Thursday, November 30, 2006

Esquivel Space Age Xmas

The "lounge revival" of the 1990s was annoying. There is no getting around that. Perhaps it (along with twee-pop) was a reaction against grunge music. But it was annoying nonetheless, although I am not exactly sure why I think so.

That said, I actually like Esquivel, The Three Suns and some other hipster-lounge favorites, and of course I have a fondness for stereo-demo records. Perhaps part of my discomfort with the 1990s revival of interest in this kind of music is my assumption that the phenomena was rooted in hipster irony. Although I have no real justification for thinking that; if my affection for the music is genuine why shouldn't I be charitable enough to assume other's is as well?

In 1996 BarNone released an Esquivel Christmas album, merry xmas from the space age bachelor pad, that combined six songs from a 1959 RCA Christmas sampler with some stray tracks from other albums that marginally fit the holiday theme, in addition to two newly-recorded tracks played by Combustible Edison with an elderly Esquivel doing voice-over. The album is now out-of-print and fetching a pretty penny in the Marketplace.

The Holidays are the perfect time for this sort of good natured music. I'd like to see Irwin Chusid *(who produced a number of lounge-music reissues, and did much to re-popularize the genre on his radio show on WFMU) put together a Space-Age Pop Christmas collection. I'm sure there is a lot of worthhile Holiday material in this genre out there beyond Esquivel, but I don't have the patience to scrounge yard sales and dumpster-dive to find the worthwile stuff among the garbage (Christmas records are among the most common records found at yard sales).

Here are two of the better tracks from the CD, full of Esquivel's trademark "zu, zus." Both of these songs originally appeared on the 1959 Christmas sampler, and would no doubt be as effective in adding some zing to a Holiday party as spiking the eggnog with LSD.

*Looking a Chusid's website, despite his skill as a producer, author and DJ, his politics stink. It makes me wonder if perhaps there is there something inherently reactionary about the whole lounge-music revival and interest in "outsider music," and that is the reason I feel slightly uncomfortable with it. I don't think so actually...I'm probably just over-thinking things again.

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