Detroit Cobras, Willowz

Garage rock, whether the vintage or contemporary strain, is mostly a boys' club, a testosterone-fueled rave-up of vocal wails and crazy guitar runs. But the ladies dig the sound as well — and can play it. You might not want to bring singer Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez of Motown's Detroit Cobras home to mom, but new '60s covers album Tied & True sounds like they're more than ready for a good time. Instead of rehashing Nuggets yet again, the Cobras dig deep into stuff oldies radio would never touch: sterling R&B by writers like Jerry Ragovoy and Little Willie John. Although Nagy's distinctive voice is hit-and-miss with their original material, here she impressively runs the gamut between slinky and raucous. Anaheim's Willowz have only one lady in the lineup — bassist/vocalist Jessica Reynoza — but their fuzzy psychedelia is fresh and accessible. Though it's not where their strengths lie, Willowz veers into slower, more bluesy epic balladry on new album Chautauqua, with vocalist/guitarist Richie James Follin's high-ranged voice recalling a combination of Skip James and Jack White. An interesting double bill of grime and sunshine.
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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero