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.