Initially appearing as a blurry, sample-driven electronic pop project with influences ranging from Todd Rundgren to various Italo-disco one-shots, Neon Indian emerged as one of the flagship acts of the Internet-spawned "chillwave" genre during the summer of 2009. Over time, the project expanded into a full-fledged band with fleshed-out instrumentation, higher production values, and funkier, more danceable rhythms. The group's singles and full-lengths have consistently received high praise from the music press, and they've established themselves as a popular live act, performing at numerous major music festivals, as well as touring with Phoenix, Chromeo, Massive Attack, Sleigh Bells, and many others.
Neon Indian was conceived as a multimedia experience combining music and video into short films, teasers, and straight-up pop songs. Though Neon Indian released the No Way Down EP in 2008, the buzz around the act didn't really start until spring 2009, when the songs "Should've Taken Acid with You" and "6669 (I Don't Know If You Know)" were posted and praised by indie blogs. A few months later, the songs "Deadbeat Summer" and "Terminally Chill" received similar treatment, and that summer the identities of Neon Indian's members were revealed: Mexican-born, Texas-based Alan Palomo, formerly of the band Ghosthustler and also of the one-man electro project VEGA, was behind the music, while video artist Alicia Scardetta provided visuals. The pair's collaboration dated back to Palomo and Scardetta's time on their high-school literary magazine, and Palomo wrote "Should've Taken Acid with You" about their friendship. Neon Indian's debut album, Psychic Chasms, written and produced entirely by Palomo, was released in fall 2009. The album was an immediate success, appearing on Best of 2009 lists by numerous publications and websites, and hailed as one of the definitive works of the burgeoning "chillwave" scene. The following year, a deluxe release of the album, plus remixes by Toro y Moi, Dntel, Bibio, and others, arrived as Mind CTRL: Psychic Chasms Possessed. Joined by musicians including guitarist Ronald Gierhart (who contributed to Psychic Chasms), keyboardist Leanne Macomber, and drummer Jason Faries, Neon Indian began touring extensively as a live unit.
In early 2011, Neon Indian released a four-song collaborative EP with the Flaming Lips. Palomo traveled to Helsinki to record Neon Indian's second album, and in 2011 the mixes were sent to Flaming Lips/MGMT producer Dave Fridmann. The result, Era Extraña, was released in September of that year. The album, which featured input from live guitarist Joshua McWhirter as well as a few other musicians, had a much slicker sound than the project's hazy, lo-fi debut, and was conceived with live performances in mind. Despite the slight change in sound and aesthetic, the album still received much positive acclaim. Errata Anex, a remix EP featuring Era Extraña tracks reworked by Actress, Patten, noise pioneer Boyd Rice, and others, was released in 2013. Palomo spent much of 2014 and 2015 working on Neon Indian's third album, writing and recording songs in Austin, New York, Atlanta, and other locations. The resulting full-length, VEGA INTL. Night School, was said to incorporate elements from Palomo's previous dance-leaning project VEGA, and was announced for an October 2015 release. ~ Heather Phares & Paul Simpson, Rovi