Michael: All across this land the Canadian people have cemented their plans to celebrate the birth of our great nation this weekend.
Music is central to these plans and affords us the opportunity to marvel at the diversity our country’s musicians have injected into Canadian culture over the years.
Al Spx has released her debut I Predict A Graceful Expulsion under the name Cold Specks and has been causing great waves internationally with her stark and sublime debut. Make no mistake; this is not a party record to be blasted on the dock in the afternoon sun, but an introspective introduction into the world of Spx. While lyrics may be a bit too Toronto-centric for some, Spx’s vocals is the real star here.
The litmus test for me on emerging talent is always the live experience. Unfortunately I was under the weather and missed out on a recent performance in Toronto, however my colleague, Chandra Rooney, did manage to make it to the show (see her jealousy-inducing words below) and we both agree this is the Canadian talent to watch.
Chandra: When I visited a friend in early May she had “Blank Maps” by Cold Specks looping in the background. As I listened, it reminded me of the first time I heard Sarah McLachlan’s “Full of Grace”—when it played during a season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer—because “Blank Maps” also stopped me cold. But it was “Winter Solstice” (featured on a Blog TO’s neighbourhood mix tape) that sold me on buying I Predict A Graceful Expulsion as soon as it was available. Said friend invited me to go along to see Cold Specks play as an opener for the Great Lake Swimmers at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto.
Normally Cold Specks has a six-piece band, but when she played the Music Hall it was just Spx, her guitar, and a spotlight. Rocking a soulful look and an even bigger voice, Spx played an unplugged set that left us wanting more. Not many singers can step away from the microphone and hit the back of a venue like it’s nothing, but she did. When she sang “Winter Solstice” and “Blank Maps,” I got goosebumps. Don’t let classification of “doom soul” scare you off this album—yes this is music that haunts, but only because it dares you to feel.