The University of North Texas (formerly North Texas State) has a history of attracting musical prodigies: Pat Boone, Roy Orbison, Don Henley, and Norah Jones were all students. In the late aughts, another seemingly world-changing UNT artist emerged in Alan Palomo, whose electro-pop project, Neon Indian, helped define what came to be called chillwave (think cheesy synth-pop made weird and murky by VHS tape hash). But after a hot streak including the 2011 hit “Polish Girl,” Palomo pretty much disappeared. The Mexican-born artist returns with his first album in eight years, this time singing primarily in Spanish and performing under his own name. “Despite Spanish being my first language, I had never tried writing a song in it,” Palomo says. “It was something I’d been wanting to do since my third album but didn’t want it to be just a gimmick.” On the earworm “Nudista Mundial ’89,” Palomo’s ductile voice floats on a synthy tune as bubbly as a dropped beer can. If you don’t know enough Spanish to sing along, you can at least imitate guest vocalist Mac DeMarco’s croaked hook: “Dos cervezas, por favor.”
This article originally appeared in the September 2023 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Nudista Mundial ’89.” Subscribe today.
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