Release the Sounds: 'Psychic Chasms,' Neon Indian
With a sound surrounded with laser zaps, 8-bit nostalgia, Kraftwerk and cheesy elevator music, it's as if 21-year-old Alan Paolma (aka Ghosthustler, aka VEGA, aka some other hip moniker not-yet-named) had actually been old enough to make music in the 80s, instead of just shitting his diapers.
Like many artists in the new wave of synthpop acts (Passion Pit, MGMT), Paloma has managed to unearth the punch and glitter of the dance music of yesteryear and christen it with a new indie aesthetic. Though, that's not to say every one of these acts sound the same. For Paloma, whose record Psychic Chasms from newest project Neon Indian comes out today on Lefse Records, themes of lo-fi longing give his sound a balance between levitating dance anthems and cold opiate escape. Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Paloma came up in a musical household, with his father Jorge Paloma embarking on a short run as a Mexican pop star. Alan even mentions sampling some of his work in Neon Indian.
For the most part, his sound is strictly cut and chopped slices of moody pop and Americana, rife with teen angst and some of the cliche romantic themes that ultimately few pop artists (and excavators) desire to get away from. Songs like "Local Joke" are packed with mostly inaudible lyrics but between the lonely synth trails and whispered vocals, the sadness is palpable. It's balanced out a little by the loopy beats on tracks like "Laughing Gas," kitschy, laser filled goodness that you can't help smiling to.
Although the chasms between happy and sad aren't always so cut-and-dry on Psychic Chasms, Neon Indian has a way of digesting his intimate life experiences and complicated thoughts into digestible format for his listeners. His shows also feature drum and bass accompaniment as well as light visual artist Alicia Scardetta. As he embarks on a North American tour this fall, you can look forward to (hopefully) seeing his act in a town near you. If you don't know where to find him, just listen for the lasers.
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