Land of Talk’s Great Lakes

BY Vish KhannaPublished Sep 29, 2008

Before establishing herself in Montreal in 2000, Elizabeth Powell was a small town musical secret with a rare countenance. Scrappy yet sophisticated, she absorbed aspects of the burgeoning punk and indie rock community in Guelph, Ontario, penning catchy folk songs with alluring fragility and anger. It seemed appropriate when she re-emerged with the poppy, hardcore trio Land of Talk in 2006, releasing the lively EP, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss.

"Land of Talk was the first thing that had even a remotely similar amount of passion that I’d had with the solo stuff,” Powell says. "So I think there was a lot of excitement about recording live to two-inch tape and my fascination with distortion. I went a little crazy with the guitars and we all shaped this big sound. I’m still self conscious about singing in tune and my sloppy guitar but that’s part of my aesthetic.”

Land of Talk’s excellent new record Some Are Lakes possesses greater dynamic structure than its predecessor, thanks to the band’s instrumental interplay and the cryptic, emotional charge of Powell’s maturing lyricism. She attributes these successful transitions to producer Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). "He approaches music from a similar DIY place. He loves things to be flawed and that’s what makes them beautiful. And playing all of those old songs in tiny clubs, there was just so much noise; I felt like I was going deaf, so the quieter songs are a reaction to that.”

After bouncing between Canadian labels, Land of Talk’s recent declaration of independence has bolstered Powell’s hopes for Some Are Lakes. Even the trepidation about leaving home for long tours has been replaced by a happy resolve. "Now I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, this is a direct result of you doing what you want so you should love it or stop.’”

Tour Dates

Latest Coverage