Neon Indian is Alan Palomo, the Mexican-born, Texas-raised, brilliantly lucid 21-year-old synth-wizard who learned his production chops as part of Ghosthustler and honed them as VEGA. In October 2009 Neon Indian released his critically heralded debut album, Psychic Chasms, nearly anonymously and drew wild speculation for months. As Neon Indian, Palomo has made an art of leaving out the details and letting the world draw its own conclusions… which is very much the case with the lyrics to his the single, “Sleep Paralysist.”
Neon Indian formed from a batch of off-the-cuff recordings that weren’t quite right as VEGA songs. It turned into something much larger than the sum of its parts. The name itself was invented by Palomo’s former band-mate and high-school friend who, in a round-about way, was the inspiration behind the project’s first track “Should Have Taken Acid With You” on Psychic Chasms. Not long after the music was released, Gorilla Vs. Bear blogged about it, Grizzly Bear tweeted their fan-dom, and Pitchfork sealed the deal when they bestowed “Deadbeat Summer,” and Psychic Chasms with their Best New Music honor. “The project really finds its groove,” wrote Pitchfork, “nailing perfectly the essence of woozily nostalgic synth pop.” Neon Indian was outted and all of a sudden what started as a careless outlet for ideas too offbeat to fit the VEGA mold, had gone and defined a genre.
Neon Indian’s sound is as Palomo describes it, “Childhood re-contextualized through a psychedelic, lo-fi filter. The idea of memory before you were old enough to have memories.” Psychic Chasms intentionally captures the sound of records stored in sunlight and played to the breaking point. The album is a melting pot of hazy, lo-fi, sun kissed, electro-pop sounds that come together to form a kaleidoscopic collection of esoteric and inspiring songs.