10 New Artists You Need to Know: March 2017

Marian Hill, H.E.R., Vindata, Sigrid and more

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Chicano Batman
Josue Rivas6/10

Chicano Batman

Sounds Like: The hippest prom band ever, exuding classic soul, cosmic consciousness and righteous resistance.

For Fans of: Os Mutantes, Los Freddy's, ? and the Mysterians

Why You Should Pay Attention: The quartet has been called Los Angeles' house band, and they've been selling out small theaters regularly on a West Coast run that follows opening slots on tours with Jack White and the Claypool Lennon Delirium. Their audiences consist largely of Latinxs vibing ecstatically to a classic soul sound, which they deliver in color-coordinated tuxedos, puffy shirts and bow ties. While Mexican cumbia and banda bass lines still find their way into the mix, the band's new Freedom Is Free is both their most lucidly soul-stirring music and a step or two removed from the prog-rocking psychedelia informing much of their first two releases.

They Say: What about those tuxes? "The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, Los Freddy's and all these bands from Venezuela and Latin America were rocking them on the covers of their records in the Sixties and Seventies, so that's definitely an inspiration," says frontman Bardo Martinez. "Our bassist, Eduardo [Arenas], was the one who actually suggested, 'Hey, let's get suited and booted!' He threw it down. We're all aesthetically on that boat, but he's the one who actually stepped into the vintage shop – and it was a stroke of luck that what he bought fit everybody in the band. Off the rack, man! It's been 10 years, brother, and we've gone through a few of them. We try to keep it classic, man; we try to keep it polyester."

Hear for Yourself: On the creamy slice of positive soul power "Freedom Is Free," Bardo croons, "You got your guns up on display/But you can't control how I feel, no way." Richard Gehr

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