Metal Machine Music

The first time I heard Ima Robot, I hated them. It was that "Black Jetta" song that did me in. It was stuck in my head for days—and I wanted it out. A few months later, a friend of mine burned me their CD and handed it to me with this proud grin, like he had discovered a new comet or something. I didn't have the heart to tell him the truth, so I feigned excitement and kept it in the CD player of my car for a while. And then something happened. I started to appreciate Ima Robot's quirkiness, the way they layer sounds and create something so original—it's, well, artistic, for lack of a better word. They meld dance-party drums with eerie keyboards to create a backdrop for vocalist Alex Ebert, who has one of the most unique voices ever to hit a stereo.

Based out of Los Angeles, they formed as a band in the early '90s and proceeded to seduce fans with audio treats far ahead of their time. A few band member changes later, Ima Robot released their sophomore album last September, Monument to the Masses. Currently on a West Coast tour that will continue through the summer, Ima Robot will be playing at Detroit Bar Thursday. If you're going (and you should), get there early because Detroit is a modest-sized venue, which will make for one hell of a great show. I'll be there, and I'll be singing along because—wouldn't you know it?—that CD is still in my car.

Ima Robot at Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600; Thurs., May 10, 9:30 p.m. $8. 21+.

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