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The handclapping indie pop of Freelance Whales was born on the streets and subways of New York City after the band's formation in Queens at the end of 2008. After amassing a collection of miscellaneous instruments, including a harmonium and waterphone, frontman Judah Dadone enlisted the help of fellow musicians Kevin Read, Doris Cellar, Jake Hyman, and Chuck Criss to realize his D.I.Y.-sounding, folk-inspired pop songs. To perfect its sound, the band took to the streets busking and playing at various venues in and around New York City, including Staten Island's Farm Colony. At the beginning of 2009 and with a collection of songs written, they set about recording their debut, Weathervanes. The self-released album picked up favorable reviews on various Internet blogs with the band being compared to Arcade Fire — mainly for its use of unusual instruments — and Sufjan Stevens. In September 2009 they signed a deal with Frenchkiss Records to release Weathervanes internationally in 2010. The band's sophomore outing, Diluvia, followed in 2012.