Little Teeth
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Little Teeth

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Avant-garde




"Resurrection - The Exquisite Pain and Rebirth of Freak Folkers, Little Teeth"

In a once-pink house, atop a hill where San Francisco and Daly City collide, freak folk four-piece Little Teeth practices its trash thrash in a small living room decked with tawdry holiday tchotchkes year round, as if suspended in a never-ending Christmas.

When I arrive, pajama-clad vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Sofia Bell is baking Christmas tree-shaped vegan cookies. As she enters the bedroom, she serves percussionist Sean Real and the band's newest addition, Brian Rodriguez, her freshly baked confections. Her wife, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Dannie Murrie, is in their bed, watching 16 and Pregnant. When Bell ensures everyone is eating, she gets in the bed and cozies up next to Murrie. The room's energy shifts when the interview commences.

Weeks prior — to accompany Daly City/Andalusia, an EP of demos — Little Teeth posted a tell-all bio on Bandcamp, scrupulously detailing the dissolution of the band's original lineup (Ammo Eisu, Andy Tisdall, Murrie — Murrie remains the only original member).

On New Year's Eve 2008, after she was introduced to Little Teeth's music by her boyfriend, Bell saw Tisdall perform solo. His music — simple folky melodies above clamorous creaky piano, banjos, and cellos — made for enchanting chamber folk. "It was like a religious experience. Everyone blacked out of the room. Doves were flying. [There were] huge choruses of kneeling skeletons," she says, catching her breath. "It was a very dramatic experience for me."

She also met Murrie that evening. "I saw her come up the stairs. And I will never not remember that 'cause it really [was] like that love at first sight thing," she says.

To Bell, the music Tisdall and Murrie were making both together as Little Teeth and separately as solo artists was what she had been waiting for her whole life. "I just felt like nothing had ever played the sound of a person — what it felt like to be on the inside in your nervous system running and the voices in your head arguing with you," she says. "I just felt so completely naked in front of their music."

So enamored with Tisdall's music, Bell began cheating on her boyfriend with him. A room opened up in the Pink House — where Murrie resided — when the band was at SXSW. Bell moved in. And upon his return, Tisdall shared a room with Bell.

During what Bell and Murrie call "the golden era," Bell was experimenting as Stanzamaphone, her solo project, while Murrie was producing Little Teeth's debut album, Child Bearing Man (Absolutely Kosher). In it, Murrie's snarling, metallic gruff rises above the banging of pots and pans and wailing of mandolin, accordion, banjo, and cello. When Murrie began working on Stanzamaphone with Bell, they fell in love.

"It was the Chernobyl of the house," Murrie says, referring to the day she and Bell decided to disclose their feelings for each other with their housemates. "It went the worst way it could have possibly gone. It went the way of hospitals and 5150s" — involuntary 72-hour hold in a psychiatric hospital.

All the while, Bell had developed a gastrointestinal disorder. After her hospitalization, she began to write down what had happened over the past six months. The pared down version of that story was posted to Bandcamp, as the band worked on repairing itself. With sagacious hindsight, in the house frozen in Christmas time, Murrie says, "Our sentence is to face the ghost and do it justice and do it service. And live with it everyday. And live it through our songs." - SFGuardian

"Little Teeth"

My experience with Little Teeth cannot easily be described within the restraints of the English language. If I had to attempt to sum it up, all that comes to mind is cluster f*@#k. I say that with the upmost respect and admiration. The three San Fran gems that make up Little Teeth are quite possibly the strangest musicians I have come across in a very long time. I do not even know how to justifiably discuss their music. Everything they did was so... raw.
While watching Little Teeth perform, I felt like I was apart of the music. It truly was an experience that overcame my entire body. The noises coming from the stage evoked feelings that I never thought possible from an outside source. Strange is an understatement: foreign, bizarre, beautiful, disgusting, vulgar and enlightening might be close to an accurate synopsis. Just from witnessing Little Teeth set up their instruments, way too many to count, I could tell I was in for a crazy adventure. Sean's drum set was a combination of your standard drum kit and a make shift ensemble of pots and pans. Ever since I was little I would bang on pots and pans, this got me so stoked for their performance.
During their set, the drummer, Sean, actually left the stage with a small bells kit. He ventured back behind the audience to perform. Little Teeth had completely encompassed the entire crowd. Looking around, I could tell that people did not know what to think. Some seemed excited, others, a bit awkward. Either way, it drew some sort of emotion from every person in the venue.
For their final song, all three members of Little Teeth ventured out on to the floor of the Replay to perform an a cappella song. As they sang, growled, howled and hummed, the crowd crept in closer and closer. The mass nearly swallowed the performers leaving only a small ring of space around the trio. Chills were ravaging my body. It would be hard for me to imagine other people in the room not feeling the same shivers of excitement and nerves. Little Teeth dug up feelings and emotions that I did not ever conceive possible. I urge each and every one of you to brave the storm and experience, not listen to, Little Teeth. Love it or hate it, there is no denying its power.
- The Heard @

