Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Balkan hot step
First Beirut, now A Hawk and a Hacksaw. Well, it really should be the other way round. AHAAH actually have two albums already - the eponymous debut from 2004 and last year's Darkness at Noon. Then earlier this year, the blogosphere went mad for Beruit, who does a very similar line in Eastern European folky music, full of meandering accordian, mournful trumpet and weeping violins. I say that without a very firm grasp on the full output of Jeremy Barnes, the man who calls himself A Hawk and a Hacksaw. The best I've really got to go on are a couple of mp3s that have been lying in my inbox for a while now. But I have listened to them. And yes, I like them. And yes, they do sound a bit like Beirut. But maybe that's not really surprising, since Barnes and Heather Trost from AHAAH are also part of Beirut with Zach Condon. Oh, surely the world of US-based indie Balkan gyspy music is a small one.
Here are the tracks. They're from the new AHAAH album, The Way the Wind Blows, which is out now. It could be well worth checking out.
Download: A Hawk and a Hacksaw - In the River
Download: A Hawk and a Hacksaw - God Bless the Ottoman Empire
Buy The Way the Wind Blows
Speaking of Beirut, Gulag Orkestar is getting its official UK release on 4AD on 6 November. It's going to be accompanied by an EP called Lon Gisland. I found this out because Daily Growl correspondent reverend war character picked up a promo copy of Gulag and the EP in one of his many forages in the bargain basements of London record shops. For a quid too. There are four tracks on it - three new, one a different version of Scenic World off the album. STG has already posted on Elephant Gun, which is the best track. So I'll give you Carousels. It's another fine example of Beirut's lovely take on East European folk-pop. Good to see he's got more good stuff up his sleeve. Even if it's not new tricks, then at least it shows he can keep up the high quality of what he does already.
Download: Beirut - Carousels
Buy Gulag Orkestar
And to top it all off nicely, Beirut and AHAAH are both supporting Calexico on their forthcoming UK tour (5 November in London). I'll be getting to the Roundhouse early! You can also see Beirut headlining at the Luminaire on 12 November.