We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

If you really wanna hate the Squirrel Nut Zippers, then do so because of those unbelievably creepy fans who stink up the band’s live shows with cheap cigars and sweat-stained antique clothing. Just don’t condemn the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based septet for energizing the soon-to-be-tired swing revival wailing away on MTV and Gap commercials. (Feel free, however, to lambaste Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Royal Crown Revue, and so on for that hot “new” sound.) Head Zips Jim Mathus and Tom Maxwell take turns writing the group’s retro-fueled material, and while the boys enjoy the occasional nod to the jump ‘n’ jive of Louis Prima, what they truly live for is the steamy N’awlins stomp of Louis Armstrong. Bayou-baked jazz dominates the new 12-cut, 39-minute Perennial Favorites, the Zippers’ thoroughly entertaining and original followup to ’95’s The Inevitable and ’96’s Hot. And when the band isn’t providing the soundtrack for Bourbon Street circa ’25 (“Suits Are Picking Up the Bill” and “Evening at Lafitte’s” are as good as the Zippers get), they’re taking off on some dazzling tangents: Lone female Zipper Katharine Whalen conjures up the vocal spirit of Billie Holiday on slow burners “Low Down Man” and “My Drag,” Maxwell calls in some calypso for “Trou Macacq,” and the entire band whips into a klezmatic fervor on the raucous “Ghost of Stephen Foster.” On Perennial Favorites, the Zippers continue to move away from the constraints of a one-and-done novelty act. Now, if they could only outrun that smelly groupie in the red feather boa and flapper dress…—Sean Daly