Little City has grown accustomed to doing things their own way. Beyond making great music, it’s what plentifully populated indie-rock bands with purpose do to get heard.
The Hammond organ in their downtown Toronto jam space (which they built themselves) is regularly surrounded by the band silk screening their own t-shirts, assembling their own press kits (they designed the dye and printed their last EP themselves), prepping and testing technology for self-produced music videos and creating posters to advertise their self-promoted shows. The six full-time band members have more distinct and diverse tastes than they’d care to mention, without eliciting a friendly debate. But, from their independent personalities and individual strengths extends a do-it-yourself attitude that has become a driving facet of their music and driving force of their self-promotion.
Formed in 2009, the at times 12 strong collective of musicians in Little City, has featured part-time members from full-time bands The Wooden Sky and Ohbijou. They quickly assembled the delightful 2010 EP, The Going And The Gone with producer Laurence Currie (Sloan, Wintersleep, Hey Rosetta!, Holy Fuck). It bubbled through to music tastemakers and the music blogosphere earning the band resounding rankings of “one of the best upcoming folk/pop groups in the country” (- Forget The Box). They have steadily grown their live audience appeal with their sprawling and celebratory live sets. The Sound Of Pop declared the band “stole the show” during their epic 2011 CMW set and NXNE reviews echoed similar sentiments.
Little City will brave the winter of 2012 with their newest and perhaps most daring single release, Sperry/Capt. Kendall. In physical version, it exists as a 7”, with an A-side (Sperry) that takes time to grow and requests patience of the listener, before fully blooming at the climax with loud strings, ringing guitars, group vocals and the resonant lead delivery of Frances Miller pleads (a voice NOW Magazine likened with highest praise to that of Florence Welch) to “let your soul back down”. The B-side (Capt. Kendall), a dynamic mid-tempo sing along introduces new elements of the band (Male vocals! Horns!), while tying in lyrically with the A-side, as they both set forth imagery of exploration and indecision.
The digital version of Sperry/Capt. Kendall exists as something much more elaborate. Through six songs, Little City offers a wide range of sounds and energy, sometimes in the same song (Arms Around a Picture). They venture back in their catalogue to the first song they wrote and played together (Yonder), and add acoustic versions from some of their widely praised EP, The Going and The Gone, for good measure. Two of the band members, Shaun Axani and Dave Clarke, along with the band, produced the single.
Little City first and foremost create deliberate, thoughtful, beautiful music. What a waste it would be to have their songs go unheard. With sonic strength in their numbers, luckily, comes the ability to exploit all their skills in doing what it takes to share their music. It’s the mark of a contemporary band unwilling to wait for someone else to do it for them.
Little City will tour Canada throughout the spring and summer (full dates to be announced in early 2012). Expect a full-length album to quickly take shape. Expect to see and hear from this band more and more. No longer content to be contained and by their own promotional prowess, past the power of their songs: the best-kept music secret of Toronto is about to become everyone’s favourite new band.
Dave Clarke - Bass
Frances Miller - Vocals, mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, french horn
Jordan Axani - guitars
Shaun Axani - Banjo, Vocals, guitars, Harmonica, Lap Steel
Thom Macfarlane - Vocals, Percussion
Trevor Kai - keyboards, organ, Accordian
"Sperry/Capt. Kendall" 7" + B-Sides (2012)
"Going and the Gone" EP (2010)
- Stream the whole EP at http://www.littlecityband.com/music - thanks!
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"Little City is a local collective of talented folks who create smart pop and push the envelope when..."Little City is a local collective of talented folks who create smart pop and push the envelope when it comes to getting themselves heard. Building on the infectious feel of their 2010 EP, The Going and the Gone, the band are set to serve up a new vinyl/digital single, Sperry/Capt. Kendall.”
Little City, big band
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"But listening to their new single, Sperry/Capt. Kendall, the importance of Miller’s vocal contribut..."But listening to their new single, Sperry/Capt. Kendall, the importance of Miller’s vocal contributions to the band is clear. Her voice might sound rootsy, there’s nothing down-home about her clarity and range."
Basement Jams, A Saturday Show and their upcoming 7"
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"In an absolutely charming phone-date, Shaun Axani of Toronto’s Little City discusses new records, g..."In an absolutely charming phone-date, Shaun Axani of Toronto’s Little City discusses new records, great shows and busy cities – all the elements that have helped make up the band."
