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The Phenomenauts, with the A.K.A.'s and Maldroid

This theatrical quintet suggests They Might Be Giants abducted by Man or Astro-man? and forced to re-create old Lost in Space episodes. Fueled by an explosive mix of wit and whimsy, the Phenomenauts perform clad in custom Star Trek-style jumpsuits, wielding futuristic devices such as the Streamerator 2000, a rifle-shaped device that launches rolls of toilet paper into the audience during the show.

Originally an '80s cover band named Space Patrol, they rechristened themselves in 2000 and a couple years later released their debut, Rockets and Robots. The record built on a blueprint of rockabilly, surf and organ-fueled '60s garage, guided by Captain Chreehos's thumping double bass and Commander Angel Nova's gruff, anxious yelp, which is reminiscent of the Bosstones' Dicky Barrett.

Their phenomenal (sorry!) third album, For All Mankind, takes a new wave turn from a sizzling cover of the Polecats hit "Make a Circuit with Me" to punky rave-up "Science and Honor," to infectious, intergalactic love song "Cyborg," in which Nova mourns his cybernetic soulmate. "Made her smart, made her think I was funny...made her kind, her disposition sunny," he sings. "But when I turned her on, she wasn't turned on by me, I guess Cyborgs can see who they want to see." Clever fun.

 
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