2. Polish Girl
After nearly two years on the road following the success of his debut, Neon Indian returns with his sophomore album "Era Extraña", released (10th October 2011) through Transgressive Records.
The brainchild of Alan Palomo, Neon Indian released his debut record "Psychic Chasms" in 2009, and not only earned himself a spot on numerous year-end lists, but assisted the forming of the genre, now known by the names: hypnagogic pop, glo-fi, chillwave, among other confusing terms, that don't do justice to.
Praised for his adventurous new sound, he scored opening slots for bands ranging from Massive Attack and The Flaming Lips to Phoenix and Chromeo.
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 the acid-stained commodore 64 jams heard on tracks "Polish Girl" and "Future Sick", and bit-pulped guitar sludge ballads on "Hex Girlfriend" and "The Blindside Kiss". All throughout, the undulating moods of the record are guided by a haunting 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 and Wolf Gang), 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 moody teenage ethos peppered lyrical musings in an end-days obsessed climate.
Neon Indian will be playing Heaven in London on November 16th.
...Remember those things called Arcades? Well if you don’t, then ‘Era Extrana’ is a nostalgic glance at all noise Sega related. Each track brims with intergalactic references, managing to conjoin elements across the coin guzzling spectrum and still hit top score. That’s why NEO must trend first on all those the highest score rankings, the guy must have spent hours and a small fortune perfecting the imitation needed for such accurate takes on childhood classics. Please now excuse the linear format in the album breakdown, but with each track brimming with such invention, they all deserve a mention.
Kicking off proceedings is ‘Heart : Attack’. This is the bit in the film where that 10 year old, freckle face boy is standing, eyes wide open, dwarfed by the magnitude of the very machine he is sure to overcome. Scene set well enough? The coin slips in, he stands back…and it starts. The imagery produced by this opening, 1 minute length track is almost none like I have ever witnessed in an album filled with references. The synth sounds utilise the all too familiar sound of the game starting up, but then takes appropriate elements from fantasy motion pictures, moulding the soundscape for which the album follows...