Take a Look: Little City
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Do you ever get cravings for music or bands in particular that will make you feel full of warmth and...Do you ever get cravings for music or bands in particular that will make you feel full of warmth and motivation? If you’re currently finding yourself in that spot, here’s my suggestion: Little City.
The Torontonian six-piece are fresh, dedicated and smooth. They will instill a calmness into your daily routine, but it will bring you up. It’s like you’re looking upon yourself, seeing what you’re about to do with your day, and finally deciding to give that gentle push that will not only knock the dust off the nooks and crannies, but give you an extra airiness to do with as you please.
The band establishes themselves to us with their first release: The Going and the Gone EP. In five songs, beauty flows out like a broken dam, the most preciously damned dam you’ll ever find. Frances Miller’s vocals are pure and totally on spot. She glides, she bounces, she soars. Along with her musical companions, Shaun Axani, Dave Clarke, Joel Dickau, Trevor Kai and Jordan Axani, they compliment each other in just the right amounts. The band is still gaining confidence around town, but you’d never guess from listening to this EP. Their bond bends unbreakable, and they are stronger for it.
The lyrics are one point that I really appreciate about this EP. It’s kind of speaking to a time that I’m in right now, but it also has enough to keep me guessing and at a distance that I can learn through. They’re not very clear, but that means you can adapt it to your wishes. Just even in “Bright Glow,” the opener and strongest, Miller’s chorus through the rolling blues guitars and piano is “So go lay low, and elaborate in stereo, to keep the streets that you bestow home, to say heyyyo, you’re only as bright as you can glow, on top of the Montreal Plateau, I’m home.” This song will be so hard not to sing along to, by the way, so be careful if in busy areas.
I can keep going on and on about this band. I’m looking forward to seeing more from them in the future. I saw them open for We Are the City a few months ago, but like Shaun said in an email to me, that was their second show and quite nervous. That explains things, as I remember loving their music, but thinking they needed to let go a little bit. My only other points that aren’t gushing is that at some points on the EP the banjo or the keyboards sound a little off from the rest. It’s not really noticeable if you’re just having your feel-good moment, that’s just me being a picky critic.
The Going and the Gone is for dreamers and practical thinkers alike. Let it splash over you in a moment of clarity or even under your feet, resting.
You can hear “Bright Glow” and “Rise Up” on their MySpace. You can download “Bright Glow” on their website: http://www.littlecityband.com/.
The EP will be released digitally this week.
Canadian Music Week: Little City
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This was our last concert we attended, therefore making it our last concert review for Canadian Musi...This was our last concert we attended, therefore making it our last concert review for Canadian Music Week. We will be doing an editorial in a few days to discuss Canadian Music Week/Canadian Music Fest in general, along with some other points we feel need to be mentioned, so stay tuned for that. (Just tying up some loose ends)
The Sound of Pop could not think of a better way to end this week than with a senses overload performance by Little City.
This Toronto based band consists of Shaun Axani, Frances Miller, Dave Clarke, Trevor Kai, Thom Macfarlane, and Jordan Axani, although Sunday night's performance did have some help from the super talented Kalan Porter and Anissa Hart (of Ohbijou).
Let me just say I have heard their EP (review to follow within the next week) and I was expecting a good show but I was not expecting a show as intense as this one.
They started off with my absolute favourite song Bright Glow...Frances Miller...WOW...she left me and entire audience in absolute awe. The way she was playing the mandolin and singing simultaneously both with such intensity was beyond amazing. It was actually during this performance that I took notice of each of the band member’s ability to bring several different talents to create a harmonious masterpiece.
It was really interesting watching them all up on stage not just for the eclectic range of musical instruments but also the bond they all share is quite evident. They would look at each other from the corner of their eyes and they seem to all really enjoy each other's company. They are a band that is there by choice; all they want to do is perform and do what they clearly love doing…making great music
I had the chance to listen to their debut EP The Going and the Gone and this performance took an already amazing EP and multiplied it by 10. Little City on stage is something any music lover needs to experience and you can (watch below).
Little City's music is reminiscent of something familiar but thought provoking and poignant as something much more current. They performed for the audience some songs that were not included on the EP which further proved how talented this band is. They are not finding a niche and filling it, they are merely fulfilling their own personal need to make great music. Their musical genre differs depending on the track whether it’s melodic pop or intense exuberant pop; Little City always pushes themselves to deliver the best and the result is evident in their wide audience appeal.
