This Toronto group have us completely hypnotized, following the addictive spell that arrived with the release of their début album, Feel It Break, which came out on Domino Records earlier this year. We haven’t been shy in proclaiming it the album of the year so far. The first four opening tracks on the album are so arresting and immediate that it sets up one of the most consistent hours your ears will experience in 2011.
If Austra were British they’d surely be hot contenders for the Mercury Prize, however foreigners don’t qualify, but we’re sure that they’re more than happy to be nominated for the Canadian equivalent, the Polaris Award, which announced it’s nominations this week and included their début. When discussed in a future context, we fully expect Feel It Break to be prefaced when introduced as ‘the award-winning...’.
To back up their album they’ve recently announced that there’s going to be an additional special remix EP, called Sparkle, also out on Domino Records. It’s available digitally on July 25th and physically on August 23rd, with ten reworks by the likes of MNDR, Mark Pistel, Planningtorock and Young Galaxy, among others.
Austra are also gathering a reputation for their live sets, mixing their astonishing operatic vocals with a thumping beat, resulting in a deadly experience that simultaneously moves your feet whilst mesmerizing your stare. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the performance. When we noticed they were booked to play The Haunt in Brighton on Friday 8th July we immediately etched it in red ink in our diaries.
For more extended adjectives and over-enthusiastic opinions on the band please see our coverage from earlier in the year right here. In the mean time you can grab a ticket for the show over at The Haunt’s website for only £6. Expect to see The Recommender staring rather obsessively at the front of the crowd all night. Hopefully we will get to meet with singer/songwriter Katie Stelmanis and the band too, as we’d like to line up a possible interview with them, but we will let you know if that happens. We may wait to post any resulting interview should they top our charting round-up for ‘The Best Albums of 2011‘, but either way they’ve surely set the bar for everyone else with their cracking début. (MB)
Venue: The Haunt
Date: Friday 8th July
AUSTRA – DARKEN HER HORSE
AUSTRA – LOSE IT (DIAMOND RINGS REMIX)
AUSTRA – SPELLWORK (MNDR NIGHTTIME REMIX)