Land of Talk
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Land of Talk


Band Pop Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music



March 23rd, 2006
Land Of Talk - (Dependent)

Applause Cheer Boo Hiss [EP]
Brendan Murphy

One of this group's central strengths is the collision between their driving noisy rock and Liz Powell's voice, which sounds like a tougher, better and more wry version of Edie Brickell. Or maybe Cat Power. But those comparisons blow, because the musicians backing up Powell deserve props too, and I love that instead of cleaning up the tracks to make them more radio friendly, they continually fuzz, distort and growl the up-tempo indie into something much cooler. Plus, I think that All My Friends could be one of the songs of the upcoming summer. Or spring, if you can't wait that long.

- Hour

"Land of Talk @ Fat Baby"

I thought Land of Talk was too good to be true. I found out they're very much real while I fell in love with the Montreal band during their live show at Fat Baby Thurday night (March 9, 2006). Elizabeth Powell's voice is still stuck in my head 12 hours later. If you like what you hear, you still have a chance to catch them in NYC Saturday night before they head back to Montreal. - Brookly Vegan

"Talking Heads"

Some people go to music school to surround themselves with critical analyses of moving and shaking and strategic marketing initiatives. Others choose post-secondary musical studies to become more technically adept than diatonically programmed robots - ask 'em to warble an A-flat two octaves above middle C and they'll hit it.

Then there are the kids who learn one thing from their formal musical education: dropping out of Music U is the best route to rock 'n' roll success.

As brutal as that lesson was for two-thirds of Montreal upstarts Land of Talk, no-bullshit frontwoman Elizabeth Powell claims the intense, gritty indie rock crew likely wouldn't exist if she hadn't become a music-school dropout.

"We had to do things like ear training, which [drummer] Bucky [Wheaton] failed and I passed based on charm," she laughs ruefully. "I bombed voice classes because, apparently, I can't sing."

Apparently, her profs had tin ears. Powell may not have a future as an opera singer, but the phenomenal vocal control that lets her effortlessly shift between sultry, sandpapered purrs and emotionally wrought wails on Land of Talk's great debut EP, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss (Dependent), is one of the band's hugest assets.

Fortunately, Powell turned a deaf ear to the criticisms and, fed up with Concordia University's asinine, arbitrary judgments (one prof randomly gave her an A+ because he claimed he could "never understand [her] reality as a tall woman"), jumped ship and learned how to rock with fellow disaffected classmate Wheaton.

Actually, that should really be re-learned how to rock. Powell, a Suzuki-trained violin kid who grew up in Guelph, started shaking rec room walls and church basement foundations at age 14, when she immersed herself in the now notorious all-ages indie scene alongside Aaron Riches, Jim Guthrie, Gentleman Reg and Island/ex-Unicorn Jaime Thompson.

Powell had a band called the Valentines (which "took Guelph by storm," she sarcastically quips), then went solo with a four-track album titled I Think You Ought To Love Me More.

The supportiveness of the Royal City's indie scene made her transition to the hipster enclave of Montreal even more jarring.

"Moving to Montreal seems like a total blur now. I actually thought I was gonna quit music and study languages or something. It was rough being a big fish in a little pond and ending up somewhere where nobody gave a shit.

"Even after I quit school," she continues, "people kept pulling me back into music, sometimes for the wrong reasons. At 20, 21, I just let myself be sucked into this older male fantasy.

"Finally, I said fuck off to a lot of people, and Bucky and I started jamming. That was two years ago, and it's been the perfect chemistry ever since."

Bassist Chris McCarron, who'd known Wheaton since their Moncton high school days, is a more recent addition.

Powell, who cites Will Oldham as a major songwriting influence, feels somewhat mortified by some of the choices she's made in the past. You may remember an ersatz-Esthero triphop tart dubbed Ele*K who had a brief residency at SpaHa on the U of T campus a few years back. That was her. She ended up posing suggestively on a lion for the CD's liner notes.

"As much as I had dreams of murdering those dudes, I totally agreed to all of it. I thought it'd be funny!" She moans, "I've gotta take responsibility for what I got into."