I won't go on too much about the EP and I haven't even mentioned the songwriting aspect behind these guys but The Sound of Pop will deliver a more detail review with all that good stuff. What I will say is that Little City stole the show during Canadian Music Week. The performance was so professionally executed and as soon as the light show happened with the bubbles...it was game over...Little City came out on top not just for producing an amazing set list, nor the intense chemistry and stage presence this band had, nor even the insane amount of musical instruments that were played during that performance, and nor even the way they got the audience pumped up with stage spectacles....Little City came out on top for taking all of that and not allowing any of it to compete with one another or become bigger than themselves, they created a perfect harmony which allowed Little City to showcase their astounding talent perfectly.
To the Plateau it Goes – Little City EP Review
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Little City, a Toronto based band, is an interesting collective of diverse musicians who bring a var...Little City, a Toronto based band, is an interesting collective of diverse musicians who bring a variety of talent that is a true replicate of what Canadian music brings to the table in 2011. They are, repeat, one of the best upcoming folk/pop groups in our country. After randomly coming across Little City live at the Velvet Underground in Toronto during CMW, I picked up a copy of their EP, The Going and The Gone. We played it on repeat the whole way back to Montreal. It’s absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t stop saying, “This EP is so nice. It’s so nice. So, so nice.”
Like said, it was one of those bands you greatly stumble upon (and not via stumbelupon.com) and don’t exit the venue two minutes later. During their set they pulled out an array of instruments ranging from mandolin to violin to the norm. The lead guitarist heroically jumped on the 4 foot wide speakers, which spewed out from the stage and gave it to the audience like he was the Slash of folk. If you got a chance to look away from him, you noticed that all the other members look like they were in their own worlds. Think of it like this… they are the planets in their music universe that work together to create this white blanket over the world (which is us the audience).
Now, let’s talk EP. Little City’s EP screams, actually sweetly sings, MONTREAL. Of the five songs that grace the EP, five of them chant about Montreal’s Plateau
and how it’s everyone’s escape city – a place where
your heart wanders free and your spirit…well, it lives.
And the lyrics. OH BOY. I’m not sure who wrote the
words to their songs, but holy shit they are soul sinking. We’re talking poetic songs, with twisting words that mean more with the music than your mom’s wedding ring.
Check out, Rise Up and Bright Glow (both can be found on their MySpace). And for the other songs, well, you’re just going to have to buy the EP. If you’re folk/pop junkie, it’s worth every music-ear dollar.
Make sure to grab the EP and check out Little City in a town near you. For now, just enjoy the poetry music that your mind and ears will consciously absorb.
Quick Hits: Little City
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This is the debut EP from the Toronto-based group. These five songs boast catchy melodies build on ...This is the debut EP from the Toronto-based group. These five songs boast catchy melodies build on a folk rock platform. They keep things interesting, and add to the hooks, by taking a multi-vocalist approach. Little City is definitely a band you'll want to keep your ears open for.
Top 10 EPs of 2010
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Little City is a local Toronto band, whose down-to-earthness is obvious. The Going and the Gone, a f...Little City is a local Toronto band, whose down-to-earthness is obvious. The Going and the Gone, a five song-long introduction to the group is like the perfect greeting: warm, friendly but leaves you wanting to get to know them more. “Bright Glow” is still one of my favourite songs of 2010. Little City could use a little more footing around the local scene, but I see it happening for them within the next year.
Call & Response: Little City
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I recently had a chance to sit down with Little City's Shaun Axani via email to ask him some questio...I recently had a chance to sit down with Little City's Shaun Axani via email to ask him some questions about life, love, and Montreal:
Who is your favourite Canadian Artist?
A: The cool answer is Neil Young. The current choice is The Wooden Sky.
Besides family, friends, other music, and long summer nights, what influences your music the most?
A: I think like a lot of songs/songwriters, our songs are very influenced by life experiences (often the not so great ones). That often relates to everything you said to exclude from the question, but it can extend to broad things like loss or hope, or specific things like a feeling in your gut at a funeral procession or when say goodbye to a friend going to war. Can you get any more broad than 'life experiences' as an answer to this question? Life?!
Where is the best place to listen to your music?
A: The Mont Royal Plateau. From that specific location you'll hear a brilliant 100 piece orchestra in the background of our songs. It's also mentioned in one of our songs, and if you were listening to a Toronto band while you were there, you wouldn't be able to get over what a coincidence it was.
What do you love most about Montreal?
