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First Play Live: Austra, Future Politics

Reuben Maan

Friday, Jan. 20 will be an auspicious day — if you're a fan of Austra. It's the day the band releases its third album, Future Politics. You might think that Austra, led by Katie Stelmanis, planned the release to coincide with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, but it's actually just a fortuitous coincidence. With lead singles titled "Utopia" and "Future Politics," Stelmanis makes it clear how she and her bandmates feel about a Trump presidency.

"Change, comes from 'writers, scholars, public intellectuals, social activists, and participants in social media,'" Stelmanis says in a press release for Future Politics, quoting Harper's Magazine editor Rebecca Solnit. To that list, Stelmanis adds "artists, club scenes, parties, teenagers, ghettoes," going on to say that "every single person’s idea about the future is valid and relevant, especially the freaks and the queers and the outsiders.”

Austra brought its vision for the future to CBC Music last week, debuting the album in a First Play Live session. Don't worry about getting lost in political ideologies; Stelmanis's soaring voice transports the serious political themes from the cerebral to the emotional, and the steady BPM can lead to cathartic release. Stelmanis is joined by Maya Postepski on drums, Ryan Wonsiak on keys and Dorian Wolf on bass and keys. Check out the performances below.

More to explore:

First Play Live: Tanya Tagaq, Retribution

First Play Live: BadBadNotGood, IV

First Play Live: July Talk, Touch (Part 1)