So it’s been six years to the month since Alan Palomo took the music world by storm with Psychic Charms, what some consider the definitive album of the short “chillwave” era. Six years is longer than some of your dogs lived. Six years is longer than the entire run of The Wire. Six years ago the college freshman who went to college in September were 12 years old. Six years ago Justin Bieber was an adorable moppet who showed up on Ellen, and not someone who you wanted to punch in the face.
What I’m saying is six years is an unreal amount of time in the pop culture consciousness which is why the question must be raised: Does anyone care about Neon Indian anymore?
Obviously Dallas does, well parts of Dallas does. Tonight Neon Indian is set to play a $3 Red Bull Sound Select show at Deep Ellum’s largest venue, the over 4,500 capacity The Bomb Factory. A venue so large that it’s been used for festivals. Do 4,500 plus people care enough about Neon Indian six years after he was the hottest thing in music, four years after an album that was less than well received, and 15 days before his latest album drops? Uhm, maybe?
The issue is not Alan Palomo, or his music, by all accounts VEGA INTL. Night School should wash away the latent distaste that Era Extrana left in critics' mouths, and should catapult Palomo back into the public’s good graces. Well, at least the good graces of those who are the tragically hip.
Or will it? What if the reviews for VEGA INTL. Night School are less than stellar? Can an artist who’s taken so long between albums (the cause a lost laptop) survive a bad review? Would the popularity of Neon Indian survive? Maybe, but if we’re being honest the track record of indie based artist from North Texas waning in popularity and then receiving less than stellar reviews (case in point the great Pitchfork hatchet job of Midlake in 2010) doesn’t bode well for the prospects of Neon Indian if things don’t break well.
You can’t help but wonder what Carles, the creator of the term Chillwave, and the former proprietor of Hipster Runoff (the notorious website known for lampooning any, and all hipster culture) which peaked around the time Neon Indian broke nationally would say about all this. It’d probably be something like “Is Neon Indian Relevant, bro?”
The answer is a resounding “maybe” we’ll have to find out in the next few weeks as the media blitz kicks into high gear, and the interviews, reviews, and think pieces start to spread. We’ve already seen a bit of a turn for the better, over on Grantland editor Dave Schilling all but tossed Palomo into a dumpster, and then set it on fire back in April, only to have a bit of a change of heart in mid-September when the first tracks from VEGA started to make the rounds. Couple that with a big interview in Spin that ran two weeks ago, and you can see the ship starting to righten, the narrative starting to shift, with an idea that we’re going to see a Neon Indian renaissance.
So, does anyone care about Neon Indian anymore? Yeah, the media does, but does the general public, and the fans, both past, and potentially future? Well, we’re about to find out, here’s hoping things turn out the best.