy story called Infinite Parking. It is available as an e story that you can download from Amazon for $1.

Atlanta space rock metal masters, Spaceseed will be playing their first UK gig next year at the Sonic Rock Festival. Get ready for your face to explode! Count Robot has of course been writing some words for Spaceseed for the past years. This is great news as the band has long wanted to go to England and play in the country that birthed space rock.

Yours in strange news,
Count Robot


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Legend of Zeke’s Assault upon the Phantom Castle


Night sky swollen black
There should be stars there is faint light but no points visible
Only in a dream world can there be a sky like this
Rolling through the parking lot in a silver car
Somewhere in mysterious mountains not the West but somewhere not home here in the South
Small wisps of fog slither over the ground
Get to the place to stop and park
All of the car is gone in that moment except for the driver side door, which I am holding by the handle
The window is down
Then that too is gone all of it
Cars that had been dimly and indistinctly present were also absent
Fell to the ground in sudden fit of color torrents of collars patterns complexities and rushing art storms all around
Flesh stretching bending fate diamond light scream into null flame of goose baby rabbit upstanding in a corn flake god’s cereal bowl
Everything becoming something more than once and less than negative
Flashing back to tsunami parades of rainbow pulsations
And then dawn whispered…

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Favorite B Flicks




We at Astro Al are made of B movies.

What is a B Movie? Well if you don’t know, honestly you probably shouldn’t read this blog. No offense.

So what B movies make up our DNA? Well about a gazillion.

Of course there’s the obvious, Plan 9 and Ed Wood’s wonderful flimatic ilk.

But there’s also the other stuff…
Like, Something Weird. Check out the trailer for this brilliant strange fest.

Godzilla vs the Smog Monster. Giant radioactive environmentally conscious dinosaurs fight waste product monsters with a hippy soundtrack? Yes that sounds great to us!

So dig your way through some fun B flicks and let them mutate you as they may. Who knows maybe after watching a few you’ll want to start your own B movie band.

Yours in cinematic garbage,
Count Robot

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A. Lee Martinez is Awesome


Dudettes and dudes it’s as simple as this, A. Lee Martinez is an awesome writer.

For those who don’t this wonderfully talented scribe, he’s written ten novels. His books include the Automatic Detective (it’s about a robot detective in a future city who’s best friend is a talking gorilla who drives a cab), Monster (this one tells the tale of a guy named Monster who catches monsters for a living), and Gil’s All Fright Diner (which follows the adventures of a vampire and his redneck werewolf companion who must deal with undead cows and a demonic magic eight ball).

Why do I dig his stuff so?

The wit, the inventiveness, the willingness to play around with formula, the fact that they are not part of a series or ongoing universe, all these things and the simple fact that, he is a good writer.
His books aren’t any longer than they need to be. The endings are well executed and fit the flow of the books. Sometimes they are happy and uplifting, sometimes not so much, but again they all work in the context of the novels style.
My two favorites of all his work thus far are Chasing the Moon and A Nameless Witch.
But here is one of the coolest things about his books. None of his books are bad. Most writers by the time they hit ten books have at least one or two weak entries. Not one of his books is even close to poor. That is one impressive feat and thus far they have all had different flows, themes, and ideas. Sure of course his style carries across his material but hey isn’t that what style is all about? And when you’re writing about demonic ducks, trampy angels, and Lovecraftian insanity that is some awesome style to have shine on.

So go get reading the good stuff! The A. Lee Martinez stuff!

Yours in outstanding literature,
Count Robot

Friday, August 2, 2013

Inspirations



There are so many for us. Astro Al is a blender of psychedelia and a sonic forge of stupidity.

The Doors. The strange lyrics the blend of lead keys and lead guitars jazz drums. They had it man.

Syd and his childlike lenses of words.

Robyn Hitchcock. Fun and seriously funny and profoundly profound in an amusing way. There is nothing wrong with a witty phrase.


And of course no can William Shatner like William Shatner.


Yours in reflected oddity,
Count Robot

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Memories of the Starlight Drive In


