Austra: “Feel it Break” (CD Review)


Feel it Break

Domino Records CD (DNO 292P)

Katie Stelmanis has a haunting voice which she deploys to powerful effect as the vocalist for Toronto-based band Austra. Their full length debut via Domino features darkly hued electronica with 80s-era synthetic timbres and danceable beats.

There are plenty of bands that have tried to mine this territory of late. But the combination of memorable hooks, and Stelmanis’ pipes singing them, allows Austra to stand out from the back.

If you think that Eighties nostalgia has lasted longer than the era itself, you’re probably right. But the best exponents of dark wave, bands like Austra, use the materials made famous by 80′s era pop songs as a touchstone and a jumping off point, not merely for the sentimental thrill (now chilled). As such, Feel it Break allows the listener a refreshed take on synth-pop, which is welcome news indeed.

Here are a couple of live videos of the band performing at SXSW 2011.

Disco Doom’s “Star Drone” (MP3)

They’ve been making music for a dozen years in their stomping grounds in Switzerland, but Trux Reverb, their latest record – out today via Static Cult – is getting the band Disco Doom some stateside exposure. Recorded by Jim Roth of Build to Spill, it’s an audacious, thunderous, and relentless experimental rock record that’s light on the disco, heavy on the doom.

Check out the “case in point” below – an MP3 of album track “Star Drone” that the band was kind enough to let us post. And, if you’re at SXSW this week, see them live (dates below).

Star Drone

Tour Dates

mar 16 – Austin, TX – BD Riley (SXSW)
mar 17 – Austin, TX – Backspin Record Store (SXSW – outdoor day party)
mar 18 – Austin, TX – Garden Show (SXSW)
mar 21 – Houston, TX – Super Happy Fun Land
mar 23 – Austin, TX – Ghost Room
mar 24 – Austin, TX – Club de Ville
mar 26 – Paris, TX – Bakery
mar 31 – Pioneertown, CA – Pappy & Harriets
apr 05 – Phoenix, AZ – Rogue Bar
apr 09 – Boise, ID – VAC

SXSW attendees – any Indie Classical sightings?

For those of us who didn’t make the pilgrimage to SXSW last week, it’s always nice to live vicariously. I saw various tweets about cellos and violins at the festival, and am curious if any readers who attended saw evidence of Indie Classical music at the various showcases. Feel free to share you stories in the comments section below.