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L.A. indie band Chicano Batman is unguardedly optimistic

Chicano Batman.


On the new album from the Los Angeles eclectics Chicano Batman, vocalist Bardo Martinez sings high, loose and breezily that "freedom is free." Is that so? Where is this man shopping? That's what we'd like to know. But we'll take him at his word, for the album is indeed called Freedom is Free, with a title song that is groovily defiant and contagiously optimistic: "Life will flow on as long as the grass grows and the water runs/And while I'm here on earth I'll, I'll rejoice in this world."

The band's sound is a trip of Shuggie Otis, Smokey Robinson and Strokes-ian insouciance. Throw in some Brazilian tropicalismo and lounge-ready psychedelia and we have a party of the super-fly kind. Chicano Batman dances with the super heroes, spices with red-hot chilli peppers, and gives no damn. "No amount of negativity," croons Barton, "can put a dent in me." The band plays at the Velvet Underground on Tuesday. Freedom is free. Are you?

Chicano Batman, April 4, 7:30 p.m. (doors). $15.50. Velvet Underground, 508 Queen St. W., 416-504-6688 or

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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