"Beat Circus was formed in 2002 by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brian Carpenter. Beat Circus delivers Weird American Gothic stories of children, dreams, fatherhood, revenge, redemption, and murder. Dreamland is their second album and is a uniquely fierce record of dark narrative songs and instrumental works, which is loosely based on historical events associated with turn-of-the-century New York and Coney Island. Brian leads a nine piece ensemble with a unique and exciting instrumentation: Brian Carprenter-vocals, pump organ, harmonica, trumpet, Käthe Hosletter-violin, viola, Julia Kent-cello, Alec K. Redfearn-accordion, jawharp, Ronn Caswell-tuba, Curtis Hasselbring-trombone, Brandon Seabrook-tenor banjo, mandolin, slide guitar, Briggan Krauss-saxophones, Matt McLaren-drums and percussion as well as other musical guests. You can hear echoes of Tom Waits, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Kurt Weill, Carla Bley, Hans Eisler, Bernard Herrman and much much more here, but what it all combines into could only come from Beat Circus! Included is a really nice 12 page, full color booklet with lots of historical (and creepy) imagery!" [Cuneiform website]
ZNR adds: I think the description above is spot-on but would only add that I heard lots of Barbez in their sound as well! I loved it!