It began with a grooving, hazy track called "Deadbeat Summer," and there's no telling where it may end. Dallas' own Neon Indian stand as the chief of chillwave, an upstart subgenre that fuses laser-y synth lines, trebly beats and the chirpy blips of '80s pop with guitar flavors and lo-fi production straight out of indie rock.
The combination leads to an '80s baby's dream—plasticky vibes that recall Reagan-era radio, but are rendered with the grit of early-'90s alt-rock. The band's live show also blends the gyration-inspiration of dance music with bored-out riffage and live drums. For frontman Alan Palomo, though, the dusty, critically acclaimed sounds on Neon Indian's debut album, Psychic Chasms, were more a result of having only a bedroom's worth of recording equipment than a conscious decision.
A sleeker new track, "Sleep Paralysist," shows what Palomo can do with a studio—and so will his next album, which the 22-year-old hopes to record later this year. For now, he is riding the chillwave, touring the world (including big festivals like Bonnaroo) and proving just how hard beat music can rock.
Get the Music Newsletter