The Detroit Cobras aren't afraid of the dreaded C-word. No, not that one; I mean "covers." Their catalog is filled with covers of songs so obscure, they may as well be originals to the casual listener. Record geeks, however, know the origin of most of the tracks. Hearing the Cobras charm the old chestnuts into garage-rock stompers can turn even a jaded critic's permanent grimace into a grin.
The band, led by guitarist Mary Ramirez and vocalist Rachel Nagy, breathes new life and an electrifying energy into the tunes, turning even the most banal ("It's Raining," "Hot Dog") into sweaty, sexy workouts. Detroit, of course, has long been a snake pit of both rock and soul. Ramirez and Nagy ooze the swingin' aphrodisiac venom that brings the two horny genres together to tango and twist.
Speaking of "The Twist," the Cobras even have a go at one of the many variations of that early '60s fad gone mad. "Cha Cha Twist" is included here with the accompanying video. Another bonus is the once import-only 2003 EP, Seven Easy Pieces. But the real treat is the actual album, a serpentine trip through Stones-y blues and Who-like bashing, co-produced by Greg Cartwright of tourmates Reigning Sound.
Think Iggy Pop meets Motown.
Detroit Cobras play the Earl, with Reigning Sound, Wed., Oct. 19, 9 p.m. $10-$12. 488 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.
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