Austra – "Anywayz" (Singles Going Steady)

Photo: Virginie Khateeb / Courtesy of Domino Records

Austra's "Anywayz" is a musical exploration of the fear associated with leaving someone and the even more frightening realization that life continues. It's also stunningly gorgeous.

Elisabeth Woronzoff: Earlier this year, Austra announced the release of the album HiRUDiN, due out 1 May via Domino. The first released tracks, "Risk It" and "Anywayz", are exciting glimpses into the album's dazzling electropop schema. "Anywayz", in particular, is a musical exploration of the fear associated with leaving someone and the even more frightening realization that life continues. The track opens with Katie Stelmanis' vocals, stark and vulnerable. The track builds with tempo shifts, informing Stelmanis' intensity while disallowing the listener from experiencing quietude. "Anywayz" is intentionally erratic, musically unpredictable and mercurial. Likewise, the music video's rapid cuts and scene changes are emblematic of the chaos associated with heartbreak. "Anywayz" is undoubtedly evocative of the upcoming album's ingenuity. [8/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: Images of Austra's Katie Stelmanis isolated in an empty house as "the world keeps turning", and nature creeps in seem oddly prescient two weeks later as we all sit in social distance from one another. As always, Stelmanis' vocals are gorgeous, a quasi-operatic opening giving way to luminous harmonies; twisted power chords add to a timeless sense of melancholy majesty. The brief stylistic shift about two and a half minutes in feels a little out of place as Stelmanis takes on a less remarkable and more conventional vocal delivery. Still, it's a small quibble in an otherwise beautifully crafted single with an eerily on-point message of human fragility. [7/10]

Karen Zarker: Pretty, and spooky, and pretty spooky, Austra's haunting "Anywayz" video evokes Alejandro Amenábar's The Others. As with Nicole Kidman's Grace, there's no mystery as to which side of love and life Austra's unsettling visage strolls, and which side she fears. The gauzy and shadowy interior conveys a broken heart and a broken mind. Her harmonized soprano echos in a lonely place and sends sparkly chills up your spine. [8/10]

Sarah Zupko: Led by a melody so gorgeous and timeless that you swear Bach himself wrote it, Austra's "Anywayz" blossoms from that into a sparkling synthpop tune before it heads back to wistful, haunting verses. Simply beautiful. This is already one of my songs of the year. [9/10]

SCORE: 8.00

Austra's "Anywayz" appears on HiRUDiN, releasing 1 May 2020 via Domino and Pink Fizz Recordings.





The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.