ON STAGE: Sally Seltmann at the Hi-Fi Bar

There was a time when the mere mention of Sally Seltmann’s name would come accompanied by a knowing look. Her early days as one-woman pop ensemble New Buffalo at the start of the 2000s, which followed a stint with Sydney indie girl group Lustre 4 in the 90s, were a portrait of girlish bashfulness, awkward silences and stage fright so palpable you couldn’t help but feel anxious yourself.

While Seltmann’s unassuming traits have come to define her rare musical craft – take the kaleidoscopic lo-fi brilliance of records The Last Beautiful Day (2004) and sweet, plaintive piano pop of sophomore Somewhere, anywhere (2007) as cases in point – her recent outings, both onstage and on record, have been marked by a growing (and glowing) sense of self-belief and poise. This year’s luminous third album A Heart That’s Pounding saw her step out from behind both her moniker and her veil of diffidence.

Though Friday night’s show at the Hi-Fi will be anything but a brash affair, it will witness a young artist and performer at the height of her gentle powers. Jessica Says and Oh Mercy will provide support.

Sally Seltmann, supported by Oh Mercy and Jessica Says, plays the Hi-Fi Bar on Friday, November 12, 8pm, $20.


IN STORE: Esperanza Spalding, Chamber Music Society

It was hard not to get swept up in the sheer sophistication of precocious Boston residing double bassist, composer, arranger and vocalist Esperanza Spalding’s first pair or recorded outings into Afro-Cuban and Latin inflected jazz and soul. Created when she was just 21 and 23 respectively, debut record Junjo (2006) and gorgeous follow-up Esperanza (2008) evidenced not only a prodigious young talent, but an artist with a studied ear for music’s various pasts.

Sumptuous third oeuvre Chamber Music Society sees her take her sound in a stunning set of new directions. As its title infers, Spalding is exploring much more classically orientated terrains here. But this isn’t chamber music as we know it.

Working chiefly with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Leo Genovese, Spalding weaves lush string arrangements, piano and percussive phrasing born out of classical music into the kind of lithe, amorphous compositions and improvisations that could have only risen from jazz. It’s a stunning mergence.

However, it’s Spalding’s vocal abilities that really shine here. Almost void of lyrics, she uses her wordless voice as a glimmering ingredient of her arrangements; one that dives and swoops, and twists and flutters.

Chamber Music Society is out now via Heads Up/Fuse.

UPCOMING: Aloe Blacc & The Grand Scheme

In another fantastic addition to a summer already brimming with international talent, masterful Los Angeles soul artist Aloe Blacc – along his band The Grand Scheme – has just announced a string of Australian shows off the back of his incredible second record for lauded LA imprint Stones Throw, Good Things. He plays The Prince Bandroom on February 4 with BBC DJ Benji B and Detroit hip-hop protagonist Waajeed. With tickets on sale from November 17, this is a show worth every cent.