"San Francisco's Little Teeth to Play Cafe Nine"

A packing check-list for San Francisco-based Little Teeth’s Dodge Ram touring van might look something like this: triangle, cello, banjo, bass, banjo, guitar, synths, glockenspiel, charango (a small stringed instrument from Ecuador), a coffin autoharp (used for two eerie-but-essential strums on just one song, “Billows”), a “gonzo” drum set (tricked-out with Latin percussion accessories, kitchenware and junkyard pieces), dulcimer, violin, “gonzolin” (a warped electric violin still in the abstract tuning from the pawn shop in which it was found — and which only works if the bridge is at a 45 degree angle), the jingle boots (for leg-powered percussion), loads of Christmas ornaments, a juicer (used in the traditional sense, not musically) and the number one, must-have essential that truly powers the band: their beloved espresso maker.
Aside from the espresso maker, the most important things packed into the Dodge Ram are undeniably the band members’ three powerful voices, which create vocal layers of incredible, unusual range, whether heard in unison, in playful, chaotic or cohesive group choruses, seriously screaming at the top of their lungs, or when singing solo, in the painfully honest, confessional moments, when the volume drops down to nothing and reveals a lyrical phrase with a raw, almost uncomfortable level of exposure.
While lead vocal duties are primarily handled by Murrie — who can go from a soothing coo to a snarl to a screech, nailing ridiculously high, bird-like notes with ease — the blend of the three voices together is critical to the band’s sound. With Murrie in Little Teeth is her wife, Sofia Murrie-Bell (on cello, violin, dulcimer, autoharp, jingle boots, etc. — and the van driver) and Sean Real (on bass, percussion, glockenspiel, tin drum menagerie, etc.).
“On this tour, since we’ve been playing the songs differently every night, we’ve really been relying on the power of our own voices as a threesome,” Murrie-Bell chimes in from behind the wheel. “We end our set with an a cappella song [“Every August I Dedicate My Life to Concrete”], so instead of these strange, hard-to-tune instruments or hardware that we find and rig-up, we have been rigging up our voices to be our new instrument.”
Most bands would not attempt an a cappella song at the end of a set, when voices are likely strained from singing all night, but Little Teeth is not like most bands. “At the end, it’s important to strip yourself of all the armor and the pretense of having pedals, nifty sound gear and a nice P.A. and just be able to offer yourself,” Murrie says. They perform this intimate song off-stage, in a circle in the middle of the floor (these days, with their limbs covered in body paint, too). It’s important, adds Murrie-Bell, “to create an intimate experience with the audience. I want them to be able to feel everything that we’re feeling and that we’re singing about, and really feel like they are part of the set — because they are. We can’t bring our music to that kind of transcendent level by ourselves.”
While on the road, Little Teeth strive for van-life to be as self-sustainable as possible. They bring eggs and use the juicer and espresso machine to make breakfast for their various hosts along the way. They stop in the “most mom-and-pop” -style thrift stores to pick up not only new gizmos to use musically (kitchen utensils, like the barbecue tongs Murrie just added to her percussion station), but also Christmas ornaments — which they use to decorate the van and stage set. They also leave an ornament behind at every host’s house, as a thank you. It’s not so much the “holiday” aspect they are trying to convey, Murrie explains, but the “cheer.” The Christmas decor “creates a sense of family and intimacy,” Murrie-Bell adds. “It’s like inviting someone into your home.
- Fairfield Weekly

"Little Teeth Make Folk an Art Form"

To say I was delighted to see Little Teeth is an understatement. The twosome of Sofia Bell and Dannie Murrie recently added Sean Real to their inner circle. Their very original music is Folk as an art form played with a conviction of sensibility and spirit. Their all out abandon of song structure focused on experimentation, strange but beguiling harmonies and escalating emphasis of vocals, drumming, cello or banjo. During the set they brought out some additional homemade contraptions. The traditional instruments were plucked and bowed with attitude adding to the disjointed samplings of sound that fried my brain from overdrive of the unexpected. The drummer Sean Real has a passion for playing. A joy to watch. The music sounds like a much looser Coco Rosie or The Roaches scrabbled. They bring it on with guts, punk and moxie. - Obsession Collection

