A combination of spine-tingling operatic vocals and retro digitalism may just make Canada’s Austra your new favourite.
The Canadian quartet is lead by the chilling vocals of Katie Stelmanis, who was classically trained and actually joined the Canadian Children’s Opera at ten.
Then she discovered punk, industrial and new-wave, was in a group called Galaxy, then took her bandmate, drummer Maya Postepski, and former Spiral Beach bassist Dorian Wolf to create Austra.
Austra is Katie’s middle name and is the Latvian goddess of light, appropriate for the spectral glow the trio creates.
Their debut album Feel It Break was released in May this year and was shortlisted for Canadian ‘album of the year’ Polaris Prize.
Since then, Austra have entranced audiences with frosty, throbbing, shamelessly ’80s new-wave electronica, elevated by Stelmanis’ quivering vocals.
Luckily for Australians, Austra are on the Laneway Festival early next year and have sideshows at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne on Thursday 2 February and at The Basement in Sydney on Thursday 9 February.
Check out their first single, ‘Lose It’, below. And if you can handle some shadowy, smudged, possibly-NSFW dancing, ‘The Beat And The Pulse’.
For fans of: The Knife, Florence + The Machine, Kate Bush, Zola Jesus