Formed in 2001 in Omaha, Nebraska, Desaparecidos released one album, Read Music / Speak Spanish in 2002 on Saddle Creek Records. Though the band never "broke up", they did part ways for several years as members Conor Oberst (vocals, guitar), Denver Dalley (guitar), Ian McElroy (keyboards), Landon Hedges (bass / vocals), and Matt Baum (drums) went on to pursue separate ambitions, including Conor Oberst's career with the band Bright Eyes.
In 2010, Desaparecidos played together again at the Concert for Equality in Omaha (an event organized by Oberst to promote the repeal of then-recently enacted measures to prohibit businesses and landlords from hiring or renting to undocumented immigrants in Fremont, Nebraska). The band embarked on a short summer tour in 2012, and self-released several tracks on singles and 7-inches for the next year. Previously released tracks that are featured on the album are "MariKKKopa", "Backsell", "Anonymous", "The Left is Right", "Te Amo Camila Vallejo", and "The Underground Man".
Payola is the follow-up album to the first and only Desaparecidos album, Read Music / Speak Spanish. Influenced by '70s/'80s punk & hardcore like T.S.O.L. and Cro-Mags; early '80s power-pop the Vapors and Tommy Tutone, Payola was co-produced with Mike Mogis (First Aid Kit, Saintseneca, and The Fault in our Stars Score From the Motion Picture with Nate Walcott); and was recorded in several batches over the past few years. On Payola, the band consciously tackled a wide range of political issues at a much broader scale. It has a greater degree of focus and musicality than the first release. Payola is more raw, louder, and angrier. In addition to the 6 previously released tracks, the album also includes 8 new tracks from the band.
A band that never fully came into fruition is finally getting their due with their sophomore release only 13 short years later.