"Little Teeth"

Little Teeth is what happens when you give classically trained vocalists a few folk instruments (banjo, glockenspiel and mandolin, among others) and tell them to make music from the heart. The San Francisco-based trio consists of Dannie Murrie, Sofia Bell and Sean Real, who — when combining forces — create a sound they like to classify as “orchestral noise folk.” It’s non-traditional, yet melodious and catchy. All three members play at least five instruments each, backing up vocals with an orchestral sound. - Toledo Metro Music

"CMJ: Little Teeth and Cymbals Eat Guitars"

San Francisco's Little Teeth are full of good weirdness. The trio employs banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, keyboards guitars and more to create songs that are off-kilter and both noisy and melodic. The group's two female members, Sofia Bell and Dannie Murrie, have piercing beautiful voices and use them with abandon. Little Teeth manage to be both raucous and fragile, abrasive and delicate. - Eardrum NYC

"CMJ Day 3: UUVVWWZ, Little Teeth, and college music awards!"

The real hooplah last night, however, was Little Teeth, one of my favorite high energy freak-folk bands whose album Child Bearing Man was played alllll over KZSC last winter. The group recently became a (partly married) trio and the combination is still as fantastic as ever. - KZSC Santa Cruz 88.1 FM

"Little Teeth Have Big Bite!"

When Little Teeth finally made it on, I was ready. I’m a big fan of their 2008 full-length, Child Bearing Man, and I’d heard stories of their live shows before. Thankfully, they did not disappoint. Throughout the course of the night there were drums, banjos, guitars, cellos, violins, keyboards, seashells, pots, xylophones and more, including some instruments that, to be honest, I don’t even know the name of. Oh and I forgot to mention there are only three people in the band. Little teeth would best be described as freak folk, but on the complete other end of the spectrum from artists like Devendra Banhart. Even the slow tracks came out with a force that shook me. - Green Shoelace


The tin can that is basically Oakland's 21 Grand might have been the ideal venue for Wednesday night's bands Little Teeth and Chubby Behemoth. Its garage layout with folding-chair seating created more of a band practice feel than an actual gig. However, with the opening of Little Teeth, you couldn't help but be violently reminded that you were watching a finished product and nothing in between.

Vocalist Dannie Murrie, with her lop-sided blond shag and tambourine bells affixed to her holey slacks, led this San Francisco band who, in their new-grunge fury, took me directly back to when we were all toddlers, playing our drum solos on mom's old pots on the kitchen floor in an attempt to channel the spirit of Animal the Muppet. It was that refreshing, cathartic and plain fucking fun. Little Teeth's three members included drummer Ammo Eisu and backing vocalist Andy Tisdall. The latter unexpectedly, and I'm sure unintentionally, sounded just like Mick Jagger at his peak. You could have said main vocalist Murrie had a Joplin thing going on, which would have rounded out a classic feel. But make no mistake, the sum of all parts equaled something much darker than any sixties association, so don't make it. This unbridled banshee sang until horse and opened her mouth wide enough to swallow a human baby while doing so, all the while making me miss Nirvana but grateful they left space in rock history for the next evolution. Little Teeth is one band filling and furthering that space.

Indubitably riled after this, any crowd would have been sufficiently prepared for the following band, Chubby Behemoth, a five-piece noise monster consisting of sax, electric violin, and thank God, a souped-up keyboard loaded to the brim with sweet effects. I say thank God because bands like these who dance on the side of the spectrum where punk, or whatever, becomes noise, need crack. And did it pay off for this chaos machine. Chubby Behemoth's sound is physically impossible to respond to as it is not a force to be reckoned with, but a force to which you can only surrender. In other words, not only must these guys love Mr. Bungle with a passion, they seemingly pick their least digestible album to emulate. I picture this band at the breakfast table every morning, washing down mouthfuls of Disco Volante with a tall glass of O.J. Mmm mmm.

- Briana Hernandez -

"CITY REVIEW: The Bay Area"

...Up next we got Little Teeth from San Francisco. Theirs is folk pop that crashes and yelps out passionately and feels a little like Neutral Milk Hotel without ripping ’em off—or, really, jumping anybody’s game. Dannie’s vocals soar, crack, scream out, but always sound like she’s deeply feelin’ it, deeply into what’s she’s singing about and dead-on synched to the immediacy of her band’s hiccupy, junkyarded American avant-something. You can find them on myspace. Try “Japanese Candy” first, which has a kind of broken-down desperation that gives me chills. ... - Asthmatic Kitty Records

"New Music For The Mundays: Little Teeth"

...There are those bands who call themselves "Freak Folk" (usually consisting but not limited to Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, The Shivers, Animal Collective, Kimya Dawson) and then there is Little Teeth - who are one of the few acts in the sub genre that could truly be called "Freaks." Little Teeth consists of three members: Ammo Eisu, Andy Tisdall, and Dannie Murrie. I had the privilege of meeting the band back in December when I worked the door at pehrspace the night the trio were playing. Their live show was stupendous.

