Chicano Batman’s Silky “Black Lipstick” Is a Classic L.A. Ballad With a Modern Touch

Read more

Chicano Batman‘s latest song is in English, though frontman Bardo Martínez is just as likely to sing in Spanish or Portuguese. At once melancholic and light, it’s a portrait of a troubled young woman whose smile has vanished, buoyed by psychedelic organs and bright, proggish guitars. Like a lot of L.A. bands’ ballads, it transposes an easily recognizable character from the present into a timeless world made of classic songs and beloved old records. Musically, it could be a further evolution of their sound.

This song, among others, was originally intended to be recorded by longtime friend of the band Ikey Owens, member of The Mars Volta and Jack White’s band. Owens has a vision for their planned recording sessions that would take the band away from their lo-fi leanings. Owens died of a heart attack last year at the age of 39, so he sadly didn’t live to realize these plans. “Black Lipstick” was instead recorded by Owens’ studio partner Antoine Arvizu, who had a thorough understanding of what Owens intended for it. Complete with silky backing vocals by Saudia Yasmein, this is a fuller, less vintage-sounding Chicano Batman – but “Black Lipstick” is still pretty classic.

Photo: Josue Rivas