Rarely will you see a band with the ability to connect with their audience as The Little Stevies’. Their unique blend of emotive and honest songwriting, combined with catchy pop melodies and beautiful harmonies do what so many others claim to, they give their audience license to really identify with them and to feel that they’re sharing something of themselves.
The Little Stevies descend from a long line of great Australian alt-pop acts that includes the likes of Frente, Ben Lee and Dan Kelly, whose music retains a sense of fun while maintaining an emotional depth and maturity. It’s not uncommon to see people standing in a Little Stevies’ audience with smiles on their faces and tears on their cheeks.
Many people have said that the band’s stories, storytelling and even their accents were so uniquely Australian that this was a reason their songs resonated so strongly with audiences across this country. However, the band’s experiences on two trips to North America last year made clear the fact that there’s a universal appeal to their songs and the engaging way they perform them.
DIP OF THE TOE
During a short US tour in February 2010 to ‘dip the toe’ into international waters, The Little Stevies experienced a trip they could have never anticipated. Invited to showcase in front of North American Festivals, Promoters and Booking Agents in Memphis, the band received an overwhelming audience response coupled with huge industry buzz. Among over 1,000 other artists from around the world The Little Stevies stole the spotlight and received a huge confidence boost along the way.
Swept up on a whirlwind of positive energy, the band returned to Australia to begin writing album number two, and the anticipation and excitement of their travels is clearly evident on the finished product. A reflection on what the future may hold; it brims with enthusiasm and trepidation about a destiny that’s yet unclear.
Following on from their first album ‘Love Your Band’, recorded in a make-shift cubbyhouse in a bedroom in St Kilda, The Little Stevies raised the bar on album two, leaving themselves no choice but to step up and fulfil the goals they’d set. Never a band to do things half-heartedly, The Little Stevies ‘put the pressure on’ so to speak by deciding on a deadline and working backwards. Just a few months after returning from their first US tour, a collection of 25 songs were written and demoed, conversations with numerous Australian and International producers were had and finally, LA-based producer Ethan Allan was recruited (Tim Finn, Kristin Hersh, Levi Smith, Luscious Jackson). Flights were paid for, work visas were approved, two government grants were applied for and received, and another North American tour was booked.
Musically, ‘Attention Shoppers’ is a dramatic departure for The Little Stevies. Known best for a more saccharine, laid-back and folk-influenced style, the band have moved to a poppier, slicker, harder-edged sound with strong rhythms and wider instrumentation. But present as always are The Little Stevies’ signature three- part harmonies, triumphant choruses and heartfelt lyrics.
The four weeks of touring that followed the L.A. recording took in both coasts of the U.S., as well as Canada, and saw the band showcase at New York’s CMJ and Ottawa’s OCFF music conferences. They re-connected with fans, supporters and friends they’d met on their first trip, and they made a whole lot more.
As FasterLouder reported after their Melbourne farewell show in August, “If there was anyone at the venue who had any doubts over how such a young band could have been given a grant from The Australia Council and Victoria Rocks within the space of a few days, they were most definitely converted into Little Stevies-lovers by the end of the night.”