Singer Dannie Murrie's voice sounds like a bug zapper - and I mean that in the best way possible. Her eccentric cackling wail should be studied. No human being is supposed to sound like that. It's gorgeous.

The trio play more than your typical guitar,bass,drum combo. Let's just say If it makes noise - chances are its a part of their sound and live set. The band play everything from mandolin, banjo, cello, accordians, to children's toys, speak n spells, giant pots on rope, bowls, and even tie chains of shells and various objects to their body for percussion.

Little Teeth are the kind of band that blindside you at a show. They maybe be playing first, but the second they start playing everyone stops to listen.

You can pick up a five song demo at the bands shows. ... - Rock Insider

"Little Teeth + The Ganglians Luna's Cafe, Sacramento CA"

...Little Teeth are recent signees to Absolutely Kosher. I cannot think of a better label for this band. Besides the label being based in Little Teeth’s home of San Francisco, it shares a common bond of ingenuity with acts like Sunset Rubdown or even The Wrens. As I watched singer, banjoist, guitarist, accordionist and human percussionist Dannie Murrie pluck or pull at a hand-held weapon while stomping a leg taped full of bells, tambourines and bones, it became an atmospheric understanding that Little Teeth deserve a chance at national exposure. Three people can make a lot of noise when each member is strapped up like a one-man band. Guitars dropped to the ground, quickly replaced by accordions, cellos, violins and melodicas. Each member owed a free hand, foot or mouth to the creation of a fully-fledged freakout sound, which is how the threesome closed its set. I picked up the free five song demo on my way out, delighted to have a rough copy of a soon-to-be wholly realized debut, but disappointed that its magnum opus of a shredding wall of noise will be kept under wraps until the September release date. ... - IMPOSE magazine

"Featured Band: Little Teeth"

For a band whose most obvious touchstone is folk, Little Teeth's live show sure is punk as fuck. There's no fanfare and no pretense, just a wild, spastic explosion of edgy, experimental folk musicianship. Each member plays multiple instruments, and plays them with a reckless, passionate exuberance that is enthralling to watch.

Singer Dannie Murrie, for instance, howls and screams and sings her ass off while playing guitar or banjo or mandolin and all the while stomping her feet because she wears tambourines around her ankles. And that's just one damn member of the band. There are three of them, each changing instruments nearly every song and throwing themselves into the music with such genuine fervor that it is as much fun to see as to hear.

Yet for all the musical careening and instrument changing and shouting and stomping, there is a meticulousness to the arrangements and a virtuosity to the performances that is carefully crafted.

Little Teeth's music is sort of quirky folk like Devendra Banhart or Joanna Newsom, but the band is most definitely creating a sound completely separate from the psych folk scene in the Bay Area. Murrie's vocals are a little too urgent and earnest, not pie-in-the-sky dreamy enough, to really fit in with that crowd. Plus, Murrie and bassist/guitarist/vocalist Andy Tisdall aren't afraid to explore epic guitar riffs and slightly off-key vocal harmonies, while the band as a whole - which also includes Ammo Eisu on keys, cello, drums, and other various instruments - explores twee-ish indie rock, raging folk, and eccentric experimentalism in equal measures.

The songs on their demo adequately capture many of the bands' most endearing qualities. "Japanese Candy" showcases Murrie's desperately earnest, unpredictable vocals against a driving acoustic guitar; "Between My Ears" features rambling melodies backed by catchy banjo and organ interplay; and "Sideways" is an indie-pop keyboard-driven tune.

Little Teeth is working on their first release, and it promises to be quite an excellent collection of songs, judging by their live show and the demo tracks. Though you can practically see them flailing around and stomping their feet when you listen to the demo, this is one band that must be experienced live. For one thing, until the album comes out live is the only way you can hear a full set of the far-ranging band's music. But more importantly, it is the only way to properly feast your eyes and ears on the unconventional brilliance of Little Teeth. -


"Child Bearing Man"
Released by Absolutely Kosher Records 9/9/08

Track Listing:

1. Oh Drag
2. Applegate
3. OHM!
4. Livers & Heart Disease
5. Between My Ears
6. Good Girls and Boys
7. Sideways
8. White Houses
9. Japanese Candy
10. Terrible News

Currently recording sophomore LP to be released in 2012.