Thad Michaels was the owner of the Starlight Drive In or at least he was the entire time I worked there. I think he still owns the place even though it’s been closed for years now and yeah don’t buy any of that crap that it’s still open. The last time I drove by it there are weeds growing everywhere, the whole place is falling apart, it’s pretty sad but drive in movie theaters are dead sure there are still a few around but they're the ones that just don’t know they’re dead yet.
            There were a lot of funny things about Thad, don’t get me wrong, he was really a great guy to work for, I mean he paid great for a movie theater, I still can’t believe how much he paid me and no I ain’t going to tell you plus he helped me get some great pieces of tail more than once. Still he was a bit weird. The oddest thing about him was that, he always looked the same. He was one of those guys that never looked older. I worked for him for twenty years and he looked just the same as the first day I met him, his weight always seemed to be the same too, he looked like a slim jock. Sometimes he talked strange stuff about reality not being real for much longer or some crazy talk like that but hey he was still a pretty cool guy and if you own a haunted drive in you’re bound to be a little weird and that place was haunted for sure, I saw some of the ghosts myself.
            Thad sure could pick the flicks. He hand picked most of the movies we ran and he got us all sorts of exclusive deals which kept the place packed every night we were open. Our lot was only empty at closing time even when it was pouring out. He got us some great flicks like Vampire Hookers from Outer Space, it had some pretty hot vampire babes in it and Thad hired some gorgeous chicks to walk around the lot dressed like vampires, he even hooked me up with one and it was awesome, he was the best boss I ever had.
We showed that movie, Satan’s Sister it wasn’t really good but there were so many topless broads in it that people loved it, I hated that stupid love song that was in it, think it was called, Into the Sky it was a hit I guess.

He hooked us up with some weird flicks too like that one Attack of the Prehistoric Beast, I couldn’t figure out if it was a comedy or just two movies spliced into one.
Undead Kiss was pretty out there too, there was almost no dialogue, just all sorts of psychedelic music and messed up sounds.
            I don’t know how or where he found the Burning Witch but I’m pretty sure we were one of the only places in the world that showed that flick. I heard the rumors about a women getting burned alive at the stake in it but it didn’t look like a snuff movie to me.

Vincent “Vin” Breen
Former projectionist for the Starlight Drive In Movie Theater

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Brighter Side of Darkness



There is a dearth of negative energy on the interwebbies these days.

I’m really negative on all the doom and gloom and I hate all the hatred on display on blogs, faceboot, and all the other anti-social media outlets.

Count Robot isn’t on the net to be a downer, a negative force, gloomy glum.
I am here to be a light in the funhouse of the universe.
So you will not see me wasting my time bad mouthing creative types and things that I don’t enjoy.
Rather you will hear me rant and rave and enthuse about the greats and the maybe not so great artistic folk that I do dig (writers like A. Lee Martinez, H.P. Lovecraft, painters like Van Gogh, directors like Ed Wood and David Lynch, and music like Robyn Hitchcock, Rush, the Beatles, and so so many more).
See I can’t just understand why its worth my precious time on this sphere bashing something I don’t like when I could be praising what is groovy to me. Why should I negatively promote what I dislike? It should be all about the good.

So get grooving folks!



Yours in happy land,
Count Robot

Friday, June 14, 2013

More videos with Dan Margarita



We like acting in our friend Dan Margarita’s videos as I’ve mentioned before

Dan writes some pretty funny and cool songs.
DNA Girl acted in one of my favorites of his. The tune is called Boston Love Song. It’s witty and wistful at once. That’s a pretty hard thing to do and Dan does it quite well. 



Here’s another one we had fun with called, Now That We’ve Seen Each Other Naked. Again this is one of those tunes that’s rare in that its funny yet warm and honest. DNA Girl puts in a cameo like appearance in a pivotal role. She got her own trailer for her appearance. I grew a moustache for this part. I swear it’s not the truth....


Your music junky
Count Robot

Thursday, June 6, 2013

You’re Dead, So Shut Up




The track You’re Dead, So Shut Up is of course about a husband nagged from beyond the grave by a zombie wife. It’s from our cd, Naughty Kitty. The words were written as an ode to horror punk. I’m a big fan of horror punk master monsters, the Misfits.

We’ve done two versions of this video.
The initial stab at it (pun is indeed intended) was too short. It didn’t capture the full visual story we wanted to tell.
Included here in the blog is the extended version, which is the better of the two. I added some swirling synths to the beginning of the video so there was an audio bed for the full video.
In the story a mad scientist kills his interfering wife and she returns to blab, blab, nag, and nag. He can’t escape from her so he tries to kill her… again and again and again.


This video was partially shot at one of our favorite locations, the Ballardvale Café. Drop on by for some fine coffee and vittles.
I would very much like to thank David Breen and Michael Dubson who both acted in this video. They did a great job. Thanks guys!

From beyond,
Count Robot

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Psychedelic Drive In Music


The Starlight Drive In was closed for a long time.
There are some who say the Starlight never closed.
Others say it was never really open at all.
They say it is a burden to own it, this theater is a curse from something that is not a part of our universe.
The stars sparkle overhead and all beneath is not but dust and in long epochs of time even that light will be naught.
If you come to the drive in on any given night you might see amazing double features such as Cult of Frankenstein, the story of the mad followers of the twisted scientist who perverts all to create life, and Mansion of Dracula, the horrifying tale of a house that’s haunted by the blood of its maker and by the memories of its owner.