Maybe it's to make up for the wimpier choices in Powell's past that Land of Talk sounds so awesomely ballsy. ("People don't even know I have a dick," she laughs. ) Their lyrics are primal and occasionally perverse, meshing perfectly with the band's distorted lurching guitars and loping rhythms.

In keeping with Powell's distaste for taking on the token frontwoman role, one of the most striking aspects of Land of Talk is how fully and completely they sound like a band – not just some label construction where two dudes back a sex symbol. They have way more in common with the raw sound of classic East Coast indie rock like Thrush Hermit or convoluted emo like Pinback than they do with, say, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

That's likely why erstwhile East Coaster Brian Borcherdt (Holy Fuck) was drawn to the group. After a last-minute Pop Montreal solo gig with Powell, he asked her band to open for Holy Fuck, then invited them to join his Dependent collective/record label.

"He wanted to help us out in any capacity," laughs Powell. "At the time, I was selling CD-Rs off the side of the stage; half of them were faulty and the other half were blank. People would come up and complain, and I'd have to keep replacing them.

"Brian was there during one interaction, and I think he just felt so bad that he offered to release our record." - Now toronto

"VI spotlight: Land of Talk"

Like Jeff, the band that's buzzing around in my ears between naps is Land of Talk. I had a few of their tracks on the iPod for a few days leading up to Movable Hype, but seeing them – and getting their 7-song EP Applause Cheer Boo Hiss – has made me a babbling addict. Lizzy has one of those effortlessly piercing, pristine voices that sound right at home over fuzzy guitar chords, born of suspended chordal tones and chunky grooves. Land of Talk shares that Montreal postal code that so many bands have made oh-so-hip, but this trio is doing something different: stripped of layered arrangements, a winning blend of immediately appealing vocals, bass-drum atmospherics and chordal complexity. - the village indian

"Pretending There's a Problem..."

I've been listening to one album for the last 36 hours or so. Pretty much on repeat. Over and over. And it's not the band I've seen twice in the last two days (Cloud Cult) It's Land of Talk's short LP/Long EP called Applause Cheer Boo Hiss. I grabbed it at Movable Hype in a cute little handmade cardboard foldout case. I dunno what it is exactly about them, but the god, the songs. I wish there were more. Lizzie's voice is phenomenal as well. I imagine they'll get a lot of Rilo Kiley/Feist comparisons as they gain more exposure, but to be honest these songs struck me harder than anything those two ever did when I first heard them. And, considering Feist and Rilo had two of my favorite albums a couple years ago, that's saying a lot. Big, big things, my friends. Wait and see.

I admire that they've been to New York so often, especially since they never fail to mention how much of a pain in the ass it is to get down here from Canada. They've been here three separate times recently, and will be coming down a fourth on May 19th to do a KEXP in-studio and play Mercury Lounge. Go see them. Their live show is only getting better and better... - Central Village


2006 Applause Cheer Boo Hiss - independent
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Land of Talk
Montreal-based musical innovator Elizabeth Powell, has been banging out "Anti Folk Basement Rock" since the ripe old age of fourteen. Born and partially raised in a one-room schoolhouse in Moonstone, Ontario, Elizabeth and her family later moved to Guelph, where she tapped into the local music scene and moved beyond Suzuki violin to an acoustic Yamaha that she "acquired" from an aunt.
Influences can be traced back to early P.J. Harvey, Dinosaur Jr., and the local Punk rock and Home rock in the Royal City. No stranger to Hillside Festival, ELizabeth played electric violin in the Aaron Riches Nuclear Family Band at Hillside'97; bass and vocals for the Valentines in '98 and then solo in '99. Between gigging around Ontario and Quebec, she recorded the EP belle epoque, which she released the summer before heading off to Concordia University in Montreal. The Music program was too constrictiing for the young singer-songwriter and she left shool to practice music on her own terms. Unhappy with every project she joined Powell finally rediscovered Bucky and thus Land of Talk was born. It wasn't until after a long line of bass players (Blake Markle, Sage Reynolds, Tim Kramer) that Chris joined the band creating the perfect chemical trio. Despite their undisputed sexiness it's Land of Talk's stellar stage presence, uplifting lyrics and haunting melodies that leave their fans screaming in the gutter, begging for more.
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