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Before becoming the front-woman for Land of Talk, Elizabeth Powell performed as a solo artist performing under the name ELE_K*. Powell began writing music at the age of fourteen while she grew up in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. She enrolled in the jazz program at Concordia University where she met Chris McCarron and Mark Wheaton with whom she formed Land of Talk. Eric Thibodeau replaced Wheaton on drums in May 2007 to complete a new lineup.
"Some bands have a bit more of a meteoric rise, and some are slow burners. I like to think we're a slow burner," Powell says. "It's totally true to who I am and how I approach my own life. Very slow and very unsure, but curious. And it all works out."
Land of Talk has received funding from agencies such as the Canada Council Funding for the Arts (FACTOR).
Applause Cheer Boo Hiss
The band released its first EP, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, on April 4, 2006, on Dependent Music. The single "Summer Special" deals with the damaging nature of intra-female conflict and the sadness of losing oneself by way of buying into the damaging stereotypes of femininity. Powell commented in an interview about what inspired her to write "Summer Special" and how it compared to her life growing up as a tom-boy.
Another stand-out track from the EP is "Speak to Me Bones", which also deals with the theme of relational conflict. This track exemplifies their use of soft vocals and gritty rock sounding musical arrangements. The music video for "Speak to Me Bones" was directed by a former Concordia school mate, Jeff St. Jules. The concept of the video was kept simple, shot in black and white staying true to the band's no-frills style.
Some Are Lakes
Land of Talk released their first full-length album, Some Are Lakes, on Secret City Records in Canada and Saddle Creek Records in the US. The album was released on October 7, 2008, and was produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Drums on the album are played by Andrew Barr of The Slip. Powell announced during a performance that the band would be taking a break after its tour with Broken Social Scene. The band did not in fact go on hiatus, but instead McCarron left (amicably) to play guitar for The Dears. He was replaced by Joe Yarmush, and the band announced a West Coast tour for 2009.
Fun and Laughter EP
Land of Talk released the EP Fun and Laughter on October 27, 2009, on Saddle Creek. Via Saddle Creek: "Land of Talk have announced a west coast tour beginning October 27th in San Diego, and running through November 7th in Vancouver B.C.. To complement to tour, the band will be releasing an EP with four new songs and three videos, entitled 'Fun and Laughter'.".
Cloak and Cipher
Early in 2009, Powell had to cancel the band's tour to recover from a hemorrhage vocal polyp. Powell used her six month recuperation period to write and record the next album, titled Cloak and Cipher. It was released on August 24, 2010, on Saddle Creek Records. It has contributions from Patrick Watson, as well as members of Stars, Arcade Fire, Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Wintersleep, Besnard Lakes and Esmerine.