Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on February 2012

Courtesy of Smash

Alan Palomo aka Neon Indian follows Earnest Greene aka Washed Out as the second American so-called “chillwave” artist to visit Japan in the still-young year.

But the pair is a study in contrasts—terms like “chillwave” and “glo-fi” only take you so far. Where Washed Out revels in 80s UK synth-pop, Neon Indian prefers leftfield analog synth sounds. When Greene raises his voice in open emotion, Palomo mumbles words that are sly, abstruse and humorous.

What they do seem to have in common is a knack for repurposing old school synthesizers to craft contemporary indie pop songs. Neon Indian’s simple, spangley “Polish Girls” from last fall’s Era Extraña shows why he’s endeared himself to acts like Flaming Lips, who released an EP together with him, and Massive Attack, who invited him to back them on tour.

Neon Indian and Washed Out’s other point of commonality is both being represented by Japanese imprint Big Nothing Records, which also handles hip indie groups like Girls and Islet in Japan.

The success of Texas-born Palomo’s one-off Japan debut should provide sufficient indication of whether he’ll be invited to join the bill of promoter Smash’s Fuji Rock Festival this summer.

Unit, Feb 21 (listing).