Little City’s intimate show
On Thursday night, a small crowd at Maxwell’s Music House in Waterloo enjoyed an intimate performance by Toronto-based band Little City.
The opening acts, singer/songwriters Amy Carson Hunter and Robyn Dell’Unto delivered performances which provided excellent segues into the beautiful folk sounds of Little City.
Little City, whose musical style is defined by band member Thom Mcfarlane as “whimsical pop with folk sensibilities,” is an eclectic collection of skilled musicians who have united behind the name to deliver the dense and meticulous folk-pop sounds for which they are becoming known.
Taking time to sit down with The Cord prior to the Maxwell’s show, band members Jordan Axani, Dave Clarke and Thom Mcfarlane provided insight into the bands formation, recent release and overall dynamic and sound.
“Little City came together because Shaun [Axani], who’s a bit of a musical genius, started calling around, saying he wanted to put a band together,” explained Clarke, continuing, “We started jamming together and found we loved it. We all came from different musical backgrounds, but we pulled together and started making music that we made our own.”
Little City, a band who is at times twelve members strong, is comprised of six permanent members and a rotating catalogue of contributing members who join the live performance from time to time.
“There are six people in the band. We bring in other people to play strings and horn and auxiliary percussion, but it’s always the core six of us,” said Jordan.
The six permanent musicians who make up Little City are Thom Mcfarlane (percussion), Dave Clarke (bass), Trevor Kai (keys, accordion), Jordan Axani (guitar), Shaun Axani (guitar) and Frances Miller (vocals, French horn, mandolin).
The soul-piercing vocals of Miller and the swelling guitar sounds of the Axani brothers are among the highlights of the bands live show.
Of their background Mcfarlane explained, “We think of ourselves as a Toronto band that’s a little bit rural.
“It’s starting to be a really cool community in Toronto right now, the city’s having a real Seattle moment. There’s an indie rock scene on one side a huge rap and hip hop thing on another, a big jazz movement – everything’s happening in Toronto.”
Following the release of the 2010 EP The Going And The Gone, Little City experienced an evolution in sound leading up to their Jan. 24 release Sperry/Capt. Kandall, a new 7” vinyl and digital single.
“When we did the EP in 2010, we worked with Laurence Currie, who’s worked with Hey Rosetta and Sloan. He produced the EP and brought an interesting approach — a lot of pop sensibilities and very structured sound. It was a product we were really proud of,” said Clarke.
“When it came time for our new release we wanted to focus a little more on what we were feeling at the time, so we self-produced. This release, especially the single “Sperry,” is way more folky and organic.”
“We’re the full range between Ohbijou and Springsteen,” Mcfarlane interjected.
The EP consists of several tracks, including the “C-Side” “Arms Around a Picture,” on which Little City collaborated with Anissa Hart (Ohbijou) and Peter Krpan (ex Wooden Sky/Moneen).
After a year full of performances at such festivals as Canadian Music Week and NXNE, Little City show no signs of slowing down. “Now, everything is falling into place, we’re playing almost every week in February and every other week in March. Then we drive for ten days to Halifax and back in April,” explained Clarke.
As for a road trip soundtrack that all the band’s members can agree on? “We listen to a lot of Paul Simon, Springsteen and Wilco,” said Clarke, while [Jordan] Axani joked, “I try to get people to listen to as much Third Eye Blind as possible.”