NMM: Neon Indian

Photo: Chris White

When it comes to my “New Music Monday” spots, I always try to go outside of the box with my choices on what artists to feature. Case in point, today.

I first came across Neon Indian by reading a very interesting story on NPR. The story talks about Neon Indian front man, Alan Palomo, who came to the world of music rather indirectly. Palomo said in the article that he was interested in movies and was more of a “spectator” while watching his brother learn some tricks of the trade from their musical father. Palomo went on to say that his father did teach him how to sing, often pulling a “hokey Frank Sinatra duet” he’d be forced to do on Christmas.

According to NPR, Palomo would later go on to study film in college and thus begins the interesting part of this story. It was at college that Palomo began to take music seriously, but did so through the perspective of his other passion: film. Palomo explained to NPR that “It just made sense to speak about music in terms of film scenes and movies. And to some extent, it’s kind of become the ethos of what Neon Indian is — to create these isolated aesthetic statements, and treat them like their own films.” Man, I love this quote because it should be true for all music. Music, to me, is like a film. An album a full length feature, with each song being a scene or a collection of short films. Each with its own set of “aesthetic statements” as Palomo said. That’s what makes music art.

Palomo’s latest project is most certainly art. Admittedly, Neon Indian’s VEGA INTL. Night School is unlike most of the music I feature for my “New Music Monday” spots but, after reading Palomo’s interesting journey to the music world and his ingenious vision of how he wants his music to be, I had to feature it. There’s a term in film, auteur, which is used to describe a filmmaker whose personal influence and artistic control over his or her project are so substantial that he or she is regarded as the author of that film. Palomo is undoubtedly an auteur.

Make sure to check out “Annie” off of VEGA INTL. Night School in the video below.

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