Are you in the future or the past?
Can you tell if you’re real as you park next to a car that’s no longer there?
Welcome to the Starlight Drive In. We hope you enjoy the show.

From your projectionist,
Count Robot

Friday, May 24, 2013

Swamphead Blues


Out here in the swamp where I does live we got lots of stories and the such like.
One of them here stories my pappy dun told me is what this here song is alls about.
I gots me a dog that moos and the only kangaroos I dun meet here taint got a choice to make about a whole lot of nothing.

Sometimes things get stuck in my gall wrangling head and I ain’t gots no way ways to get it out other than singing my ways through it.
When we was making this here video we was attacked by an army of ticks. They followed us home and kept a climbing and a crawling all over us. I hates ticks. It was like Attack of the Killer Ticks. Someone should make that into a movie.
Also yous might notice a seen where one of them here actors spits out some teeth. Them there are real human teeth that belong to that same actor and dun was pulled from his mouth at one point. Honest honey bunny.
Don’t say there ain’t no suffering for this arty stuff.


Shrewdly yours,
Billy Bob Grumpy Joe Billy Bob Jimmy Joe Esquire the Fourth

Friday, May 17, 2013

Eartling Idiots


It’s no secret that we are big fans of Ed Wood, both the flick and the director himself. The movie that Tim Burton directed about Ed Wood is in my humble opinion the best film Burton ever made.

Ed Wood the man, is a testament to doing it yourself and just going after a vision and getting it done. Sure the results were a bizarre mess but that is their joy.
If we even get a partial bit of that joy of spectacularly hilarious disasters in our recordings then we are achieving our goal.
I think in hindsight this track is a bit too long.

I do often wonder what superior aliens would think of us if they ever came to our planet. I’m sure their first thought would be, how stupid are these monkeys?

Of course Plan Nine from Outer Space is amongst our favorite Ed Wood films. So this was our loving tribute to that film and all things sci-fi.

Transmitting from a brain dead planet,
Count Robot

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Onion Town




In the not so distant past we did a gig at the premiere of Onion Town which is a variety show which is held at the historical Tapley Hall in Danvers, Mass. A nice space with some cool stuff on display. Onion Town is an ongoing series of gigs and you should go and check them out. Contact Tapley hall to find out the schedule.


The show is hosted and run by Dan Tremblay. Dan does some goofball standup and plays some cool 60’s cover tunes. This show is not an open mike. Dan lines the acts up ahead of time.
Dan himself was up first. Seems apropos seeing as how it’s his shindig.


Next up was someone who’s name I’ve forgotten. Sorry. She was good though did a fun Janis Joplin cover while her son and guest star bopped about.


Then MC David Breen introduced the next act after ranting about Sesame Street.


This dude was cool. Did some blues tunes with just his voice and a harmonica.


Then up next was Michael Bloom. He did three great original tunes of his. That song of his Restless is very catchy.


David Breen came back and introduced us after a rant about Starbucks being the people’s coffee. That one is just for you David.


At this point Astro Al was up to get freaked out. We played three tunes. Ghost Town, Dr. Gumdrop, and Steampunk. During Steampunk the singer’s son played the part of an airship and ran all around the room. It was a darn fun time.


After our set there was an impromptu acoustic sing along on This Land.


Next was Captain David Fork Tongue telling a spooky pirate story.


After that a woman whose name I don’t know read some jokes.


Then a dude got up and sang a few tunes.

And that was it. A good night full of fun stuff. Admission was only five bucks and that was a lot of entertainment and the admission included free snack food and soda. If you like a good fun time you should check Onion Town. We will be back to play there again sooner or later.

Your scribe,
Count Robot

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Outsider Music



Perhaps you’ve heard the term Outsider Music. For those not in the know here is the deal, the term refers to people who operate outside the standards of music writing and don’t conform to normal song structure either because they consciously reject it or don’t understand the supposed norms of song construction (verse, chorus, etc.). It’s music by people outside the commercial industry of music.

The New Hampshire 60’s band, The Shaggs are a good example of this style of music. Other folks in this genre include Tiny Tim, Jandek, and Syd Barrett. Check them out and see what you think. Not sure if Syd really falls into this category to my way of thinking, but given the fact that he was once the lead singer for Pink Floyd his name is a little more recognizable so he does make a good reference point for this discussion.

So you might be wondering why am I blithering on about these types of folks.
Well a question came to me… Is Astro Al outsider music? Do I care if we are?
Well as to whether I care much or not… I guess I must since I’m writing a blog about this subject.
So are we outsider music? Let’s check…
We do produce our material outside of the recording industry.
We don’t consciously follow or break song structure. Often times we start a song with a chorus, which is against the thought process of most songs. Now in all honesty we never did it because we wanted to purposefully reject songwriting rules, we did just because we thought it sounded cool and felt it made the song better. When we work on our tunes we just do what we think makes that piece the best it can be we just let our minds go and if its verse, chorus, fine, if not that’s fine too.
So are we outsider music?

