Okay, bear with me here. I swear, I know it’s been several weeks in a row that I’ve availed your ears with female vocalists, so here’s the deal: I will post about yet another female singer this week and then next week I will find you a nice boy to listen to.
I stumbled across Cold Specks‘ video for ‘Holland‘ last week in a random blog and have quickly become a superfan. Born and bred in Etobicoke, she’s formerly a bored University of Toronto student who spent far too much time in her dorm room fingering a guitar; she later quit and moved to the UK where she adopted her current moniker, Al Spx (her real name is unknown, such a mystery!)
The simplistic style and guitar of her songs could be argued in either direction, with some saying it undermines her potential, and others saying it showcases her vocals perfectly. I’m a believer in the latter. She once described her voice as ‘a dark beast I didn’t know what to do with‘. It’s husky, and reminiscent of old gospel singers and rainy days; it resonates through you. This sandpaper voice, coupled with minimal accompaniment, make these the songs to sit alone with, the ones to play softly in the background and be reflective with. And magically, instead of sounding like some lonely girl singing about death, she sings something universal that we can all connect with. I’ve only heard a handful of these sedating, stunning songs so far, but I will be the first in line to check out her new album ‘I predict a graceful expulsion’ when it comes out on May 22nd. If you’re like me and prefer your music live, she’ll be playing Guelph’s famed Hillside Festival this year as well.
Tom Waits said ‘ Nobody ever says ‘that’s enough songs, don’t play me anymore. There’s always room for more songs.‘ I agree, I believe there is a place for all types of music in the world. Every bad day, every happy, glittering moment, every tear and every smile needs a song. Cold Specks is beautiful, gloomy and haunting, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its place in even the cheeriest persons life. Music is about connection, about feeling close to someone you barely know and about believing in something. The video for my other favorite track on the album, ‘Blank Maps’, was just released, and while I had heard the song before, the video added a new dimension for me. As Cold Specks makes eye contact with you, she proudly declares ‘I am, I am, I am, I am, a goddamn believer‘. In that moment, she made one out of me.
So press play, lay down and let her transport you somewhere as she plays an amazing version of ‘Lay me Down’ on the Jools Holland show earlier this year. I don’t know what this song will do for you; it may help you, or it may hurt you depending on how you’re doing today. But at minimum, I promise if you give this girl a listen she’ll make a goddamn believer out of you too.