Chicano Batman is having a breakout year. NPR tabbed the Los Angeles quartet to perform at its Radio Day Showcase at South By Southwest in March alongside Spoon and Valerie June. 2017 also marks the release of the new album"Freedom Is Free," a record that finds Chicano Batman incorporating retro soul and funk music into its sound.

More from OpenAir Sessions:

The band stopped by the CPR Performance Studio before a show at Denver's Bluebird Theater. The band members -- along with backup singers -- performed five songs and spoke with Jeremy Petersen about the political themes on "Freedom Is Free," paying tribute to the soul music of the 1970s and how their audience has grown with the new album.

Audio: Chicano Batman Performs 'Flecha Al Sol'

Stream the session and watch Chicano Batman perform "Passed You By" above.

Interview highlights:

Singer and keyboardist Bardo Martinez on the band's name:

"I think Chicano Batman has always been a social experiment. It's been a play on a certain cultural identity, and also a pop-cultural icon. Batman is something that everyone recognizes around the world. It's a way of using American pop culture to represent ourselves."

Martinez on releasing a politically charged album in 2017:

"You can't control timing. ... The universe creates everything. We like to think we're in control of every single thing. We try to be in control of our schedules, everything. But we're very fortunate that everything has worked out."

Songs performed:

  • "Passed You By"
  • "Jealousy"
  • "Freedom Is Free"
  • "Friendship (Is a Small Boat In a Storm)"
  • "Flecha Al Sol"