Call us outsider music if you want. That choice is up to you.
I will always think of Astro Al as psychedelic B horror/sci-fi music and that label is good enough for me.


From the outside realms,
Count Robot

Friday, April 26, 2013

our friend Dan


We like acting in our friend Dan Margarita’s videos.

Dan writes some pretty funny and cool songs.

Dan cast us in this video for his song, Carol Merrell.
I was miscast, as a cop. Love the blend of black and white and color in this one.

It all started for us with this one, Stitches and Nudity. We spent a great day working on this one with a gaggle of our friends.


Yours in video madness
Count Robot

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Questioning the DNA Girl


A brief interview conducted with DNA Girl from Astro Al on the winding road…
Count Robot: What would you say is your biggest influence on Astro Al?
DNA Girl: Monty Python, 60’s avent garde movement, Robyn Hitchcock and the Three Stooges. We’ve been compared to the Bonzo Dog Band.
Count Robot: What is your view of playing live verses playing a song in the recording studio?
DNA Girl: More nervous live, more relaxed in the studio. Love the audience reactions but playing in the studio we can experiment more.
Count Robot: What’s your favorite live gig we’ve ever done?
DNA Girl: The Landing Pad in Philadelphia. We had a ball there and people seemed to get us there.
Count Robot:  What was your favorite recording experience?
DNA Girl: The thing that stands out the most to me are the videos we made. Some of the most interesting things is when we are recording against other peoples music like when Joe Davis (from Harts Horn) or Brian Fowler (from Spaceseed) contributed music.
Count Robot: Which video is your favorite?
DNA Girl: Hands down, You’re Dead, So Shut Up, had a ball doing that one. Rio Santos was a hoot too. It was fun not having to play the straight character. It’s been fun having our friends in these videos. It’s turned into an extension of our old theater group.
Count Robot: Where do you get your inspiration?
DNA Girl: A lot of is from crazy dreams, like the song Cocoa Clouds Hides the Chocolate Dimension. I just woke up one day with that phrase in my head and Rodney the Rodent Roadster was based on a dream.

Your correspondent,
Count Robot


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ghost Story


Many of the best horror stories leave it to the reader to fill in the gaps and use the darkest parts of their own imaginations to fully develop the terror of the tale they are reading. The HP Lovecraft story, The Music of Erich Zann is an excellent example of this type of fiction. If you like a good creepy story and haven’t read the Music of Erich Zann than seek it out.
With our track Ghost Story we took that approach.
The idea of suggesting enough things to send the listener down many shadow filled paths.
What happened between Jack and his wife? Did he really love her and she him? Was the ghost trying to please Jack or did she want something else?
The video was shot in an impressionistic style to attempt to emphasize the gothic mood.
Some of the houses in the video are no longer standing.
The cats in the video just happened to be there while we were filming. It was an interesting coincidence to say the least.
So here it is, from Pet Noizes, our horror fiction, Ghost Story.


Supernaturally yours,
Count Robot

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dollhouse of the Damned


DNA Girl finds dolls to be creepy.
I’ve always thought that dolls are an odd and weird totem for our society. We project onto them the things we want to be and the things we fear to be and do. They are portals to our imagination.
And sometimes our imagination is a very frightening place.

From Pet Noizes here is The Dollhouse of the Damned.



Eerily yours,
Count Robot

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pet Noizes



We have long been friends with Joe Davis who records under the alias Harts Horn. Harts Horn rocks and it is a cool privilege to have played and recorded with Joe.
Some years back we decided to record a split cd with Harts Horn. Since we both treasure the 60’s music scene we figured why not nod to a classic 60’s musical trove of history and mystery, Pet Sounds. Thus we dubbed our split cd Pet Noizes.
Although we had recorded three Astro Al cds before working on Pet Noizes, in many ways I really consider this to be the one where we found our identity. From the outset of Pet Noizes we aimed to make the majority of our tracks horror/sci-fi themed. We had always talked about being a B movie horror/sci-fi band but up until that album we weren’t one.
Check out this track Evil Organs that was built around samples from the movie the Bloody Pit of Horror.



Funny thing about Pet Noizes is we turned every track we did on it into a video with the exception of A Night at the Beach. We would make that one into a video too if we had a million dollars for a budget.
But the point is here that all these other tracks heavily lent themselves to the visual world.
Thanks Joe for suggesting we do this split cd. If we hadn’t gone down this road I’m not sure we would have found our true identity.
From the Outer Voids,
Count Robot