A: I think I love most things about Montreal! Two winters ago I spent a couple of weeks out there while a band recorded an album, and I convinced myself I was going to move out there. And it was minus 30 every day. And I hate the cold. But my measurement for life is: if you still want to be there and it's freezing cold, you probably love it. Also, your bagels are awesome.
What do you love most about Poutine?
A: Cheese curds that squeak in your mouth! My grade 7 french teacher always spoke about Quebec cheese curds like it was some urban legend. But I finally went there and tried it and it was like heaven mixed with world peace mixed with pleasant squeaking. It was great.
What do you hate most about Poutine?
A: I don't eat beef, so when places aren't clear as to what they make their gravy out of. And it ends up that it's beef. That ends with me being sick. It's probably my fault regardless, but have you seen those cheese curds?!
What's the best way to spend a Million dollars in 10 minutes?
A: Buy stocks in Justin Bieber. It's a corporation, right? (In all seriousness, I feel like if he were a stock, it would have a similar life cycle to Nortel, just shortened into a few months. Sell high, boys and girls.)
What's the worst place you've ever been to?
A: There's this forest where I grew up that had lots of bees in it. One time I wanted to go rafting through it, but the raft deflated shortly after we began, and we were lost. The bees had a field day (or so 8 year old Shaun thought). I was sure I would die. That place sucked.
How did you spend your 16th birthday? I got my G1 (learners permit for driving) and then was terrified to drive home with my mom. But I made it. I forget what I did in the evening, but I probably wanted to go bowling.
Review: The Going and the Gone by Little City
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I had the luxury of first hearing the music of Little City a short time ago, and that the up-and-... I had the luxury of first hearing the music of Little City a short time ago, and that the up-and-coming six-piece hails from Toronto made it no surprise that their debut EP, The Going and the Gone, displays more than enough craft and promise to take the band to higher and more deserving ground.
Opener “Bright Glow” sets a tone that is not unlike that of the EP itself: the steady and restrained percussion of Joel Dickau, equally inhibiting bass of Dave Clarke, and rhythmic piano of Trevor Kai, which in this first song’s case is kicked off with the old-timey country presence of harmonica intro. Carrying the song’s and often the album’s emotion is singer Frances Miller, whose vocal capacity and maturity show an age of about twice her own. And this engrossing five-minute ballad, also like much of the EP, is speckled with moments of musical intrigue courtesy of brothers Shaun and Jordan Axani, whose guitar, mandolin, banjo and lap steel between them serve up the predominant folk contributions and Southern twang that so well compliment the rest of the music.
Two others that have left lasting impressions are “This in Remembrance”, whose calming guitar plucking and lulling melody have an earthy demeanor that take me anywhere from family winters to log cabin summers (which aren’t even real memories half the time), and “Lincoln Learning French”, a refreshingly upbeat turn with perhaps the catchiest intertwining of nearly all instruments on deck, and harnessing what might be their strongest potential for future exploration and growth. It’s a fine way to end their first effort.
The Going and the Gone is a neat and tidy, and small, package. While EPs by nature serve as a short and sweet sampling of an artist’s work at any given time in their career, I as a listener would have elected to hear more of what this band can do, both in size and scope. And when that time does come, I think Little City would benefit from letting go of some of their neat and tidy to explore their unknown as well.
Though the group is only at the beginning of what looks to be a well-deserved spot in the ever sought after indie folk scene, they seem to have already stumbled onto those elements to the sound that speak to both its lasting mark by some of history’s greats and also its contemporary revival as championed by so many new and not-so-new artists today.
It’s appropriate, then, that an overarching theme for The Going and the Gone, in fact Little City themselves, is “lost and found”. While many may see the phrase as embodying something more tangible, something lingering in the time, spirit and reflection of their music, it may as justly serve as a brief lesson of history, a continuing and welcome history, of the music they create itself.
Little City performs live in studio!
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"...one of the best new bands coming out of Toronto, Little City: the perfect blend of upbeat folk-p..."...one of the best new bands coming out of Toronto, Little City: the perfect blend of upbeat folk-pop"
We typically will play a 30-45 minute set that includes 5-9 originals. We will occassionally mix in a cover, generally by The Beatles, Paul Simon, Bruce
Springsteen, or someone else who made music before we were born.
Set List Example:
- Bright Glow
- Arms Around a Picture
- I Was a Runner (Unreleased)
- Hard to See
- Lincoln Learning French
- Do you Believe? (Unreleased)
- Mile from Land (Unreleased)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.