Alan Palomo, aka Neon Indian, Announces New Album, ‘World Of Hassle’


Alan Palomo, the auteur musician/producer behind the long-running avant-pop project Neon Indian, has just announced his first full length release under his own name. World of Hassle, set for a September 15 release via Transgressive, is a vivid piece of world-building that takes listeners into a slightly surreal pocket dimension saturated with anxiety and nostalgia, where jazz-funk and wide-shouldered Claude Montana suits never went out of style, and the Cold War chill that suffused Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man never lifted. World of Hassle is a Pynchonesque place, packed with characters and situations rendered in dreamily absurdist strokes–guerilla freedom fighters camped out in a Rainforest Cafe in “The Wailing Mall,” a crumbling ex-pop star in “The Return of Mickey Milan,” the Leisure Suit Larry-does-Ibiza fantasy of “Nudista Mundial ’89” (featuring Mac DeMarco), whose indelible hooks and accompanying absurdist animated video by Johnny Woods immediately propelled the song to critical accolades and broad social sharing upon its release last month.

The announcement is accompanied by the release of new single “Stay-at-Home DJ,” a jazzy slice of electrofunk-infused synthpop that arrives alongside an animated visualizer by the album’s art director Robert Beatty. “This is the song that started the whole conversation,” recalls Palomo. “My brother and I wrote it back in 2019 and performed it on the last Neon Indian tour. It signaled a change in direction I’d been looking for but had yet to really know what to do with. When things slowed down during the pandemic I dusted it off and from its uncontrollable outgrowth came World of Hassle.” The song is certain to become a live staple when Alan assembles his band to bring World of Hassle on the road this Fall.

World of Hassle began as a new album for Neon Indian, the fourth installment of an unhurriedly growing body of work stretching back to 2009’s Psychic Chasms, with an intended swerve into vintage Peruvian cumbia and a political album concept, but was derailed by the ambiguous psychic space of quarantine, where concepts like “deadline” and “career trajectory” started to shed their certainty. Palomo unlocked a new flow by letting go of the album concept, followed by the Neon Indian name. He bought a piano and learned to play it properly, unlocking a creative current that pulled him in unexpected but fruitful directions. From the intricate fictional details packed into the cover art (co-created by Palomo and designer Robert Beatty), to the lyrical collage of pop culture and political references, to the music’s early-digital sheen, the album evokes the 80s golden age of rock stars like Bryan Ferry and Sting leaving their own breakthrough projects to strike out as jazzy solo musicians. It’s parody, sure–of rock star ego trips, the mall-ification of America, and our own self-obsession, even on the brink of apocalypse–but it’s also dead serious, the sound of history repeating itself as the Doomsday Clock clicks past its Reagan-era maximum and nuclear anxiety comes back into style along with digital synthesizers and sax solos. The deeper it pulls you into its own uncanny reality, the clearer it becomes how thin the borders are between Alan Palomo’s World of Hassle and our own.