Album of the Week: Neon Indian – “VEGA Intl. Night School” by J. Nifras

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The Texas-based synthpop musician Alan Palomo, professionally known as Neon Indian, initially rose to fame in 2009 as part of an ushering in of a new style of indie pop music known as “chillwave”. The term was everywhere around the time, and Palomo’s 2009 debut record Psychic Chasms was at the center of all the buzz. He also followed this record up in 2011 with another chillwave record, entitled Era Extrana, which was also well-received.
In the four-year gap between the release of Era Extrana and this new record, Palomo’s demos for an intended record were lost, and he decided to start fresh and record entirely new material. The result of this became VEGA Intl. Night School, the project’s third studio album.
neon indian
VEGA is a record heavily influenced by 80’s synthpop, such as the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson, to name a few. Lead single “Annie” is an absolute jam that even resembles “The Sign”, Ace of Base’s 1992 smash hit. It also seems many songs off this new record could have been perfect as a soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, between the strong presence of groovy beats, synthesizers and funky rhythms. And despite Neon Indian’s evident change in style, his signature “chillwave” production remains.
“The Glitzy Hive” is a clear favorite, a sparkling piece of synthpop nirvana with an irresistible groove and stellar vocal melody. “Slumlord”, as well as the two-minute extension that follows, is another highlight, sporting a groove similar to LCD Soundsystem. Nearly each cut on this record is a slice of brilliantly crafted indie pop that definitely increases its flavor with each listen.
In short, VEGA is a well-written, cohesive and altogether groovy pop record. Don’t be surprised if one of these songs ends up on your next dance party’s playlist. The album is out now on Mom + Pop records, and you can find it in the Iris bins soon!

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