Austra is the Toronto trio of vocalist/pianist/etc Katie Stelmanis (ex-Galaxy), drummer Maya Postepski (ex-Galaxy, currently TRUST), and bassist Dorian Wolf (ex-Spiral Beach). Their first 12″ single released with One Big Silence in November 2010 was quickly followed by a full length with Domino Records April 2011. Premiering in the US at 2011 SXSW, Stereogum listed them as a 2011 “band to watch”.
“Austra’s excellently dark and danceable Feel It Break feels like their proper debut. It was mixed by Damian Taylor (Björk, The Prodigy, UNKLE) and it feels huge. …You could think of another goth-y, minor key-obsessed singers like Zola Jesus and Karin Dreijer Andersson, but Stelmanis & Co. create a lighter, more shimmering atmosphere. At times you might be reminded of Nico’s extremely icy The Marble Index with a warmer new wave pulse. Whatever the case, it’s a strong (100% dud-free) collection and one of 2011′s surefire best. Get acquainted via “Lose It.””
Stelmanis powerful, instantly memorable voice deserves the front-and-center attention and a little background info: she joined the Canadian Children’s Opera at 10, sang for the Canadian Opera Company, and pursued a career in opera until she attended a punk show and joined a band. Instead of focusing on music in college, she listened to NIN and the Knife and started doing production work (for soundtracks and local plays), deciding she wanted to “make classical music with really fucked up, distorted crazy shit on there.”
ARAABMUZIK / AUSTRA / BATTLES / BLONDES / BRENMAR / CENTIPEDE E'EST / DAM-FUNK / DONATO DOZZY / ELQ / EXTREME ANIMALS / FALTYDL / FORD & LOPATIN / FOUR TET / FRKWYS 7 ENSEMBLE / LAUREL HALO / LIGHT ASYLUM / NUEL/ PEANUT BUTTER WOLF / PINK SKULL / PROTECT-U / PTA / PURE HYPE / SMOOTH TUTORS / SUTEKH / TIM SWEENEY / TRANS AM / TOY SELECTAH / UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE / WALLS / WOLF EYES / ZOMBI