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Electronic/Dance - Released June 17, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

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During the lengthy Feel It Break tour, Austra expanded from a trio to a six-piece, which allowed for more interplay among the band. This expansiveness helps Katie Stelmanis and crew find more creative and nuanced ways to explore the contrast between their chilly synth-pop and her huge, passionate voice on Olympia. Though the album's much fuller, smoother sound might be the first things listeners notice, Stelmanis' more personal lyrics are a close second; both shine on the single "Home," where she cries "you know that it hurts me when you don't come home at night" over pianos that switch from flowing balladry to rhythmic pop stabs. It's as though having a bigger crew around her allowed Stelmanis to dig deeper into her feelings than she did on Feel It Break. While she'd sound compelling singing almost anything, the tremulousness of her voice, coupled with Olympia's direct pleas and accusations, give Austra a new level of emotional impact. Stelmanis revealed that she listened to early Cat Power while writing these songs, and there's a similar heart-on-sleeve quality to her singing and words; it doesn't get much more naked than song titles like "You Changed My Life" and "Hurt Me Now," and her voice stretches up heartrendingly on "What We Done?" and "Reconcile." As Stelmanis gets more vulnerable and approachable, the rest of Austra becomes more refined and elaborate on Olympia. It's arguably a more sonically beautiful album than the the band's debut, with more organic elements mixed into their dramatic electro-pop, either blending like the marimbas on "Fire" or creating bold juxtapositions like the strings and dubstep-like bass on "Forgive Me." There aren't as many obvious singles like "The Beat and the Pulse" and "Lose It" here, though standouts like "Painful Like" and "Annie (Oh Muse, You)" are among the most danceable tracks here. Instead, Austra opts for a more balanced and poised version of the sound they set forth on Feel It Break; even though that album's rough edges and raw nerves were a large part of what made it so potent, Olympia feels like the beginning of a more sustainable, and versatile, direction for the band. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic/Dance - Released May 1, 2020 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 20, 2017 | Domino Recording Co

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After Austra's Olympia tour finished, Katie Stelmanis moved to Montreal for a change of pace that ended up feeling more like solitary confinement than solitude. However, the unexpected isolation may have been a blessing in disguise for her music: Future Politics is a direct, affecting set of songs about intimacy, technology, and above all, hope. The group strips back a bit from Olympia's lavish sounds, trimming down from a six-piece to the trio of Stelmanis, drummer Maya Postepski, and bassist/sound designer Dorian Wolf. Though there's nothing superfluous here, Austra's influences are wide-ranging, spanning Star Trek, Naomi Klein, and electro cumbia (a discovery Stelmanis made after leaving Montreal for Mexico City), which leaves its stamp on the haunting finale, "43," a song inspired by the 2014 kidnapping and massacre of 43 men in the Mexican city of Iguala. By acknowledging darkness, Stelmanis makes her idealism that much brighter -- a duality she uses brilliantly on Future Politics. She channels it through her vocals and beats, the forces driving Austra's music since "The Beat and the Pulse." The delicate waver in her voice does a lot of heavy lifting, carrying the pain of the present and hope for the future on songs like the slow-burning opener "We Were Alive" and "Utopia," where her tentative optimism is more poignant and powerful than a straightforward anthem. Later, the operatic purity of her high notes adds to the uncanniness of "I'm a Monster," while her tender delivery on "I Love You More Than You Love Yourself" reaffirms that no matter how conceptual it gets, Austra's music always has a personal element. The rhythms that animate Future Politics are just as expressive, adding defiant danceability to the title track, a crisp edge to "Gaia"'s swooning chorus, and an alluringly mechanical sensuality to "Angel in Your Eye." Austra may have traded some of Feel It Break's compelling rawness for a more polished approach on Olympia, but Future Politics' rare balance of poise and intensity makes it their most accomplished and emotionally satisfying album yet. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic/Dance - Released March 5, 2020 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 29, 2020 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released April 16, 2020 | Domino Recording Co

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Pop/Rock - Released January 10, 2011 | Domino Recording Co

Electronic/Dance - Released June 16, 2014 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released December 12, 2017 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 25, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 10, 2017 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released March 7, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released September 2, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released October 1, 2016 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released May 21, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released May 30, 2013 | Domino Recording Co

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 16, 2010 | Pink Fizz - Fontana North

Electronic/Dance - Released December 5, 2016 | Domino Recording Co

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