Listen: Cold Specks’ new songs “Old Knives” and “A Broken Memory”


On August 26th, Canadian singer-songwriter Al Spx, aka Cold Specks, will release her sophomore album, Neuroplasticity. The follow-up to 2012’s I Predict a Graceful Expulsion is the product of a three-month writing session at a cottage in the UK followed by recording stints at Montreal’s Hotel2Tango and Toronto’s Revolution Recordings studios with producer Jim Anderson (Blur, Depeche).

The album features collaborations from Swans’ Michael Gira and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and includes the previously shared singles “Absisto” and “Bodies at Bay”. Today, Spx returns with two more album tracks: “Old Knives” and “A Broken Memory”.

For most of “Old Knives”, atmospheric, reverbed-out guitars and a propulsive drum serve as the driving forces. Spx’s soulful voice effectively weighs down the arrangement, keeping it glued within her stunning croon. It isn’t until the composition comes crashing down and Akinmusire unfurls a chilling trumpet solo that the song truly generates a sense of disquiet.

On album opener “A Broken Memory”, things continue to veer into ominous territory. The song trudges along with Akinmusire’s screaming trumpet, a brooding organ, and Spx singing lines like “All is wrong, nothing is right.” Spx’s music has often been described as “doom soul,” a sometimes bewildering description that perfectly encapsulates this dark and foreboding piece.

Listen to both tracks below (via Spex and The 405, respectively):

“Old Knives”:

“A Broken Memory”:

Neuroplasticity Tracklist:
01. A Broken Memory
02. Bodies at Bay
03. Old Knives
04. A Quiet Chill
05. Exit Plan
06. Let Loose The Dogs
07. Absisto
08. Living Signs
09. A Formal Invitation
10. A Season Of Doubt