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Amazing Baby

Amazing Baby: Glitter Kids

story by tim mcmahan


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Lazy-i: Sept. 24, 2009

Amazing Baby
w/ The Entrance Band
Sunday, Sept. 27, 9 p.m.
Slowdown Jr.
729 14th St.

For Amazing Baby, a band that's only been around for a year and a half, their first headlining tour couldn't have come sooner.

"Opening for other bands blows because no one is really there to see you, especially on the tours that we played," said the band's frontman Will Roan before going on stage in Seattle last week.

The Brooklyn five-piece has had opening slots that any up-and-coming act would kill for, including tours with Bloc Party, Phoenix and MGMT. Roan recognizes and appreciates the exposure garnered from the tours.

"To be honest, opening for Phoenix was interesting for us. We learned a lot from them about being professional and friendly and cool, and a bunch of people who saw us open for them have come to our own club dates," Roan said. "But when you open for a large act like Bloc Party, you oftentimes get venues that are sold out really early and people who are just waiting to see the headliner. That puts us in a position to win them over. Whether we did that or not, I don't know, but we got much better as a band."



Considering their music, it's hard see how Amazing Baby couldn't win over any crowd. Rewild, the band's full-length debut released on Shangri-La Music (the same label that released Conor Oberst's Monsters of Folk project) is equal parts trippy psychedelic rock (the caw-inducing "The Narwhal," the Pink Floydian "Invisible Palace,"), glam ("Smoke Bros," opening salvo "Bayonets") and straight-up thick-beat indie (the pulsing "Kankra," strutting single "Headdress"). A shimmering gloss coats every track, making it glow like headlights off a rain-soaked highway, while Roan's brazen croon owns a swagger last heard by bands such as Love and Rockets and T.Rex.

"I've been listening to this style of music for a long time," Roan said. "I've loved T.Rex for years, but never listened to (their 1973 album) Tanx until a year ago and was blown away by how weird the production was. There's a lot of stuff out there that I haven't heard before. It would be really depressing if you had heard all the great works before you were 22. I continually find new stuff that blows me away."

He said some of his musical discoveries have come from making and receiving good ol' fashioned mix tapes (or mix CDRs).

"Someone makes mixes because it's a way to express a connection -- they know that you're thinking of them," he said. "It's weird, but I've come across more new music this past year trying to make mixes. I discovered a lot of music from bands that I thought I knew everything about. The Beach Boys is a prime example. Every time I'm sure that I'm tired of them or listened to everything I want to hear, I find something else."

He said record labels are finding new life by reissuing classic material. "You can find awesome albums that people haven't listened to in 23 years," he said. "That T.Rex album is one of those. It has no glam hits, but it's incredible."

Overtones from all of the band's musical influences can be heard on Rewild, but come to life in different way on stage. "The live show is definitely different than the recording," Roan explained. "Here's some trivia about the band: We never practiced a song as a live band before it was recorded. When we approach live music, (the songs) have already gone through the process, been recorded and worked on in the studio."

As a result, Roan said Amazing Baby's live show is "a little heavier" than the album -- an album that he said he just listened to again for the first time after avoiding it for six months.

"While you're making (the album), your life becomes devoted to it, and you kind of run away from it at some point. Like anything, it becomes overwhelming," Roan said. "Sometimes you don't like to listen to yourself or look at pictures of yourself, you know what I mean? Sometimes to appreciate the art, you have to leave it alone and cleanse your mind of it for awhile."

So what did he think when he listened to Rewild again? "I have a much more clear interpretation of it," he said. "I found it quite refreshing."

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Published in The Omaha Reader Sept. 24, 2009. Copyright © 2009 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
















Amazing Baby - Rewild

"Sometimes you don't like to listen to yourself or look at pictures of yourself, you know what I mean? Sometimes to appreciate the art, you have to leave it alone and cleanse your mind of it for awhile."