New Release: Austra – ‘Olympia’

 

Canadian band Austra today releases their sophomore album, Olympia. The sound can be described as electro-pop but with lots of breadth and depth, as Austra makes music with a hollowing gravity paired with a somehow undeniable bounce.

Watch the video for their first single, “Home,” below. You’ll hear quivering vocals reminiscent of Bjork and a grandeur akin to Florence & the Machine – not a bad combination at all.

NYC, be sure to catch their in-store performance at Other Music tomorrow, June 19 at 8 PM. Get tickets on Austra’s Tumblr.

Purchase Olympia on iTunes | Amazon

Tour dates after the jump

55th Annual Grammy Nominations

 

Some awesome artists getting recognized with the 55th Grammy nominations this year. Super glad to see our boy Frank Ocean, Alabama Shakes, The Black Keys, M.I.A., Florence & The Machine, The Roots, Bjork, and Miguel, amongst many others making the list.

And once again, we are thrilled to see so many great projects we worked making the nominee list as well. A big congrats to Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, and Anthony Hamilton for snagging more than one nomination, too! The 55th Grammys will air on February 10. For a full list of the nominees, click here.

Best Pop Solo Performance
Set Fire To The Rain [Live] – Adele

Best R&B Performance
Thank You – Estelle
Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.) – Robert Glasper Experiment ft. Ledisi

Best R&B Song
Pray For Me – Anthony Hamilton
Refill – Elle Varner

Best R&B Album
Black Radio – Robert Glasper Experiment
Back To Love – Anthony Hamilton

Best Traditional R&B Performance
Real Good Hands – Gregory Porter

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
Cross Roads – Ravi Coltrane

Best Jazz Vocal Album
Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
City Of Roses – Esperanza Spalding

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
The Absence – Melody Gardot

Best Long Form Music Video
Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding

Exclusive Interview: See Sza Blossom

 

by Andrea K. Castillo

Her voice is sweet and her lyrics are filled with emotion. Her music digs deeper than the surface, and is crafted with precision. Her name is Sza and she is here to share her music and herself to the world. Take a glimpse inside her mind in this interview with Giant Step contributor, Andrea K. Castillo.

I first became familiar with your EP through Giant Step and I immediately downloaded, and I listened, and listened, and thought, “Wow, this is really great! Let me learn more about this girl.” So I read all your press stuff and decided to do an interview, so here it is. We’re in the time of Sza. Your EP, See Sza Run, has been out for a few weeks now, tell me a little bit about the process, I know you worked with a bunch of different producers, how was that experience?

Sza: Super. A lot of these happened by chance. You’d be surprised at how any people don’t give you beats or don’t give you permission for anything, so I pretty much stole three-quarters of my project. Once they [the producers] heard it, they weren’t as angry with me. It was definitely interesting, I was like “That sounds good, MINE!”, and just ran with it.

So it’s seven tracks, and when listening it is very atmospheric and I can see what you are talking about. It’s a little dark, but I like that, and your lyrics are very refined. How long have you been writing?

Sza: That’s a really good question. I’ve been a writer, prior to singing or anything, for a very long time. That was my strong suit. Even in high school I was in AP English…writing is my thing. I’m a serious reader and heavily into poetry, so before I even opened my mouth and thought “Maybe I should try to translate this into something, it’s crowded in here”, I had to find a way to get these thoughts out of my brain.

You paint a picture with your words, and in regards to your visuals, I noticed across the board there are a lot of flowers; the album artwork, the music videos. Can you tell us more about your choice to use floral imagery in your work?

Sza: My mom was somewhat of a botanist, so gardening, plant life, that’s all her sh*t, and my dad was super into science. I went to school for science, so I love plant life and wild life. Knowing a lot about flowers and what they represent and the energy they bring…I use a lot of tiger lilies in my work because they used to grow in my backyard all the time; those are my favorite, they’re so pretty.

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Read the rest of the interview after the jump