Music Pick of the Week

Neon Indian

VEGA INTL. Night School

Year of Release: 2015

George Clinton. Prince. Michael Jackson. Daft Punk. Jamiroquai? Yes, Neon Indian (aka Alan Palomo) can lay claim to all of these allusions on his new album while simultaneously shedding the outdated "chillwave" genre tag. Honestly, Neon Indian simply got lumped in with a bunch of artists making bedroom pastiche pop on their laptops circa 2010, and rather than continue the lo-fi psychedelia of 2009 breakthrough Psychic Chasms or the warped melodies of 2011's Era Extraña, Palomo goes big and accessible on his latest party opus VEGA INTL. Night School. Of course, there's still a skittering weirdness to the way he applies bobbing baselines, kitschy synths, and his silky falsetto to songs which feel like drug-fueled disco baths. Production-wise, what really comes through this time is the funk--whether the calypso rhythms of Prince-esque stomper "The Glitzy Hive" or the surprising left turn of "Baby's Eyes", a heartfelt ballad buzzing with slinky bass, sci-fi synths, and even a meandering guitar solo. For all the album's charm and brashness, though, what's most welcome here is the crafting of something meant to be absorbed as an entire experience. Meaning, yes, that archaic thing called the record; it still exists.