Squirrel Nut Zippers

The Inevitable Squirrel Nut Zippers

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The members of the band mostly just call it jazz, or "hot music," or, when they're feeling naughty, "race music" -- a term that dates back to the1920s and '30s, when major record labels released jump blues and hot jazz singles under special subsidiary imprints with names like Okeh and Sepiatone. It's music that doesn't really have a name anymore, yet everyone recognizes it and loves it. This wasn't the album that made the Squirrel Nut Zippers a household name (that honor goes to Hot, the follow-up), but it sure could have if given the chance. An instrumental with the pitch-perfect title of "Lugubrious Whing Whang," cover versions of "You're Drivin' Me Crazy" and "I've Found a New Baby," originals like "Lover's Lane," and the absolutely hair-raising "La Grippe" -- these are not just labors of love by dewy-eyed nostalgists. The SNZs have taken this music and appropriated it entirely, without a trace of irony or condescension. The result is magnificent.

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