Granted, one of MOAM's first hometown gigs drew an audience of exactly one, but since then the band has cultivated sizable followings in Chicago, San Francisco and L.A. CoCo says there's also growing Astroman interest in Europe, where the band's toured four times.

"Overall, we probably do best close to home, in the Southeast," CoCo says. "It's because that's where we've toured most often. Being in school, we could only go out on breaks. That meant weekends and only in an eight-hour radius."

Now that the Alabama space oddities have completed their studies and have their sheepskins firmly in radiation-proof glove, CoCo and crew are busy crisscrossing the country and unloading singles like photon torpedoes. Despite the momentum, CoCo doesn't figure Man or Astroman? is quite ready for a major-label assault: "Not that we won't ever be or that we haven't ever talked about it," he says. "It's just not in our immediate future."

Even so, it seems surf's up for instrumental twang, and this time the men of Astroman really are in synch with earthly pop trends.

"Things like Dick Dale and Pulp Fiction have kind of made people more accepting of instrumental music," CoCo says, his voice nearly lost in the rumble of a passing semi. "I don't think instrumental will ever be the popular genre of music it was at one time, but I think it's starting to get a step up. That helps bands like us."

CoCo pauses. "I guess I should say bands similar to us. There really isn't a band just like us."

Man or Astroman? is scheduled to perform on Sunday, August 13, at Boston's in Tempe, with the Fells, and Hi-Fives. Showtime is 8 p.m.

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