Land of Talk: “Y’all can expect us to play our hearts out…” (5/1 at JB’s)

Montreal indie rockers Land of Talk released their last LP, Indistinct Conversations, in the summer of 2020 and are already working on a follow-up…  Yet, in addition, they managed...

Montreal indie rockers Land of Talk released their last LP, Indistinct Conversations, in the summer of 2020 and are already working on a follow-up…  Yet, in addition, they managed to churn out a four-song EP in-between.  Calming Night Partner was made possible thanks to some extended time at home and a government grant; it dropped last November on Saddle Creek (Indigo De Souza, Big Thief, Ada Lea).  Last night the band, led by Lizzie Powell, kicked off a tour that will have them returning to Johnny Brenda’s this Sunday, May 1st.  The other day I got a chance to chat with Lizzie about the album, Philly, and what’s currently going on with Land of Talk.

Izzy Cihak: First off, since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I have to ask your thoughts on the city.  You’ve played here a ton of times over the years.  Any favorite memories?

Lizzie Powell: We love playing Johnny Brenda’s.  Love the staff, the FOOD, the venue itself.  We definitely have a soft spot for Philadelphia in general.  Cool story: When my guitars were in serious need of TLC, Jeff White of Port Richmond Guitar Spa (@portrichmondguitarspa) worked his skilled wizardry and had me back in action in no time!  Always grateful for Jeff!!!

Izzy: Your latest EP, Calming Night Partner, has been out for about six months now.  Have you had any favorite reactions to it, whether from press, fans, or live audiences?

Lizzie: We haven’t had the opportunity to play the new songs live yet, but I was pleasantly surprised at the love it has received from national radio, namely KCRW (MBE!), KRUI, CJLO, KVRX, and our beloved KEXP!

Izzy: How do you feel like the EP compares to previous releases?  (The pandemic seemed to give most musicians more time than usual.)  I’m just realizing that Indistinct Conversations was released not long prior to the latest EP.

Lizzie: The EP was recorded with a familiar team — Mark “Bucky” Wheaton on drums, Chris McCarron, Pietro Amato and Erik Hove on brass, with Amato also on keys — on a Canadian pandemic assistance grant that required us to record five songs in ten days.  (I wasn’t even initially sure the EP would be released; I thought this was just going to be a secret release that the band never shared!)  I don’t know what I was thinking.  It was such a rush to get it finished in time, so for better or worse it forced me to let go of my traditional last-minute tweaking, re-doing, re-arrangements!  Having said that, I did scrap the entire chorus of “Moment Feed” and opted for a more vibey, drumless one.

Izzy: Do you currently have a favorite track from the EP, whether one that might best represent your current musical mindset, or one that’s just especially fun to play?

Lizzie: “Moment Feed” is so much fun to play live.  It makes me wanna dance every time!!!  “Calming Night Partner” is a BEAST to play live because the ending was all improvised, so we basically had to learn how to play it by listening to the EP, LOL.  It’s the one I’m most nervous to play live, because it’s such a delicate but weighty song.  Just want to do it justice.

Izzy: On your recent releases you’ve spent a lot of time addressing what it’s like to be an out non-binary person, so I’m curious if you have any advice to young non-binary people for dealing with the culture of the world in which we live?

Lizzie: Let the right ones in.  Find your safe people with whom you can just “BE.”  And if you don’t have access to safe people in your life, curate your social media to nourish your gender joy.  You have nothing to prove, my bbs!  You know damn well who you are, and don’t let the perceptions of others trick/bully/silence you.  Follow your gender joy, and give yourself oodles and oodles of grace when you’re feeling dysphoric.

Izzy: What can be expected of the live show when you return to Johnny Brenda’s this weekend?

Lizzie: Y’all can expect us to play our hearts out for a city that has supported us and shown us nothing but brotherly love since we were kids.

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you?  What’s planned after these dates wrap?  I heard that there’s more new music coming in the relatively near future.

Lizzie: Already well into working on a new record!  I seem to be composing more and more on keys/synths, and gravitating towards improvisational, electroacoustic, atmospheric worlds.  No expectations and lots of experimentation!  Excited to see how it turns out!

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.