Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
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.
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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 1, 2009