A performance by Toronto-based musician Cold Specks is sure to be one of the highlights of this weekend’s seventh annual Love & Records festival, presented by CKXU radio.
An intriguing singer-songwriter whose music blends gothic darkness with gospel and soul, Cold Specks (real name Ladan Hussein) has been making waves on the Canadian music landscape since her debut album dropped in 2012. That release, called I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, was a nominee for the esteemed Polaris Music Prize. It was acclaimed for its spectral sound and was described as being a “gorgeous and gloomy collection” by Exclaim! Magazine.
Cold Specks released a sophomore follow-up album called Neuroplasticity in 2014, which added horns, organs, and loud booming drums into the mix. A slow-burning work of darkness and passion, Neuroplasticity saw Cold Specks thrust into the spotlight again, as it was nominated once again for that Polaris Prize in 2015.
Somehow, this unique artist manages to blend blues, rock, and soul music together with hypnotizing results. The daughter of Somalian refugee parents who raised seven children, Cold Specks’ albums are deeply embedded with lyrical struggles related to religion and family, racism and illness, depression and tender romance.
She has previously described her own music as being “doom soul.” Her songs may seem dark and lonely at first, but repeat listens reveal depth and layers that are uncommon in the modern “single-driven” music world.
The last time Cold Specks played Lethbridge was in May, 2012, when she opened for the Great Lake Swimmers at Southminster United Church. Her performance was intimate and powerful, and created many new loyal Lethbridge fans.
Five years later, a third full-length album called Fool’s Paradise is about to be released on September 22, 2017, and attendees at Love & Records festival in Galt Gardens are likely to hear a selection of the new material in her live set. If her past albums are any indication, the new release is likely to be just as beautiful and haunting as those previous efforts.
In support of her new album, she is about to set off on a three-month tour, including long stints in Europe and the U.S.A. But before she does, be sure to catch her performance on Saturday, September 16, at Love & Records. It’s a free all-day event filled with music and new memories, and catching Cold Specks playing live is sure to be one of them.