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New Buffalo

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With a coolly attractive voice reminiscent of Emily Haines' deadpan sweetness and a sharper than average knack for both songwriting and arrangements, Sally Seltmann (who is, for all intent, New Buffalo) is Australia's strongest addition to the multinational cadre of folkish electronic artists that includes Beth Orton, Keren Ann, Feist, and former Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman. However, Seltmann's roots stretch back to the early '90s and the Sydney-based indie guitar rock scene that coalesced around the influential Half a Cow label. Seltmann, then known as Sally Russell, was co-leader of the Lustre 4 with guitarist Lara Meyerratken, later of Ben Lee's band. Russell also spent some time in cult twee pop act Spdfgh (which had previously recorded her song "You Made Me") after founding guitarist Liz Payne left that band. But after moving from Sydney to Melbourne following the dissolution of the Lustre 4, Russell completely revised her musical style to emphasize keyboards, samples, and electronic beats under her alluring voice. Russell debuted New Buffalo with the EP About Last Night in 2001. Following some unsuccessful sessions in London and Los Angeles, Russell returned to Melbourne and recorded the 2004 full-length The Last Beautiful Day on her own. A self-titled remix EP, which also included a new song recorded with Swedish kindred spirit Jens Lekman, followed in 2005. Around this time, Russell married Darren Seltmann of Australian dance-rock outfit the Avalanches and adopted her married name professionally. New Buffalo's second album, Somewhere, Anywhere, was released in Australia in early 2007. That same year, Leslie Feist released her cover of Seltmann's "1234" as the first single from her album The Reminder; that connection helped lead to the Canadian label Arts & Crafts (Feist's label, owned by her cohorts in Broken Social Scene) picking up Somewhere, Anywhere for North American release that summer. Seltmann released 2010's Heart That's Pounding under her own name. ~ Stewart Mason