Live in the Studio: Cold Specks

Interview + Performance

Friday, November 16, 2012

When the Canadian singer-songwriter who performs as Al Spx had to categorize her music, she made up a new genre: “doom soul/gothic gospel.” It was a joke, but it stuck, because it’s not really inaccurate. Her songs are decidedly dark, but themes of loss and hardship are balanced by hopeful lyrics and uplifting harmonies. Cold Specks, the band she put together, released its debut album I Predict a Graceful Expulsion earlier this year.

Spx wrote the album’s songs alone in Toronto and admits she was reticent to share them. “It was this incredibly daunting experience,” she tells Kurt Andersen. “I didn’t know the people playing on the record very well, I didn’t know my songs very well — there were a lot of unknowns.”

The recording process gave Spx the confidence to hit the road with her band, but she still finds comfort in her pseudonym. “I think the artist is a separate individual from the person,” she says. “It wasn’t until I embraced the Al Spx persona on stage that I was able to play these songs.”

Cold Specks performs “Send Your Youth,” “Elephant Head,” and “Blank Maps” live in the studio.

    Music Playlist
  1. Winter Solstice
    Artist: Cold Specks
    Album: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
    Label: Mute Artists
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. Hector
    Artist: Cold Specks
    Album: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
    Label: Mute Artists
    Purchase: Amazon
  3. Heavy Hands
    Artist: Cold Specks
    Album: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
    Label: Mute Artists
    Purchase: Amazon
  4. Holland
    Artist: Cold Specks
    Album: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
    Label: Mute Artists
    Purchase: Amazon
  5. Send Your Youth
    Artist: Cold Specks
    Album: LIVE in Studio 360
  6. Elephant Head
    Artist: Cold Specks
    Album: LIVE in Studio 360
  7. Blank Maps
    Artist: Cold Specks
    Album: LIVE in Studio 360

Guests:

Cold Specks

Produced by:

Sean Rameswaram

Comments [6]

Christopher Beeson from Tucson, AZ

Beautiful and moving.

Nov. 21 2012 11:35 AM
Jesse from 11211

It sounds like Arcade Fire/Adele. Boring, bad music. When a musician "makes up their own genre," they are wasting their time on marketing when they should be working on bettering their poor singing voices and bad poetry. This music should be relegated to Starbucks.

Nov. 20 2012 03:10 PM
Thom story from SF Ca

Truly wonderful! Just saw her/ them in SF. GREAT SHOW!

Nov. 20 2012 02:13 AM
shockingguy from Cleveland, Ohio

@Steve Davis, until I see your wife on stage somewhere I'll stick with artists like Al Spx, and remember the old adage, if you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all. This is entertainment not politics, war or religion, those you can complain about, but not music or art, they are for stimulation and self examination, for growth and experience. You didn't elect Cold Specks, you chose to listen, you elected your mayor, if he messes up then you can chastise him, but remember you did vote for him. As for your radio you chose to listen to Studio 360, and you are listening to one persons view of music or whatever, change the channel, don't go back to that restaurant, most people go out or listen to divergent thoughts to expand their mind, not to find fault in the choice they made.
So next time you hear something you don't like that you chose or ate out at some cafe or saw in a movie or at a museum, remember, no one to blame but your own self, you took your self there, and there you are.

Nov. 18 2012 06:21 PM
Steve Davis from York, Pennsylvania

Great show, but sorry, her voice is grating and off key. The supporting music is uninteresting. Who picks this music? My wife is a better singer & songwriter.

Nov. 17 2012 04:08 PM
Raymond Bey from New Jersey

Simply beautiful music

Nov. 17 2012 07:31 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.