Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Art and Artists: Freelance Whales

In keeping with my belief that anything I have to say has already been said better than I could ever say it, I will let the Freelance Whales introduce themselves to you.

"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."

My own description of the band is this: they sound pretty close to how their name might make you think they would sound. True to form, so to speak. Folky and indie and unique and...

Last weekend, I traveled to Chicago to witness the Whales in person. Needless to say, I loved every minute of it. There is something to be said for the atmosphere created when an artist takes the stage, and the Whales created one focused on the music rather than on putting on a "production". Even more impressive was the skill with which they played - each member of the band played multiple instruments, and did it well. Personal favorite? The banjo. One of my favorite sounds, and it fits well into the Whales' music.

It is easy to see that this band loves what they do, and the meekness they project is a beautiful thing to see. Following the show I bumped into one of the Whales and of course I told her (Doris, I believe) how much I enjoyed the show. She genuinely thanked me for coming and was excited that I enjoyed the music. Pure. I always enjoy watching those who are great at something perform. Even better when they are good people.

Below is one of my favorite songs by the Freelance Whales. It is called "Generator ^ Second Floor". I hope you enjoy it.

I want this song played at my funeral. Such an optimistic view on a topic we usually describe as morbid, dark, painful or causing fear. When I go, I don't want anyone to 'purse their faces grim on such a lovely Sunday'. Celebration of a life lived, you know? And this optimism and positive view on life penetrates every song this group creates. Perhaps it is an unfortunate commentary on society today that positivity stands out...and perhaps I don't feel like delving into that right now. But regardless, the sounds and moods the Whales create are terribly enjoyable.

I encourage you to spend some time listening to the Whales. Beautiful, diverse, wonderful music.


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