From the boulevards and barrios of Los Angeles hails Chicano Batman, one of the hippest, most syncretistic bands among the left coast’s many polyglot alternative acts, proffering a heady melange of Latin-tinged funk, soul, rock, psychedelia, Brazilian tropicalia and (somewhat improbably) late-night lounge grooves.
With a sound that’s eminently contemporary yet deeply indebted to the days of bell-bottoms, vertiginous afros, and all things shag (NPR wrote that seeing the band perform feels like “somebody hit the 1976 button on the time machine”)—and grounded soundly in Mexican and Brazilian idioms—Chicano Batman seem to epitomize and consolidate the musical diversity of the City of Angels.
And they are poised to bring their vigorous sound to your neighborhood, too. They’ve toured with Jack White, played Coachella, and appeared on Conan.
The band’s breakout release, Freedom Is Here, has spawned several radio staples, most prominent among them “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)”—which has perhaps the most unwieldy chorus of any song in memory that nonetheless works fabulously. We’ve chosen to lead off here, however, with “Black Lipstick,” a sultry, reggae-inflected deep cut that showcases the group’s psych-rock penchants. (We’ve included the official video for “Friendship” below, as well.)
A tonic for your Tuesday afternoon. Enjoy.