“I don’t think it’s possible for me to write in a major key,” says Katie Stelmanis, co-founder and lead singer of Toronto trio AUSTRA. “I don’t know why. It doesn’t seem to factor in my brain”.
On ‘Feel It Break’, Austra’s new album, out May 16th, Stelmanis, drummer Maya Postepski and bassist Dorian Wolf have crafted a dark, danceable masterpiece suitable for both ritual incantations and clubs; an album hearkening back to the sleazier side of New Wave but still deeply rooted in Stelmanis’s classical and operatic upbringing.
Stelmanis’s innate do-it-yourself ethos hasn’t changed, yet with the addition of former Galaxy member Postepski (Princess Century, Trust) on drums and programming and former Spiral Beach bassist Wolf, the singer has created her best work to date. Written primarily by Stelmanis – “Most of the songs are finished in my bedroom,” says the songwriter – and mixed by Damian Taylor (Bjork, The Prodigy, UNKLE), the album rests nicely with your Kate Bush, Bat For Lashes and The Knife albums, but also conjures up the seedier sides of early 1980s British New Wave (think the dirty alleys and after-hours clubs dreamed up by Japan and Soft Cell.) On their first single “Beat and The Pulse,” Austra have created the warmest cold track of the year, a pulsating, synth-driven attack laced by Stelmanis’s gorgeous, towering vocal
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