The third album from Austra is Future Politics, a majestic electro-pop creation that calls for radical hope – "a commitment to replace the approaching dystopia," according to the Montreal band's leader Katie Stelmanis. The elegant, thoughtful singer-songwriter lets The Globe and Mail in on her current passions.
What she's watching: "I've just started watching Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. It's one of my favourite books, so I had very high expectations for the series and am happy that it's successfully surpassed them. It is, however, taking me a lot longer to watch than a normal binge-worthy series because its sooo depressing, and I'm therefore finding the need to take a lot of breaks between episodes. If the premise didn't feel so eerily 'possible' in 2017, I would have probably finished ages ago."
What she's listening to: "Juana Molina recently put out an album called Halo that I've really been enjoying. We've been label mates on Domino for years and somehow I never managed to listen to her music until recently. Molina is an Argentine artist who has been making music for over 20 years, building a really interesting career as an experimental composer and years before that as a famous actress. I was really excited to learn that she is in her 50s, because I'm always scared that women in music have a much earlier expiry date than their male counterparts and like to be proven wrong as often as possible."
What she's reading: I'm currently reading Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler. I've been really into sci-fi lately, especially feminist and Afrofuturist titles. I recently saw an exhibit at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles devoted to Butler and have been searching for her books in every used bookstore I stumble upon while travelling ever since. My favourite parts of the exhibit were the letters of motivation she would write to herself, particularly the one in which she proclaims her desire for her readers to 'feel, feel, FEEL.'"
Katie Stelmanis and Austra play Beats, Breaks & Culture (Aug. 18 to 20, at Harbourfront Centre) on Aug. 19; Riverfest, Elora, Ont. (Aug. 18 to 20) on Aug. 20.