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 last 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 says. “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” for Studio 360.