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Detroit Cobras 

With the Cold Cold Hearts and the Vista Cruisers. Sunday, December 26, at the Beachland Ballroom.

The snake charmer who got the Detroit Cobras out touring again had better get cracking on their record label's ass. This Detroit-based (duh) garage-soul combo started 10 years ago, dishing out two fine albums and an often transcendent live show that hit like a Swizzle-Stick-mix of '60s R&B and a '50s sock hop.

By the tail end of the '90s, though, the Cobras had become a garage-rock Howard Hughes: innovators who -- according to rumor -- had succumbed to drugs, insanity, or just plain inactivity. But once the neo-garage rock trend of 2001-'02 raised their eyebrows and got their dancing feet moving again, the Cobras shifted their lineup a bit and started touring like fiends, name-dropping from the White Stripes and jaw-dropping because singer Rachel's sexy shout got A&R doofs at Rough Trade in the U.K. to sign them in 2002.

So far, the usual major-label "keep-recording-till-we-hear-a-hit" bullshit has resulted in one EP. Now, it's true that the Cobras have mainly played obscure covers all this time, and perhaps tackling self-penned material was harder than they expected. The new album was finally released in England recently, with no word when it'll come out Stateside, but it's all beginning to smell like the usual major label write-off. There should be no fear about their live show, though. As long as the Cobras aren't too irritated by their label's lethargy, it should be another fun time.

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