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Four things we loved about Cold Specks at Johnny Brenda’s

Singer Cold Specks
Photograph: Chris Sikich

The intimate soul-rock of Cold Specks is as unique as it is powerful. Playing to a small, devoted Johnny Brenda’s audience on Wednesday, the London-based “doom soul” songstress also known as Ladan Hussein performed a set that was mesmerizingly strange and deeply personal.

1. Hussein’s voice is magic

London-based singer Cold Specks

Hussein gives Cold Specks a rich vocal tapestry that tells a story of the longing and despair connected to the migration of her parents from Somalia to Toronto, Canada.

2. Her song content is unique and moving

London-based singer Cold Specks

“Hector” cuts deep with a haunting decapitation theme, and Hussein closed the night with a guitar-driven solo performance of “Elephant Head,” a powerful song about acceptance and rejection.

3. The darkness

London-based singer Cold Specks

Early in the set Hussein asked that the lights be turned down so she, her bandmates and the crowd could be bathed in darkness. The deep blues and the stunning shafts of light that poured into view throughout highlighted the ying and yang of despair and hope in her lyrics. The visual and aural were in perfect harmony.

4. LA timpa entranced the early comers

La timpa

Canadian-based and Nigerian-born LA timpa constructed thick soundscapes with his mixing board and voice. The work was woven together as one quilt of brilliant and baffling sound with its mysteries beckoning the crowd to want to listen beyond the short and awesome set.

LA timpa
LA timpa
Singer Cold Specks
Singer Cold Specks
Singer Cold Specks
Singer Cold Specks
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