Preacher and the Knife
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Preacher and the Knife

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Out of the House"

It seemed slightly odd to be heading to the Mercury Lounge on a cold and blustery Sunday night in order to see local buzz bands Free Blood and Preacher and the Knife. To be honest, I’ve most memorably experienced both of these bands in very intimate, sweaty, and BYOB-friendly conditions — i.e. the uniquely tried and true NYC house party.

Here in New York, it’s almost a rite of passage for any local band to test out their new material (and buzz-building chops) at a random jam (preferably at a dingy artist loft building on the very outskirts of Brooklyn). Bands like MGMT, Animal Collective and the Rapture earned their stripes by playing as the “house band” for a number of shindigs, performing next to partygoers that are lucky enough to dance all up on the drum kit.

Now, there’s a new generation of bands trying to bring the Brooklyn loft party to the masses by literally leaping into the audience while dance-rocking the set away.

Sunday night’s opening band Preacher and the Knife have seemingly inherited the “next big thing” label here in NYC, and it’s easy to see why. Lead singer Daniel Barcelowsky attacks the stage, letting his blues-y, seemingly possessed vocals wash over the crowd while dancing up to audience members like a disco Nick Cave. Barcelowsky sings about sadness, retribution, and the inherent darkness in religion. Combine that with a tight, electro-psychobilly rhythm section, and Preacher and the Knife will definitely be playing bigger stages in NYC in months to come.

Headlining act Free Blood are known for their distinctive male-female vocals, indie-dance band pedigree (the white-hot labels Rong Music and DFA Records) and infamous dancefloor hijinks (think confrontational dancing). But surprisingly, as the band showcased newer, more refined versions of tracks off of their excellent Singles CD, I was surprised that lead singers John Pugh and Madeline Davy were seemingly glued to the stage. Granted, both were playing instruments (I especially liked Pugh’s addition of jangly funk-rock to the electronic beats stew), but damn it, I kinda missed the Free Blood boogie session!

But never fear: I was especially heartened that Pugh jumped off the stage for their last song, mic in hand, and kind of bumped into me while dancing. Good (and slightly sweaty) stuff. -

"These Bands Have Style"

Preacher and the Knife at Cynthia Rowley -

"Yes In My Backyard"

Every day is Halloween for local art-punks Preacher and the Knife, a five-piece that specializes in two-minute blasts of Birthday Party shivers. Lead singer Daniel Barcelowsky deftly handles all the yelping and yawping and hemming and hee-hawing (think vintage, unhinged Nick Cave), but his band is a little more Brooklyn-tribal--a classic pigfuck drum nightmare as filtered through the post-Liars noiseaverse. And, oh yeah, they do the whole thing under the auspices of being a dance band, so everyone's always free to cut loose, zombie-style. On the kitchen smash-up demo recording of "Ghost House," Barcelowsky walks through your spiritual universe like a straight-up Southern Gothic Ghostbuster and knocks yer cross off the wall. It's short, but does plenty of reverb-mucko damage anyway.
Preacher and the Knife frontman Daniel Barcelowsky on "Ghost House"
What was the inspiration for this song?

The band became obsessed with ghosts from rehearsing in our space in this old theater house. The old theater or schoolhouse is located in the Lower East Side. It burned down and one little girl died in the fire. The little girl walks around the old building at night. There have been various sightings. But more than that I like ghost stories, particularly one my Grandmother told me growing up about her first child, who used to knock a cross off the wall in her living room in her house. She died of unforeseen causes. Appendix rupture, I believe. They had the wake in the house back then. Her casket was in the living room and when they removed the casket the cross fell off the wall.

Where are you from originally? How did you develop this Southern Gothic flavor?

Originally I am from South Jersey, but the band is from all around. If that comes to mind then that sensibility came through influences from Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty or maybe just living in the old theater. There was one year or so where I lived in the theatre and I wrote a lot of the lyrics at that time.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I am not sure about ghosts, but I believe in people's ghost stories.

What's been your most memorable New York show?

One of the first shows we played was a Halloween loft party. I had one of the hardest falls I've ever experienced onstage. I fell backwards off an amp and landed on candles--my friend Manderson tried catching me but it was no real help. I was down for a good few before we could continue. My breath was knocked out of me. That was before the police invasion.

What's your favorite place to eat in New York?

Fiore Tedesco is the king of cooks. We eat what he makes. When he is not doing his Brooklyn Laundry dinner parties in the city, then maybe Cafe Katja, St Dyphna's. or Soy.

Download:: Preacher and the Knife, "Ghost House"

Preacher And The Knife play a brand new, Todd P-endorsed space at 171 Lombardy St in Brooklyn on Saturday, October 3. Joining them will be Ian Svenonius' new band Chain and the Gang and Brooklyn's own Fiasco. -


The Beginning (2008)



"Every day is Halloween for local art-punks Preacher and the Knife, a five-piece that specializes in two-minute blasts of Birthday Party shivers." (Village Voice) They played their first show on Halloween 2006, and since have been performing with a mind towards evoking the spirits of old, borrowing broadly from American gospel, tribal drumming, and Caribbean island sounds. “A mix of bizzaro psychedelia and minimalist no wave action — all reverb-drenched hollering and cowbells and thumpy drums.” ( Most shows feature appearances by guest musicians; recent additions include taiko drummers, gospel singers, and Dennis Young of Liquid Liquid.

Preacher and the Knife has shared bills with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Ian Svenonius’ Chain & the Gang, Jon Spencer, and BLKJKS, at venues such as Webster Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Santos Party house, Mercury Lounge and Glasslands. Other live shows have included several of Jonathan Toubin’s dance parties, the 2007 P.S.1 Warm-up festival hosted by A Touch of Class Records, the 2008 F-Yeah! Festival, and Cynthia Rowley's 2010 fasion show. Their first EP, ‘The Beginning’, was recorded by the Bellmer Dolls’ Peter Mavrogeorgis. A full-length album, recorded by Peter and Sean Maffucci (Crystal Stilts, Gang Gang Dance), will be released digitally and on vinyl in the next couple of months.

Preacher and the Knife is Daniel Barcelowsky (vocals), Jon Ramos (bass), Fiore Tedesco III (drums), Jordan Hadley (keyboards), and John Reineck (percussion and vocals).
“Incantations both holy and profane with a hint of swamp muck humid sweat, I do declare Preacher and the Knife to be a force.” (