Amo Joy
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Amo Joy

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"Boy Genius/ Amo Joy!/ Nervous Systems/ Oh Sanders, PopFest 2008, Little Kings, 8/13/08"

I am outside monitoring the Obligatory Hungover Standoff between my ragged lungs and my desire for a cigarette when the next band, Amo Joy, come on. From my hazy sun-baked seat it sounds like someone just gave Wayne Coyne a marching band and lots of stimulants and told him to improvise. If Boy Genius are whizzing past cornfields and tracing the wave of the rushing air with outstretched fingers, Amo Joy! are cartwheeling down the Blue Ridge Mountains without brakes. I have no doubt that if I slammed their CD on to my car stereo on the way to the supermarket I would end up in Santa Cruz with a back seat full of vintage baseball cards and inflatable animals and rusty mailboxes and verbose hitchhikers. I glare at the offensive cigarette which will be much more appealing in twenty minutes after I am introduced to the scary hybrid cocktail that is Sparks, and head inside.

It appears that, in my absence, Little Kings has been transformed in to a psychedelic church of percussion. The grinning keyboardist is bounding through the crowd handing out neon novelty clapping, hooting, and whistling toys which are being grasped with enthusiasm by the crowd. "You are the noise-makers!" the lead singer proclaims, and so we are, the rhythms roll through the room and it feels like we are in a field somewhere and everyone is of one mind and one voice.

Instrumentally I have no clue what is going on. I think I hear an accordion but I could be wrong. There is a kazoo and a ukulele and bells and slide whistles and plastic contraptions and unnameable implements and all are being madly circulated by the band. There is a sense of pleasant circular disorientation to the music itself, it is a swirling carousel of electronic innovation and the stamping of feet. I look up to the rafters and the old bulbous chandeliers are swaying and for the first time I notice that there is a battered bicycle sitting unobtrusively on a raised platform to the side of the stage. And it is perfect because this is Amo Joy!, beauty through the juxtaposition of random oddities. I am obscenely excited by the whole raucous experience, I want to follow them around the country in a big battered bus and sing the wrong lyrics to Pet Sounds with conviction. It was the kind of show which makes me want to carry a pen around for the rest of my life so I can tattoo their name on to random people's hands all across the world. - Athens Exchange


"Amo Joy Barfly"

They match the absurdity of psychedelia with pop likeability to craft skewed masterpeices. Their music is the optimistic alternative to angst-ridden bands like Margot and the Nuclear So and So's. Amo Joy's songs are free of soul searching angst and chock full of... Joy.
- Barfly


"01.08 JEFF CRAWFORD/ AMO JOY @ NIGHTLIGHT"

A little like Durham's Bombadil on a different trip, Indianapolis' Amo Joy uses kazoos, percussive toys, bells and (slide) whistles to accent its slightly psychedelic anthem-indie rock. Imagine Destroyer going carefree, and you're close. - The Independent


"Amo Joy "Theophrastus Bombastus"

The soundtrack to a Reclaim the Streets march in Candyland, Theophrastus Bombastus is a low-fi attempt by Indianapolis band Amo Joy to put their circus-rock on record, unfortunately in a mix that flattens out all the bells, whistles and chintzy synthesizers that make this band unique. “Diggity Doom” and “Gravitational Fields” are charmingly verbose and bright, though things get a little saccharine later in the album, and the calliope-esque instrumentation can get woozy and grating. The sound collage “This Way to Indiana” is a nice respite, an experiment in glitch and noise that demonstrates the band’s experimental and maximalist approach to the world of sound, in line with their custom of handing out noisemakers to fans at shows.

- Nuvo


Discography

"The Dictatorial Soiree" (LP) May 2007 (self released/out of print)
"Theophrastus Bombastus" (EP) august 2008 (Royal Rhino Flying Records)
"The Sane Design" (LP) Scheduled for release July 14th 2009 (Standard Recording)

Photos

Bio

Amo Joy is a four piece Psych-Pop band from Indianapolis IN that has a strange infatuation with Slide Whistles and Kazoos. Half of their instruments were bought in dollar store party aisles, while the other half consists of distorted guitars, monosynths and a hand painted drumset. Amo Joy live shows are replete with tiny sounds coming from every which direction made by the crowd shaking little plastic noise-makers, supplied by the band of course. So, how did four midwesterners manage to not grow up enough to still get excited when a new shipment of plastic hand clappers comes in, yet still have enough sensibility to go on three nation wide tours over the past year and release two albums with a third on the way this summer? The short answer is "cartoons and determination", but for the interesting answer, let's start with the band's name, "Amo Joy". Amo is frontman Adam Gross' childhood nickname which comes from a childhood misunderstanding that, to much dismay of his parents, not everyone refers to themselves in third person like Elmo does. Fast forward about 22 years to a band name brainstorming session with four people who play kazoos and write songs imbued with social and political commentary, add a few candy bars, and there you have it. From that moment on, Amo Joy started writing and recording their first, now out of print, record, "The Dictatorial Soiree". After playing a few months of local shows, they went on their first southern/east coast tour during which they realized that touring was the best thing to happen to music since electricity. A few months later, their new found love for touring encouraged them to make a three week tour out to the west coast, hitting the southern US on the way back. That summer also saw the release of an EP "Theophrastus Bombastus", released on West Virginia's small-run label Royal Rhino Flying Records, and a midwestern/southern/east coast tour with a stop at the amazing Athens Popfest in Georgia. After a fall of regional tours they began recording their vinyl full length "The Sane Design" which will be released on Indianapolis-based Standard Recording this July. This year has so far seen one midwestern tour and two southern US tours along with a stop at Austin Texas' South by Southwest, where they played a show for Standard Recording and Olympia Washington's People in a Position to Know label with bands such as Mirah and Maps and Atlases. Following the release of their new record, Amo Joy will embark on a 5 week midwest/southern/east coast tour and make a stop at the Midpoint Music festival in Cincinatti OH.