Prewar Punk

Squirrel Nut Zippers were always a bit too weird for the swing revival. The North Carolina troupe was also incredibly well-studied, flitting among decades-old sounds with an authentic ear. The second half of the ’90s proved a boon, as the charismatic single “Hell” propelled 1996’s Hot to platinum sales. From there, the septet went into prolific high gear, releasing an odds 'n’ sods record, the follow-up album Perennial Favorites, and a Christmas collection. But 2000’s Bedlam Ballroom would be their last, despite a requisite Best Of, and Squirrel Nut Zippers hibernated for most of this decade. Several founding members — including vocalists Jimbo Mathus and the eerily Billie Holiday–like Katharine Whalen, both of whom released solo albums — reunited in 2007, and this year released the live album Lost at Sea. Currently a nine-piece, the band is plotting another studio album and coming to town to ring in the New Year. Whether taken as old-soul goofballs, one-hit wonders, or just another reunited ’90s act, Squirrel Nut Zippers match their zany sense of humor with a loving resurrection of genres long done and dusted.

Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts open.
Dec. 30-31, 9 p.m., 2009

 
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