SXSW Music 2010
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., March 26, 2010
Freelance WhalesGalaxy Room Backyard, Friday, March 19
One of this year's SXSW buzz bands, Freelance Whales turned in a half-hour set covering most of their debut, Weathervanes, which will be re-released by Frenchkiss Records and Mom + Pop on April 13. Digitally, the songs boast more bleeps and bloops while also drawing comparisons to the twee sensitivity of Sufjan Stevens. Live, they're more raw and unpolished but still endearing and retain the indie preciousness suggested by any Sufjan comparisons. The Queens quintet kicked off its set with the dreamy slow burn of "Generator 1st Floor," which, as accentuated with a succession of choppy "ah ah eh eh ah ahs," would've benefited from some polish. Bassist and utility player Doris Cellar added a layer of geeky sex appeal with her horn-rims, nerd bob, and enthusiastic playing while "Hannah" provided a vision of how hipsters mate and showcased the group's emphasis on harmonies, frontman Judah Dadone's gentle tenor at the head of the fray. "Starring" showcased the band's cool, vintage-y instruments, including a metal watering can and harmonium (womanned by Cellar). Despite unevenness with tempo and some off-key singing, the Whales closed their otherwise-triumphant set with the bookend "Generator 2nd Floor."