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Saturday May 11 2024
  8:00PM doors -- music at 8:30PM
$20 in advance / $25 at the door
Land of Talk
 Indie Rock
Thanya Iyer
 folk pop indie folk jazz
Maggie Gently
 emo indie pop rock

Land of Talk
-Montreal, QC
-Lizzie Powell has always been a risk-taker. As the creative force behind the influential Canadian outfit Land of Talk, the Montreal-based songwriter has over the past 15 years amassed a catalog of four unimpeachable albums that stretch the boundaries of indie rock. But Performances, their fifth LP, feels like a total reinvention: an unflinching statement from an artist who’s not afraid to say how they feel. Though it trades muscular guitar rock for understated piano, it’s still the most urgent, cathartic, and personal release of Powell’s career so far. “It's the weirdest, mightiest little record I've made since I used to write music on my four-track when I was 14,” says Powell. “I needed to make a love letter to my teenage self by being more vulnerable and doing all the production myself.” Here, they doggedly value their own intuition over anything else to make their most rewarding album yet.

Work on Performances started in 2021 during a time that Powell refers to as a period of “identity confusion,” where they had trouble finding a place for the intimate, piano-based recordings they were making. ”I realized right away that I was not feeling electric guitar for this album,” says Powell. “At first, I felt like something was wrong with me: Land of Talk is about guitars and me rocking out. But is that all I am? Can I get away with doing a Land of Talk record without a ton of electric guitar?” Instead of pandering to arbitrary expectations and preconceived notions about their career so far, Powell decided to follow the muse and immerse themself into this new artistic lane. “I would write demos and think, ‘Oh, that doesn't really kind of sound like Land of Talk,’” they say. “But then I realized that I'm Land of Talk.”

With the confidence to freely create what they want, Powell decamped to a rental in Sutton, Quebec owned by a dear friend to write and record. Lead single “Your Beautiful Self” was one of the first songs Powell brought to life. The track’s a slow burn with Powell’s voice starting the song at a lower register. It slowly builds with steady drums and a throbbing bassline until Powell sings, “Take a deep breath / Let it out / Show the love in.” As they sing that line, an electric guitar riff punctures the space in the song allowing for tangible catharsis to seep in. Powell credits another standout song they wrote during this time, the gentle beast “Marry It,” as being the lightbulb moment for the album. “When I wrote the song, I thought that it’s everything I’m trying to say,” they say. “It's such a cryptic poem of a song but it’s actually me trying my best to explain everything. It’s almost my memoir: it's really me.”

Many of the tracks Powell worked on were original ideas that have been percolating in their head for years: songs that they loved but never released or properly fleshed out. “Over the past few years in the music industry, being a musician is such a precarious situation and it had me thinking, "What if this is the last album I ever make?" they say. “I just wanted to honor all these ideas that have been living in my brain throughout my life. They deserve a place in my catalog.” The sprawling single and LP closer “Pwintiques” is a perfect example of this. One of several instrumentals on the album, it sparked as a piano riff Powell wrote as a university student almost two decades ago. When they brought it to the Montreal studio to record with engineer Rena Kozak and multi-instrumentalist Laurie Torres (Julia Jacklin), the initial minute-long riff turned into seven eventful minutes with multiple drum fills and a psychedelic jam that evokes Slint, Tortoise, and Sonic Youth.

While Performances is undoubtedly an ambitious leap and marked shift in focus for Land of Talk, to Powell, it’s a return to their roots. “My ears are always drawn to things that aren’t perfectly polished,” says Powell. “I came up as like a strapping lo-fi experimental recording artist. How can I get that feeling back and why not now? I may not pull it off perfectly, but I owe it to myself to play the music that's in my head.” Though Powell cites everything from rapper Nappy Nina, producers Sounwave and Pi’erre Bourne, as well as The Banshees of Inisherin as indirect inspirations of the LP, the single “Sitcom” takes cues from

Christopher Cross and the Family Ties intro. Over hazy synths, they sing, “Just something I’m feeling / I’ll never figure it out Just a touch, a feeling / I’ll never figure it out.”

Performances is a defiant and resonant blow against expectations and outside pressure. It’s an LP showcasing an artist without constraints and allowing themself to be radically honest. “The album title is very literal,” says Powell. “I'm performing what's in my brain but I'm tired of performing femininity for the music industry, femininity in my life, respectability, and vulnerability. I'm trying to grow out of these and break out of these roles in my life.” Powell’s fearlessness as a songwriter has already led to Land of Talk boasting an unmistakably essential discography but with this album, they find the perfect opportunity to give themself the grace to truly double down on their own vital sensibilities. They usher the songs every step of the way from demoing to producing, imbuing each track with immense care and unfiltered feeling.

“This is me reclaiming Land of Talk as it always has been,” says Powell. “Every record we've made has just been one step closer to me figuring out how I want to make a record myself. I might not ever make an album like this again, but I just felt like I owed it to myself to try.”

Thanya Iyer
-from Montreal, QC
-Thanya Iyer is both a person and a band. Thanya Iyer the person, is 1/3 of Thanya Iyer the band. The other 2/3s are made up of Alex, Dan, and other great friends. Thanya Iyer (the band) has done a lot (released an album, released a mixtape, played at festivals, played in every time zone in North America, etc). Thanya Iyer (the person) has done all this and then some. Thanya Iyer (the person) is a very busy person. Thanya Iyer (the band) is a very busy band and the sound has evolved to reflect this. Thanya Iyer (the band) struggles to define their music (only when asked, they don't think about it the rest of the time) and rather than recite a list of genres and sub-genres, they would rather you just listen and tell them. But for the lazy (or busy) people out there maybe Future-Folk is accurate (or vague) enough? Thanya Iyer (the person and the band) will continue her and their never-ending quest to bring joy to those they come in contact with. Using music, conversation, green tea, and miscellaneous.

Maggie Gently
-from San Francisco, CA
- Maggie Gently (she/her) is a San Francisco-based indie songwriter with a fondness for wild schemes and intimate gestures. Maggie is a queer woman whose identity is important to her and the community she creates and participates in.

Maggie Gently’s music is about how making decisions for your own mental health can feel like a matter of survival. While leaning in to her pop punk and emo roots, Maggie’s new project finds moments of sweetness and quiet that draw focus to the vulnerable lyrics. After the release of her debut EP Good Cry (May 28, 2020, Brace Cove Records), Maggie Gently has been working to find community and inspiration in quarantine.

Maggie Gently’s music is inspired by the heartbreaking intimacy of bands like Snail Mail and Lala Lala, and the witchy coolness of Tancred. Maggie also finds inspiration in Meg Hayertz’ “Make It, Mean It” tarot-focused guided meditations, lesbian romance novels, and the Enneagram.

Maggie Gently’s music project was born during the dark winter days in the middle of a painful friend breakup. With the promise of a New Year/fresh start mixed in with Maggie’s Saturn Return, she started taking a good hard look at what she needed to be happy. It was a rocky, painful start to the year. She said goodbye to a friendship that was important to her, left a band that she loved, started therapy, and spent a lot of time sitting in front of the heater in her apartment writing songs about whether she was making the right decisions after all. Her music became a project for processing doubt, learning to trust herself, and eventually seeing a glimmer of a future where things are ok. Her songs became healing affirmations that you can be a thoughtful, forgiving person while still establishing boundaries and protecting your heart.

Good Cry was engineered by Grace Coleman at El Studio in San Francisco and produced by Eva Treadway (Pllush, The She’s), who also played lead guitar. Joey Grabmeier (Joy Weather, Maggie’s brother) played drums on the album, and Sinclair Riley (Pllush, The She’s) played bass.