Music » Critics' Picks

The Detroit Cobras

8 p.m. Monday, August 27. Creepy Crawl, 3524 Washington Boulevard.

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The Detroit Cobras is the world's most original cover band. Instead of playing karaoke standards, the Michigan garage-rockers prefer to tackle obscure Motown tracks and underground R&B cuts. But the band doesn't just play the songs as they were recorded — it adds layers of gritty swing and dirty Midwest blues to these chestnuts, which sometimes even improves them. Guitarist Mary Ramirez's licks hurt so good, they sting like a fresh spanking, while frontwoman Rachel Nagy has been blessed with the powerful vocals of a modern Patsy Cline. (In fact, she often sounds like the little sister of fellow Motor City enthusiast, Patti Smith.) The resulting tunes sound like after-hours at a Phil Spector party, all harmonizing doo-wop girl-group vocals layered with murderous screams.

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