If there ever was proof that the world is becoming a smaller, closer-knit place musically, look no further than Chicano Batman, the Los Angeles indie band that blends myriad global elements into a wonderfully grooving and hypnotic sound. With this high-energy, do-it-yourself quartet — Carlos Arevalo (guitar), Eduardo Arenas (bass), Gabriel Villa (drums), and Bardo Martinez (guitar, organ) — no musical possibility seems beyond reason when massive organ swells collapse on flick-and-pick guitar riffs, Brazilian tropicalia runs headlong into American garage psych, and gritty wah-wah guitar finds comfort in age-old cumbia and norteño rhythms on the group's self-titled debut album and recent EP, Joven Navegante. In fact, twist your head around the idea of what Harry Belafonte could have sounded like had he joined forces with Doors organist Ray Manzarek and soul-jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks and only played juiced-up beach parties — that's "Pomegranate Tree." "The Ballad of Raymundo Jacquez," alternately, goes south to tackle Venezuelan gozadera head-on, spicing things up with a spinkle of vintage popcorn soul. The band's admonishment of being "on a quest to reclaim and represent the musical roots of . . . past generations" more than holds true, and it's something of a challenge — one that hopefully continues to succeed.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.