Austra (band)

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Austra
Austra.jpg
Austra performing in Vancouver in November 2011
Background information
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres
Years active 2009–present
Labels
Website www.austramusic.com
Members
Past members
  • Romy Lightman
  • Sari Lightman

Austra is a Canadian electronic music band from Toronto, Ontario, founded by Katie Stelmanis in 2009.[8] The band consists of Stelmanis (vocals, keyboards), Maya Postepski (drums), Dorian Wolf (bass, Moog), and Ryan Wonsiak (keyboards).[9][10] They previously also featured the twin backing singers Sari and Romy Lightman of Tasseomancy. The band have released three studio albums—Feel It Break (2011), Olympia (2013), and Future Politics (2017).

Career[edit]

In 2004, Stelmanis and Postepski played in a band called Galaxy, together with Emma McKenna.[11] At the same time, Stelmanis started making electronic music at home and was also writing industrial-inspired soundtracks for performance artist Zeesy Powers. Powers convinced her to start performing her songs live, and in 2008 Stelmanis' debut album Join Us, which appeared under her own name, was released through Blocks Recording Club.[12] She toured Europe with Postepski on drums and xylosynth.[11] In 2009, Stelmanis decided to change the name of the project from her own in order to increase her band visibility, and because she felt too many people were mistaking the project for being an acoustic-folk act.[13]

In 2010, the band played the South by South West festival in Austin, Texas, under the name Private Life.[14] An A&R man from Domino Records saw them play and they subsequently signed a record deal with the label.[15] They played a number of early shows under that name before learning it was taken; they subsequently named themselves after Stelmanis' middle name Austra, which is also the name of the goddess of light in Latvian mythology.[16]

Austra's debut studio album, Feel It Break was released on May 11, 2011, by Domino Records,[17][18] and May 17, 2011, in Canada by Paper Bag Records.[19] The album was shortlisted for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize.[18][20] Feel It Break was included on several year-end critics' lists; notably, both the Toronto Star and New York named it the best album of 2011, with the former calling it "an outright stunner".[21][22] Stereogum named Austra a Band to Watch in March 2011.[23]

Their second album Olympia was released on June 18, 2013.[24] It was preceded by the lead single "Home", released on March 7, 2013.[25] It was described as "a personal song cycle about loss and gender dynamics".[26] Their third album Future Politics was released on January 20, 2017.[27] For the record, Stelmanis spent time in Mexico where she was introduced to electro cumbia while house, dance and techno music influenced the writing for the album.[28] Lyrically, Stelmanis was inspired by the book Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams and The Accelerationist Manifesto.[26] She indicated that the material for the record had been written before the political events in the second half of 2016.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
AUT
[29]
BEL (FL)
[30]
BEL (WA)
[31]
GER
[32]
SWI
[33]
UK
[34]
US Dance
[35]
US Heat
[36]
US Indie
[37]
Feel It Break 22
Olympia
  • Released: June 17, 2013
  • Label: Domino
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital
42 167 73 93 183 14 9 48
Future Politics
  • Released: January 20, 2017
  • Label: Domino
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital
36 98 180 61 46 19 7 27
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Remix albums[edit]

  • Sparkle (2011)

Extended plays[edit]

  • Beat and the Pulse (2010)
  • Habitat (2014)

Singles[edit]

  • "Lose It" (2011)
  • "Spellwork" (2011)
  • "Home" (2013)
  • "Painful Like" (2013)
  • "Forgive Me" (2013)
  • "Hurt Me Now" (2014)
  • "Habitat" (2014)
  • "American Science" (2014)
  • "Utopia" (2016)
  • "Future Politics" (2016)
  • "I Love You More Than You Love Yourself" (2017)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gaca, Anna (December 5, 2016). "New Music: Austra – "Future Politics"". Spin. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  2. ^ Swickey, Zachary (September 1, 2011). "Bands We Like: Austra". MTV News. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  3. ^ Adams, Gregory (September 26, 2011). "Young Galaxy Join Austra's Canadian Tour". Exclaim!. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ Gillis, Carla (April 29, 2015). "The Scene: Princess Century, Graze and Shy Girls". Now. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Osheaga Day 3: Peter Peter, Passion Pit, Michael Kiwanuka, Woodkid, City and Colour, Asexuals". Montreal Gazette. August 5, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  6. ^ Lambert, Molly (December 9, 2010). ""Beat and the Pulse" by Austra". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  7. ^ Breihan, Tom (November 14, 2013). "Austra – "Forgive Me" Video". Stereogum. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  8. ^ Morris, Gina (May 17, 2011). "REVIEW // Austra 'Feel It Break'". Hive Magazine. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  9. ^ Lau, Melody (March 18, 2015). "Austra's Maya Postepski Is Scared Shitless of SXSW". Vice. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  10. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (May 19, 2011). "Austra". Now. 30 (38). ISSN 0712-1326. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Barclay, Michael (January 24, 2008). "Katie Stelmanis". radio free canuckistan. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  12. ^ Molotkow, Alex (March 26, 2008). "Katie Stelmanis". Exclaim!. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  13. ^ Sirisuk, J. L. (2013-06-21). "The Beat and the Groove: Interview with AUSTRA's Katie Stelmanis". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Private Life - BrooklynVegan". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  15. ^ "A mystery called Austra". Electronic Beats. April 29, 2011. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  16. ^ Fader, Lainna (November 3, 2011). "Austra Turn People On With an Electric Feel". OC Weekly. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Feel It Break". Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  18. ^ a b McAllister, Jeff (November 1, 2012). "In Pursuit of the Polaris: A Conversation with Katie Stelmanis of Austra". Feedback. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  19. ^ Dina (May 17, 2011). "Austra's 'Feel It Break' Out Today!". Paper Bag Records. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Arcade Fire, Ron Sexsmith shortlisted for Polaris Prize". CBC News. July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  21. ^ Rayner, Ben (December 28, 2011). "Rayner: Albums that really rocked in 2011". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  22. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (December 4, 2011). "The Year in Pop". New York. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  23. ^ Brandon (March 14, 2011). "Band To Watch: Austra". Stereogum. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Olympia (Bonus Track Version) by Austra". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  25. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (March 8, 2013). ""Home" by Austra Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  26. ^ a b Joffe, Justin (January 18, 2017). "Austra Yearns for Radical Hope on the Prescient 'Future Politics'". New York Observer. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  27. ^ Potts, Dianca (January 9, 2017). "Music Monday: Katie Stelmanis of Austra". Lenny Letter. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  28. ^ Lau, Melody (January 18, 2017). "Austra's Katie Stelmanis: 5 songs that changed my life". CBC Music. Retrieved January 19, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Discographie Austra" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Discografie Austra" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Discographie Austra" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Discographie von Austra" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Discography Austra". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  34. ^ Peak chart positions for albums in the United Kingdom:
  35. ^ "Austra Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Austra Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  37. ^ "Austra Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 

External links[edit]