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Sound Check

By Gary Graff

Bands often like to use cover songs to display their musical roots and influences. But Girl In a Coma will surely have some scratching their heads over the Texas trio’s new project.

“Adventures in Coverland,” a series of three digital EPs, finds the group — which is signed to Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records label — covering a wide array of material from Patsy Cline and Ritchie Valens to the Beatles and David Bowie to Selena and Joy Division. But drummer Phanie Diaz says it’s an honest representation of where the band’s own music comes from.

“Kind of the reason we did it was to educate kids and stuff,” says Diaz, 29, who formed Girl In a Coma in San Antonio with her younger sister, guitarist Nina, and bassist Jenn Alva. “I think it’s important for the next generation not to forget the bands that started it for us — The Runaways, Joy Division, Bowie, all of that. I’m always surprised when kids don’t know these bands.

“When we grew up, Selena records and, like, Nirvana, we considered those part of our rock ‘n’ roll growing up. And Patsy Cline, the Beatles — that’s a lot of influence from my parents, growing up with my mom and having those records in rotation. When we play Patsy Cline it definitely surprises people, but overall it’s been positive.”

Doing something by Jett and her old band the Runaways, however, was deemed a bit too obvious by Diaz and her mates.

“We didn’t think we needed to do a Runaways cover or a Morissey cover, just ’cause we took Girl In a Coma from one of his songs,” Diaz explains. “That’s obviously there; we’re on Joan’s label, and we champion the Runaways a lot — and her.

“We didn’t want to do what you’d expect, y’know? We wanted to showcase the artists people might not know we’re into. We just did what we thought would be interesting and challenging.”

Diaz says Girl In a Coma plans to start work on its third album, the follow-up to 2009’s “Trio B.C.,” later this year.

Girl In a Coma performs with Sia at 7 p.m. Monday, April 26, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $20 with a $60 four-pack. Call 313-961-6358 or visit