Favorite

Live 

FREELANCE WHALES, MINIATURE TIGERS, BEAR HANDS

CLUB CONGRESS

Sunday, Nov. 14

The fact that Freelance Whales coalesced as a band while busking around New York City isn't a surprise, given their well-blended vocal harmonies. But that the band managed such varied instrumentation along the way is surely impressive.

The band's soaring, orchestral indie folk is built upon layers of non-rock instruments—glockenspiel, harmonium and banjo—as well as the typical guitar, bass and drums. Frontman Judah Dadone draws easy comparisons to Sufjan Stevens and Ben Gibbard, and the Freelance Whales' overall sound is like that of Postal Service, but more organic.

Dadone's songs and stage manner are earnest but geeky: He described the band's debut album Weathervanes as a "love letter to ghosts" and dedicated one song to "everyone's spirit animal." That tune, "The Great Estates," made the best use of the chiming glockenspiel, providing an insistent, yearning melody—fitting for an ode to spirit animals.

The best of the band's soundtrack-ready anthems, "Starring," leaned heavily on the keyboards to frame another one of Dadone's ghost stories: "This is me starring in a stranger's nightmare."

Set closer "Generator ^ Second Floor" paired banjo and a high-wire guitar riff, but it's the refrain that stood out the most. "We will put this flesh into the ground again" is a lyric that few bands could pull off, but Dadone and bassist Doris Cellar, singing in harmony, sprinkled the macabre image in glitter.

Encore "Broken Horse" was a gorgeous and haunting ballad, all plucked banjo and cold-winter imagery.

Before the Freelance Whales, the Miniature Tigers proved that growth through exposure is a good thing. Moving to Brooklyn has tightened the former Phoenix band's mellow and warm indie folk-rock.

Bear Hands opened the all-Brooklyn, all-animal-names show, with melodic guitars and rhythmic complexity that recalled bands like Surfer Blood and MGMT.

Tags:

More by Eric Swedlund

  • Light the Match

    Sedona’s own decker. kicks out a fiery new album
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • Liberate, Create!

    A trio of skilled songsmiths generate a new folk-rock
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • Preaching the Bad Testament

    Scott H. Biram—the original Dirty Old One Man Band—is back in the pulpit
    • Apr 6, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Noise Annoys

    Baby Gas Mask, absurdist soul and prog, plus Chaka!
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • Know Your Product

    Stars pick their top five! This week: J Lugo Miller
    • Nov 17, 2016

Latest in Live

  • Noise Annoys

    Baby Gas Mask, absurdist soul and prog, plus Chaka!
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • B-Sides: DJQ

    MUSIC AS POETRY
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Vintage Vinyl

    Quinstrels "I've Got a Girl"/"Tell Her" Moxie Records M.R.C.—1965
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Vintage Vinyl

    The Frozen Sun “Electric Soul”/”Electric Soul” (long version) Captain Zoomar Records, 1969
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation