Levitation Interviews

Chicano Batman

Sun., 5:25pm, Levitation Tent


Los Angeles quartet Chicano Batman plays a disorienting mix of lowrider soul, cumbia, surf, psych, y mucho más. Their forthcoming third LP – recorded in Brooklyn with soul maestro Leon Michels (Aloe Blacc, Lee Fields, the Arcs) – moves the needle toward R&B. Ahead of Levitation, we asked keyboardist and falsetto freaker Bardo Martinez to email us five Latin psych tunes that helped shaped the band's singular sound.

1) "Make It With You," Ralfi Pagán

At the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet around the corner from my parents' house in suburban SoCal, you'll find this track on countless lowrider compilations that dot the countertops of every record shop. This sweet bilingual soul ballad was a Top 10 hit in 1971. youtu.be/fg0CEGyHhps

2) "Siempre Estoy Pensando en Ella," Leo Dan

Dan is one of Argentina's best-known balladeers. No matter where you're from, if you identify as Latino you were probably conceived to one of his songs. This 1973 tune was definitely on my parents' babymaking playlist. youtu.be/BQfVyW-aRDA

3) "It's a Long Way," Caetano Veloso

If you classify psych by its usual tropes (fuzz guitars, tripped-out vocals, etc), then this track may not make the cut, but it embodies the psyche itself. A spiritual journey infused with Brazil's rich cultural heritage, this 1972 masterpiece has the depth of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. youtu.be/PnZu9GGFw8k

4) "Corazón de Roca," Los Fresno

Turning traditional boleros into pop hits was a trend among groups all over Latin America in the Seventies. These groups were influenced by the West coast sound, rock, and R&B. This 1973 tune exemplifies the rich production quality of Latin American music of the era. youtu.be/riuEeWbD05U

5) "Recuerdos de Una Noche," Los Pasteles Verdes

Like Julio Iglesias on acid, these funky Peruvians flip this 1974 ballad with drenched space-echo vocals, phased guitars, sick organ beds, and synth leads all over a heavy soul backbeat. youtu.be/j9iKcuwMPdM

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