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Tonight: Neon Indian at the Echoplex

November 20, 2009 | 12:38 pm


It’s easy to be skeptical of Neon Indian, the bedroom pop-turned-big-time project of 21-year-old Alan Palomo. For one thing, there’s the name. Neon Indian sounds more appropriate for a hirsute Bombay-born fixture on the Cobrasnake/Cinespace circuit, circa 2006.

Then there was the breathless blog buzz generated from songs called “I Should’ve Taken Acid With You” and “Terminally Chill,” titles that sound straight out of a Hipster Runoff Parody. Plus, this is Palomo’s third new band in two years -- though I’m willing to bet it will be his last.

Since making the aforementioned lysergic anthem for his friend, Neon Indian visual artist Alicia Scardetta, as penance for flaking on a would-be addled afternoon, Palomo’s star has rapidly ascended on the strength of his faded psychedelia. Lumped into the awkwardly named “glo-fi” genre, along with Washed Up, Memory Tapes and Delorean, Neon Indian owned the blogs and influential music magazine Pitchfork all summer long, culminating with the latter garlanding them with a rare Best New Music tag last month.

Nor was the praise without merit.

Neon Indian’s full-length debut, “Psychic Chasms,” released on nascent Sacramento indie Lefse Records, delivered on the woozy, sun-stunned promise of its early singles, striking a careful balance between dimly remembered nostalgia and incandescent futurism.

Very much a product of his generation, Palomo synthesizes 8-bit video game sounds, esoteric noise samples, and '80s MTV Haircut Pop into a product of disorienting beauty. Imbued with the joy of youth, but still old enough to suffer from the first acute pangs of nostalgia, Palomo’s music simultaneously celebrates the freedom of early adulthood and mourns the loss of the endless childhood summer.

Playing their first local performance tonight at the Echoplex, expect to see the house packed with kids in neon -- unless they've already moved on to flannel.

-- Jeff Weiss

Photo via Dagny Piaseck

Neon Indian tonight at the Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd. 9 p.m. $12