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Austra


Country of origin:

Canada

Type of music generally:

Alternative, beautiful & fierce electronica

Status:

Most recent release, Future Politics (2017)

See also:

Austra's site

Austra's MySpace page

The Ectophiles' Guide's page for Katie Stelmanis's solo work

Comparisons:

Katie Stelmanis's solo work, The Knife

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Katie Stelmanis's new band Austra is absolutely brilliant. It's more electronic (well, more *traditionally* electronic) than her solo album Join Us, so if you don't like that kind of thing, it might not be for you. But if it is, this is massive. (lotterose @ gmail . com)

Similar to Katie Stelmanis's solo work, but catchier, more danceable. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Comments about live performance:

Saw Austra opening for Tune-Yards outdoors in Hudson River Park, NYC. I couldn't see well so I just got glimpses of the band based on when/how people in front of me moved. Katie Stelmanis had this way of moving her arms while singing that sort of made me think of a witch conjuring spells. I think on a smaller stage with better sightline it would be mesmerizing. (7/2011, JoAnn Whetsell)

Recommended first album:

Feel It Break

Recordings:

  • Feel It Break (2011)
  • Sparkle (remixes, 2011)
  • Olympia (2013)
  • Habitat EP (2014)
  • Future Politics (2017)

Feel It Break

Release info:

2011—Domino Recording Co.—WIGCD270

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Katie Stelmanis
Maya Postepski
Dorian Wolf

Guest artists:

Damian Taylor—frequency harmonization, levels balancing, tone mixing
Anna-Sophia Vukovitch—violin (10)
Anissa Hart—cello (10)
Ewan Kay—trombone (9)
Carmen Elle—guitar (10, 11)

Produced by:

Austra; Mike Haliechuk co-produced tracks 1 and 4

Comments:

Another exciting new discovery this year. Lead singer Katie Stelmanis sounds a bit like Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine) but not as shout-y. Katie has more control with her voice, which is easier on my ears. :-) Backing that wonderful voice are these dark, sometimes foreboding soundscapes. A few tracks are a little repetitive, but that's a small gripe. This excellent album will surely be one of the best of the year, for me. (lasherboy@gmail.com)

NPR's Robin Hilton uses the words "strange," "moody" "haunting" "unsettling and alluring," "sleek analog synths," and "throbbing, beat-heavy mix" in her review. I can't really think of anything to add except "excellent." (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (gordodo@optonline.net, jonwesleyhuff@gmail.com)


Olympia

Release info:

2013—Domino Recording Co.—WIGCD314

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Katie Stelmanis—vocals, synths, programming piano, recorder
Maya Postepski—keyboards, programming percussion, drums, marimba, organ
Dorian Wolf-bass, synths

Guest artists:

Ronny Lightman—backing vocals
Dari Lgihtman—backing vocals
Ryan Womak—saxophone, flute
Ann Sophia—Vukovich—viola
Ewan Kay—trombone

Produced by:

Austra

Comments:

While it's not quite the revelation that Feel It Break was, Olympia is a worthy successor, and has lovely, powerful moments. (Neile)

One of these voices I just have to fall in love with: quirky and distinctive. The tracks are solid, albeit a bit repetitive. Maybe one should listen to this album in chunks so it doesn't get boring after a while. (raschee@gmail.com)


Further info:

Austra contributed a cover of The Strokes' "Alone, Together" to the Stereogum album Stroked: A Tribute to Is This It (2011).


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2017-01-22 16:46:45.
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