Young Astronauts Club began with the songwriting of Boston-based teenager Michael Macintosh in the 1990s.
A student of guitar, piano and vocals since childhood, Macintosh began singing and writing songs for informal, after-school jams and lo-fi recording sessions with fellow high school jazz band members who were also enamored with the punk sounds of Sex Pistols, Bad Brains and Ramones, the metal of Black Sabbath, Metallica and Anthrax, the alternative rock of Faith No More, Pixies and Jane's Addiction, the post-punk of Public Image Limited, Bauhaus and The Cure, the new wave sounds of Duran Duran, INXS and U2, the electronica of Kraftwerk, Moby and Orbital, the hip-hop of Public Enemy, Ice T and Run D.M.C. -but were also interested in pioneering a new direction in music - which would eventually lead to the formation of an entirely new genre called "post rock".
The first professional recording sessions yielded the 3-song cassette-only e.p. "Anger For Sale", which won the band opening spots with major Boston-area artists such as Heretix, Milkmoney, Cobalt 60 and more, at venues such as The Rat, T.T. The Bear's Place, Bunratty's and The Middle East. The band quickly gained a large local following, and were featured on radio stations such as WFNX and WJUL in 1993 and 1994, also performing at local high schools, colleges and music festivals.
Despite an ever-changing live band line-up, it was now time to record and release a full album, which was the debut "Six Plus Seven", written almost entirely by Macintosh. A line-up that consisted of Macintosh playing several instruments in the studio spent all of 1995 in Darron Burke's "Cold Room Studio" on Harrison Avenue in Boston, while cassettes made their way across the pond to London and Dublin, where the band gained significant major label attention. Despite interest from several corporate record entities, the band insisted on releasing the debut full-length album on Macintosh's own Please Recordings label at the beginning of 1996.
That year, the live band toured extensively across the Northeast United States and into Canada despite continued line-up changes, which, at this point, saw Macintosh become the only constant member. A new e.p. was written and released in 1997, at home and in various studios, with Macintosh playing virtually all of the instruments. "Turn On The Lights", released, once again, on Please Recordings, became a massive hit in the American underground, the influence of which can still be heard in much U.S. music which came after. It has since sold a modest 20,000 physical copies, but has been downloaded into the billions of units; starting via the many web portals which have arisen since then.
1998 saw the release of "Commercial Suicide" - featuring the now massive hit, a cover version of the Rod Temperton song "Thriller", performed live at a club in the Boston area, in a style reminiscent of a jam session between Eddie Van Halen, Lee Ranaldo and Dirt Merchants, fronted by, perhaps, a schizophrenic cross between Eugene Chadbourne and Jimmy Swaggart. The e.p. was featured in Rolling Stone, propelling the band to greater popularity, all while remaining a staunchly independent / d.i.y. group, still on their own label. Now widely available thanks to the wonders of internet technology, the e.p. has been downloaded many billions of times worldwide -garnering the band a significant following in far-flung places such as China and Brazil. The live band continued to tour through 1999.
More to come...