In the midst of President Trump’s impeachment hearings, Neon Indian is out with a new protest song that sounds like anything but a political dirge. Instead, it’s a super-bright, festive piñata — just packed with goodies that no one bargained for.
Alan Palomo dropped “Toyota Man” with a dizzying self-directed video that tells an alternate history of the Monterrey, Mexico, native’s life story (his parents make an appearance). Palomo kicks off the video standing at the U.S.-Mexico border flipping through Spanish cue cards — very Dylanesque — then finds himself hired to wash a bunch of Toyotas. The musician takes a rag to a red vehicle in what could be an ode to Kenneth Anger’s “Kustom Kar Kommandos,” as a Trump-shaped piñata comes to life at a backyard party and makes a run for it. There’s a puppet show about migrant labor, a cowboy giving birth to cars and all manner of wackiness before the Trump-ata gets hits by a car, spilling green cards across the road.
Palomo’s first song in Spanish, “Toyota Man” pulls from a variety of recognizable tunes for its source material: Spanish folk song “La Cucaracha,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” Soaked in a heavy dose of Neon Indian’s characteristic chillwave, “Toyota Man” finds Palomo singing about migrant laborers and DACA recipients: “We came here to study/We want to work/We’re all Americans.”
The track is Palomo’s first new music since 2015’s VEGA INTL. Night School and hints at a new direction for the indie-rock mainstay. He’s long spoken of singing in his native language, and if this track is any indication, more personal, political works could be on the way.
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