Pop & Rock 2011: 30 Best Albums
Katie Stelmanis' captivatingly haunting yet serenely operatic voice ranges from ice cold to hot blooded in the thick of Austra's musical universe. Surrounded by sweeping synth hooks, old school bass boogie, a duo of angelic vocalists and beating drums, the Toronto-based creative trio is a musical force to be reckoned with. Austra made a name for themselves this year with a stellar album consisting of dark haunting melodies illuminated by immediate electro grooves. Songs breathe, and often brood instrumentally before Stelmanis injects her alluring voice. Throughout a wholeheartedly solid album, it is hard to choose favourites. Feel It Break evokes a homogenized mood, which is not a bad thing at all. Austra chooses their musical weapons wisely and stick to their guns. While Feel It Break owes a lot to retro synth pop and '80s new wave, it contains the workings of a band who seek to carve their own sound rather than follow musical trends or rest on their laurels. A stripped-down, piano driven ballad that concludes the release ("The Beast") is a testament to the depth of Austra's creative future. Feel It Break was a breath of cool air in 2011 that heralded Austra many accolades. The group reflected the positive response by constantly touring. Continuing their emphasis of artistry and creativity within creeping cinematic synth-psych will definitely yield the group an exciting future, and fans; the fruits of Austra's labours.
FeaturesMay 28, 2015
Patrick WatsonBlinded By Science
An album about robots may seem suited for the kind of experimentalism seen in science fiction, but Patrick Watson — the Montreal-based...
FeaturesMay 26, 2015
Samantha Savage SmithSteps Outside the Box
It took four years for the release of Calgary singer-songwriter Samantha Savage Smith's follow-up to her 2011 debut. In that time Smith has ...
FeaturesMay 26, 2015
High EndsClass Act
There's a line at the start of "Working Man's Blue," the last song on Yukon Blonde frontman Jeffrey Innes's debut LP as High Ends, that goes...
StreamsMay 25, 2015
Pick a Piper"Dinghy in a Quiet Cove" on Exclaim! TV
Although Pick a Piper started as a group that aim to bring "organic dance music," their switch to electronic instrumentation did not stop th...
NewsMay 25, 2015
Shamir Finds His Disco-Pop Voice on 'Ratchet'
One of last year's best new discoveries was a confident debut single called "If It Wasn't True" that sounded straight out of the DFA laborat...
FeaturesMay 22, 2015
How I PlayDine Alone Records' Joel Carriere
It all started in a mall. Joel Carriere was working at Sam the Record Man in St. Catharines, ON. Still in his early 20s, the local show prom...
NewsMay 21, 2015
Patrick Watson Melds Flesh and Machine on 'Love Songs for Robots'
Patrick Watson's new album may be called Love Songs for Robots, but it was inspired less by science fiction than science fact. The Montreal-...
NewsMay 20, 2015
Brandon Flowers Goes in Depth on the Killer Collaborations of 'The Desired Effect'
Brandon Flowers is best known as the frontman for the Killers, but for the second time in five years, he has gone out on his own. While the ...