A Hawk and a Hacksaw

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Very, very old-fashioned.

So, the drummer from Neutral Milk Hotel started his own band, and it ended up even weirder...

A Hawk and a Hacksaw is a folk music ensemble. Though based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, their music mixes and matches from a variety of traditions, including Balkan, Turkish, Romani, Klezmer, and Mariachi. Most of their songs are Instrumentals.

The only permanent members are Jeremy Barnes (accordion, percussion) and Heather Trost (violin, viola). Their musical collaborators include the brass band Fanfare Ciocărlia, the Hun Hangár Ensemble, Ferenc Kovacs, Balazs Ungar, Kálmán Balogh, and Chris and Stephanie Hladowsky.

  • A Hawk and a Hacksaw (2002)
  • Darkness at Noon (2005)
  • The Way the Wind Blows (2006)
  • A Hawk and a Hacksaw and the Hun Hangár Ensemble EP (2007)
  • Délivrance (2009)
  • Cervantine (2011)

Barnes and Trost also played on Beirut's debut album Gulag Orkestar (2006).

A Hawk and a Hacksaw provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The self-titled album had a stronger American folk influence, and prominent tape-stutter noises.
  • Epic Rocking: The 8-minute "No Rest for the Wicked".
  • Fairy Tale: "Vasilisa Carries a Flaming Skull Through the Forest" is a scene taken directly from the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa The Beautiful.
  • I Am the Band: Jeremy Barnes was initially the sole member of the band, and he played all the instruments on the first album.
  • In the Style Of: They recorded "Foni Tu Argile"--a traditional Rembetika song (i.e. performed by a Greek string band)--with a brass band.
  • LARP: The "Cervantine" music video depicts an epic LARP battle.
  • Pop Star Composer: Okay, maybe it's a bit of a stretch to call Barnes a pop star. Anyway, the self-titled album was used as a soundtrack for the documentary film Zizek!, and starting in 2011, the band would perform original live music to accompany screenings of Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors.
  • Multiple Reference Pun: The name A Hawk and a Hacksaw references Aksak (a meter common in Balkan and Turkish music) and the phrase "a hawk and a handsaw" (which originates from Hamlet, but came to Jeremy Barnes by way of one particular translation of Don Quixote).
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly
  • Protest Song: "Portland Town".
  • Single-Stanza Song: "Laughter in the Dark", "For Slavoj".
  • Take That: Slavoj Zizek (the subject of the aforementioned documentary, Zizek!) is a philosopher who believes that love is evil. AHAAH wrote a song, "For Slavoj", whose only lyrics are the repeated stanza "I love you".
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Kertész", "I Am Not a Gambling Man".