Chill wave pioneer Neon Indian has returned, dropping a new song “Heaven’s Basement,” from 86’d, a short film shot and directed by the artist under his birth name Alan Palomo. This track serves as the main theme for the film, and was released by the musician under his Neon Indian name on various streaming platforms.
“Heaven’s Basement,” features jumpy synths and a funky rhythm section, blending 80s disco influences that were heavily featured as part of the artist’s last album Vega Intl. Night School that came out in 2015. Underneath the pop vibe however the albums holds a darker and more sinister tone, akin to early cult television series and films. Palomo described the film as “five seedy stories” that “transpire over the course of one late-night order at a 24-hour deli.”
Last year the artist was featured on Adult Swim’s Dream Pop compilation, that featured artists such as Toro Y Moi, Kllo and the Mountain Goats. Neon Indian’s “Theme For A Dream (Pt. 1 & 2)” was the opening track for the compilation.
Back in 2016 Palomo announced that he was taking a break from the Neon Indian project to focus on his passion for film making. The artist had originally studied film-making in college, but abandoned his pursuit once Neon Indian began to take off.
“I feel like, if Neon Indian were to continue at all, it would have to undergo some aesthetic overhaul to remain interesting to me,” he explained in an interview for The Weld in 2016. “I very intentionally didn’t want any my records to sound alike, because the redundancy of music just to keep people entertained and to go back on the road and make a living off that just didn’t seem nearly as interesting to me as having an idea for something and waiting until that idea was worthwhile and making something that warranted its own existence.”
He went on to explain that having his music label categorized as chillwave at the beginning of the decade was a part of discontent. Palomo along with artist’s such as Toro Y Moi were among the first artist’s to be branded with this label.
“If then it was chillwave, I guess now a lot of the comparisons I get are ‘vaporwave,’ and I don’t even know what that [expletive] is,” he explained further in the interview. “It just sounds like DJ Screw but with a lot of Japanese new wave… It felt arbitrary then and it feels arbitrary now.”
Despite the project’s hiatus, he has returned a couple of times to perform live after touring in 2015 and 2016. Earlier this year he took part of the 10 Years of Mom + Pop festival at Brooklyn Steel. The artist was on the famous record label alongside alongside Courtney Barnett, Tom Morello, and Sleigh Bells, the latter of which also had their career launched by the record label.
Neon Indian also performed at 2017’s Float Fest, alongside acts such as Passion Pitt and EDM Producer Zedd. During the energetic set he performed mostly off of Vega Intl. Night School, along with his early hits such as “Deadbeat Summer.”
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat