Chicano Batman brings sunshine and soul to Union Transfer

Chicano Batman
Josue Rivas

Get ready to groove, Philly.

Chicano Batman is bringing its Latin-laced, psychedelic soul outfit to Union Transfer this weekend in celebration of their new album, ‘Notebook Fantasy’.

Comprised of vocalist Bardo Martinez, guitarist Carlos Arévalo, and bassist Eduardo Arenas, Chicano Batman got its start as part of LA’s thriving music scene in 2008.

“I was 20-years-old, and Bardo was dating the lead singer of the band I was in at the time,” recalls Arévalo. “She’d bring him around to our rehearsals… and when that relationship ran its course, as young love often does, he and I kept in touch. When he started Chicano Batman – at first, without me – I though they were the best band in Los Angeles.”

When Bardo expanded the sound of Chicano Batman to include Arévalo’s guitar tones, the die was cast.

“Bardo used to tell me that my guitar style influenced him in the writing,” said Arévalo. “That’s what bonded us together, as our musical journey was very different. Save for a shared love of Bob Marley, Bardo was on a Cumbia kick and listening to oldies. Eduardo was a prog metal head. Those two were both into Tropicalia from Brazil’s 1960s. And I was a post-punk guy – loving At the Drive In, Fugazi and Television, as well as being into 90s hip-hop.”

While those unique differences guided Chicano Batman through three albums starting in 2010, by the time they got to 2022’s ‘Invisible People’ and 2024’s ‘Notebook Fantasy’, the songwriting duties once held solely by Martinez, opened to include Arévalo, and Arenas which, therefore, broadened its palate.

“Our songwriting now is all about respect, listening and patience,” said Arévalo. “A lot of times, managing all of our personalities at once might lead to an impasse… now, I don’t have to fight for cool guitar parts and such to leave my stamp. We each bring in our pieces, and we’re all there to serve the songs, not our egos.”

On ‘Notebook Fantasy’, that means everything from the Spain-meets-Saturn funk of ‘Hojas Secas’ and the Afro-Colombian groove of ‘Lei Lá,’ to the melodies of the anthemic quality of the album’s title track, as well as the expansively elated synth-pop of ‘Fly.’

Along with its inclusion and diversity of melody and songwriting, Notebook Fantasy is also the most cleanly produced album of its five releases, while managing to be rabidly experimental.

“We always make sure that we never repeat ourselves,” said Arévalo. “It was cleanly produced by design. We have comfortably lived within that lo-fi, DIY aesthetic for ages. It was time to get rid of that security blanket and be more transparent, or naked, in how we approach sound – see us how we really are.

“And I know that Chicano Batman has fans that adore the first few records, and want us to live in that space, musically. That, however is something that we just can’t do. I don’t want to eat hamburgers every day. I want to eat it all, and try Thai and Indian food, too. Same thing with music.”

Chicano Batman will performance at Union Transfer on Sunday, May 12. More information and tickets are available at