Recommended by Dave Segal
It’s surprising that “doom soul” singer/songwriter/guitarist Cold Specks isn’t playing a bigger venue on this tour. Hearing her 2012 debut album, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, I expected her to rocket to mid-level stardom; shouldn’t she be packing the Showbox by now? (She did play Joni Mitchell’s 70th birthday party last year—cred!) But three years later, this Canadian anti-diva is back at Barboza, supporting their Mute Records LP Neuroplasticity. The spare, melancholy yet redemptive folk-pop she explored on Expulsion has been replaced with a fuller, more bombastic approach on the new one. The gloom has partially lifted, but Cold Specks hasn’t gone all happy and shiny on Neuroplasticity—not with Swans’ Michael Gira guesting on “Exit Plan,” she hasn’t. The newer songs—co-arranged by Jim Anderson—bear a dignified orchestral-rock ebb and flow, with Cold Specks’ voice soaring to new heights of emotive resonance. Don’t be shocked if you see her opening for Nick Cave in the near future.