RIYD: Tune-Yards, Danielson, Deerhoof, Joanna Newsom, Smog

Residing somewhere between noise-pop and freak folk, San Francisco’s Little Teeth originally formed in 2004, after electrical engineer, Yale University alumni/drummer Ammo Eisu (who swam in the same musical waters as Larkin Grimm and Dave Longstreth of The Dirty Projectors while at YU) replied to a Craigslist personal ad posted by vocalist/guitarist Dannie Murrie: “Smart, Young, Hot, Looking for Queer Musician Friend.” Their anti-depressant fueled avant-folk diary-pop practice sessions were cut short a week before they could even play their first show, though; Dannie was diagnosed with tendonitis in both her arms. She was paralyzed for two and a half years.

In a desperate attempt to keep music the central focus of her life, Dannie enrolled in a sound engineering class in 2006, where she met Andy Tisdall, a young, straight, male whose constant badgering convinced her to carefully, taking extreme preventative measures, play music again. After Ammo rejoined them, the band spent 14 months experimenting with every instrument they could find (mandolin, banjo, cello, pots, pans, violin, mangled kiddie toys, et al.), overdubbing choruses of vocals, hand recording, mixing, and producing their debut LP, “Child Bearing Man,” in their Daly City, “Pink House,” basement studio.

Owing to accolades and sponsorship from Marty Anderson of Okay, “Child Bearing Man” was picked up and set to be released by Absolutely Kosher Records. In July of 2008, though, just two months before their album’s release date, Little Teeth broke up. Dannie Murrie, who had secretly developed deep-seeded feelings for Andy’s girlfriend, Sofia Bell, admitted to being in love with her. Sofia (the cellist of avant-pop band, Squeeky Rice) and Andy lived together in the band’s house/studio alongside Murrie and her girlfriend. In the aftermath of Dannie’s proclamation, Andy quit the band and tried to commit suicide, Sofia who was forced out of the house, slit her wrists and was hospitalized, Dannie, who was blamed and ostracized as their house and band fell apart, sank into a deep depression, the electricity and water were shut off, kitties died of FIV, Ammo desperately tried to continue to book the tour required by their label to support their debut album, that had yet to be released.

Little Teeth’s first national tour was a two-month silent-treatment. Though the press their album received was raving, media attention quickly trickled to a stop as news of the band’s breakup overthrew promotional efforts. When the trio returned home, with death threats and hate texts still not behind them, Andy and Ammo abandoned Dannie and started another music project, called Zoo. Upon Dannie’s return to the home Sofia had tried to restore in her absence, Sofia fell ill. The woman Dannie had sacrificed everything for was hospitalized with a gastrointestinal disease that left her bedridden and deteriorating before Dannie’s dark circled eyes.

After months of inconclusive medical testing and countless cocktails of painkillers, anti-spasmatics, and prokinetics, Sofia and Dannie were left with little sign of hope. To keep up morale, the girls began singing songs together in bed. When finally a particular combination of chronic painkillers allowed Sofia, though permanently feeble, to leave the bed, the songs they wrote out of sadness and desperation transformed into the first set of a new band they formed together called Kitchen. After a brief West Coast tour, the head of Absolutely Kosher told Dannie that the Little Teeth project either needed to continue with her or be dropped from the label. Dannie asked Sofia to rebuild Little Teeth with her from the ground up, continuing with the original ethos of experimentation and unlearning, but fortified by their love; the understanding that comes from two hearts when their bodies stop moving. She also asked for Sofia’s hand in marriage.

By January 2011, when Sofia and Dannie Murrie-Bell set to record the second Little Teeth LP, concurrently a sophomore and debut album, they, alongside enthusiastic Kitchen fan, Sean Real, had undergone two additional national US and one European tour in support of “Child Bearing Man.” This album, a handbook for musical exploration within the struggle for self, was the rudimentary foundation upon which the new Little Teeth was able to flourish.

The songs Sofia and Dannie wrote, orchestrated, and toured together, the nine songs they are currently recording, tell the story of their tumultuous love, their band’s death, rebirth, and its ghosts; when a human is pushed over the precipice, the sound of that fall, the music of slowly rising. Together Sofia, Dannie, and Sean continue to push Little Teeth’s experimental boarders into ever and more so surprisingly beautiful landscapes; commanding, conflicted, and utterly moving.