Neon Indian is the brainchild of Alan Palomo, who’s 2009 debut record Psychic Chasms not only earned the 20 year-old a spot on numerous year-end lists, but assisted the forming of a genre that, though known by a few names now (hypnagogic pop, glo-fi, chillwave), summoned a very unique and specific electro-mangled sound. Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and SPIN all praised Palomo for his adventurous new sound, and he was tapped to perform at top festivals like South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, and Sasquatch and also scored opening slots for bands ranging from Massive Attack and The Flaming Lips to Phoenix and Chromeo.
After nearly two years on the road off the success of his debut, Palomo returns this fall with his proper follow-up LP, Era Extraña. This time around, we see a darker shaded sound document that tosses somewhere between an 8-bit shoegaze record and peering through the fence of a teenage apocalypse drive-in flick.
Written and recorded last winter in an efficiency apartment in Helsinki, Finland during its short solstice days, Era Extraña was ice sculpted from arpeggiated synth-scapes and scribbled journal entries made during his stint there alone in constant solitude. “It’s the closest you can get to feeling like you’re at the edge of the earth,” he says. “And there were moments where I lost sight of what I was really there to do.”
The sample-happy stylings of his previous efforts have been traded in for acid-stained commodore 64 jams (See ‘Polish Girl, ‘Future Sick’) and bit-pulped guitar sludge ballads (see ‘Hex Girlfriend’, ‘The Blindside Kiss’). All throughout, the undulating moods of the record are guided by a haunted three-part instrumental titled Heart: Attack, Heart: Decay, and Heart: Release. Once completed, the layers were then thawed and reassembled by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT), who mixed the album and did additional production with Palomo at his upstate Tarbox Studios. The album sessions there were briefly taken on a scenic detour by a drop-in four-song EP collaboration with The Flaming Lips which was released earlier this year.
The album’s Spanish title plays with the loose-hinges of the word extraña, which not only directly translates into ‘strange’, but also means to ‘command the act of longing’. These themes of feeling an eerie absence in new strange times are explored throughout the album as a whole in his teenage ethos peppered lyrical musings in an end-days obsessed climate. Many of this is inspired by an ongoing love affair with the notion of what cyberpunk means in a year like 2011. The feeling can best be described in a recent interview where he noted, “We’re now living in the era mysticized by a lot of future-geared 70s and 80s cinema, but it’s definitely not quite how they imagined it.”
Era Extraña is slated for a September 13th release on Palomo’s own Static Tongues imprint in conjunction with Mom and Pop Records in North America, Transgressive Records in the United Kingdom and Europe, Pop Frenzy/Inertia in Australia and Big Nothing Records in Japan.