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Debut Album Awareness: "I Predict a Graceful Explusion" by Cold Specks

February 21, 2012

An interesting new talent is set to arise from the smoldering pathos of the Deep South.

Working within her own, unique genre of “doom soul,” Al Spx (a.k.a. Cold Specks) is a singer-songwriter from Etobicoke, Canada who currently hails from London.  Her album, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, is slated for a May 22nd launch.  Recently signed on to Mute, I Predict will bring her to SXSW this year in Austin, TX.  For a full list of tour dates, see below.

Interestingly enough (at least for lit enthusiasts), the artist’s moniker is derived from a line in Ulysses (James Joyce):

“Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil, lights shining in the darkness.”

Musically, Spx’s influences include Bill Callahan, Tom Waits, James Carr, and the Lomax Field Recordings.  There is, ergo, a deeply spiritual, albeit haunting drawl to her instrumentally restrained compositions, built atop “chain gang rhythms” that tempt patient listeners into re-imagining the Mythic South, which is fertile soil for the region’s poignant, controversial tropes and the demons of a bygone Confederate era.  And what a peculiar sound it is.  According to her manager, Jim Anderson, “[Spx] had never played with another musician and was completely self-taught with her own unique tuning and timings, which we had to decipher.”

To which Spx had this to say:

Jim convinced me to fly out and work on the record for a few months […] That was a year and a half ago. I guess I’m permanently based here now. I didn’t know anyone when I moved here. We needed musicians and Jim knew a bunch. Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey’s regular collaborator) has been helping out with some arrangements and percussion and Jim’s old friends Pete Roberts (guitar), Thomas Greene (piano) and Tom Havelock (cello) also play on the record.”

Of course, nothing testifies to a musician’s unique ear better than the music itself, right?  Be sure to check out the official music video for Cold Specks’ track, “Holland“, embedded below (directed by Olivier Groulx; produced by Kokomo Workshop):

Fellow District of Columbians, looks like Cold Specks’ touring dates also include the Rock and Roll Hotel on May 27th, so if you like what you saw and heard above, mark your calendars.


March 13th-18th – SXSW – Austin, TX

March 21st – Co-operators Hall at River Run – Guelph, ON

March 22nd – The Music Gallery – Toronto, ON

May 1st – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL

May 2nd – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI

May 3rd – Cedar Cultural Centre – Minneapolis, MN

May 4th – West End Cultural Centre – Winnipeg, MB

May 6th – McDougall United Church – Edmonton, AB

May 7th – Central United Church – Calgary, AB

May 8th – Southminster United Church – Lethbridge, AB

May 9th – The Royal – Nelson, BC

May 11th – The Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC

May 12th – Alix Goolden Hall – Victoria, BC

May 13th – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA

May 14th – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR

May 16th – The Independent – San Francisco, CA

May 18th – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA

May 19th – The Compound Grilll – Phoenix, AZ

May 20th – Club Congress – Tucson, AZ

May 22nd – The Prophet Bar – Dallas, TX

May 23rd – Stubb’s BBQ (Indoor) – Austin, TX

May 24th – One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA

May 25th – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA

May 26th – Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC

May 27th – Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC

May 28th – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA

May 30th – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY

May 31st – Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, MA

June 2nd – The Music Hall – Toronto, ON

News, quotes and dates via Sheryl Witlen at Mute

Featured image via Arts & Crafts

Second image via TheGuardian

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1 Comment

  • Reply Review // “I Predict A Graceful Expulsion” by Cold Specks « In Harsh Light May 17, 2012 at 3:42 am

    […] Canadian singer-songwriter Al Spx of Cold Specks would be profoundly dismayed to hear her music categorized alongside the likes of the late Amy […]

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