freelance whales


I am working on my laptop at home and VH1 is on in the background and I hear a xylophone (ok, maybe a glockenspiel) in a song.

Now that would make anyone who likes music cock their head a little. And it sounded a little like Owl City (who I like) but a much richer sound instrumentally (even more than the xylophone) but a little younger-quirky sounding like maybe the early Eisley.


Wrap all that up and you have a nifty young band called Freelance Whales (the name gets explained later).

And the song was Hannah … of which not only the tune caught my ear but the oddly whimsical lyrics …

“And if you’re partial to the night sky

If you’re vaguely attracted to rooftops

Hannah takes the stairs

Cause she can’t tell that

its a winding spiral case

Is she right side up

Or upside-down?”

Here is Hannah:


Freelance Whales is an American indie rock band from Queens, New York, formed in 2008 after connecting on Craigslist (no joke).

Checkout the awesome odd instruments they all bring to the party:

Judah Dadone (lead vocals, banjo, acoustic and electric guitar, synthesizer, bass)

Doris Cellar (bass, harmonium, glockenspiel, synthesizer, vocals)

Chuck Criss (banjo, bass, synthesizer, glockenspiel, harmonium, acoustic and electric guitar, vocals), Jacob Hyman (drums, percussion, vocals) and Kevin Read (acoustic and electric guitar, glockenspiel, mandolin, synthesizer, vocals).

The band’s debut album, Weathervanes, was largely composed by frontman Judah Dadone, the lyrics based on a combination of childhood memories and dream journaling.

Because they’re from New York, the band’s name derives from that freelance atmosphere that the city has. Judah Dadone, once said: ‘Everybody in New York is a freelancer of something, and we used to be too when we played in the subways’ (not sure I get the correlation to whales but whatever ..).

Some music:

the entire weathervanes CD:

their videos:

beyond the background I wanted to write something interesting & witty about these guys but I found they had already done so in writing the band’s history:


“To call them multi-instrumentalists might be a little overdone. The kids in Freelance Whales are really just collectors, at heart. They don’t really fancy buffalo nickels or Victorian furniture, but over the past two years, they’ve been collecting instruments, ghost stories, and dream-logs. Somehow, from this strange compost heap of little sounds and quiet thoughts, songs started to rise up like steam from the ground.

The first performance of these songs took place in January of 2009, in Staten Island’s abandoned farm colony, a dilapidated geriatric ward, in one of New York’s lesser visited boroughs. A seemingly never-ending jigsaw of small rooms, the farm colony ate them whole and threatened to never regurgitate them. And even though the onlookers were only spiritual presences, the group was still palpably nervous and visibly cold. After a bit of singing, strumming and stomping asbestos, they realized that they’d found a good crowd. They heard a bit of clapping from an adjacent room, also some laughing, but not a single soul asked about their record.

Weathervanes, the groups debut LP, finished tracking just a few nights earlier. Swirling with organic and synthetic textures, interlocking rhythmic patterns, and light harmonic vocals, the record works to tell a simple, pre-adolescent love story: a young male falls in love with the spectral young femme who haunts his childhood home. He chases her in his dreams but finds her to be mostly elusive. He imagines her alive, and wonders if someday he’ll take on her responsibilities of ghosting, or if maybe he’ll join her, elsewhere.

Since their brief residency at the Farm Colony, Freelance Whales have taken to city streets, subway platforms, and stages with their swirling nostalgia. Many people who found them playing in those public spaces, managed to forget what train they were supposed to take; some of them forgot what language they originally spoke. And so, after playing in New York City, almost exclusively, for about a year, they embarked on their first tour of the United States, and Canada. They saw buffalos posted on hilltops, armies of windmills, and lots of lovely people who let the music run their blood in reverse.”

There you go.

Another whimsical music first here on enlightened conflict.


Written by Bruce