In a world of big record corporations feeding untold amounts of money into manufactured tripe & then expecting these artists to make millions from physical /digital sales in a short space of time just to make a fast buck is it any wonder that the youth of today are turning to the unsigned underground artist & using their hard earned cash to collect decent musical soundscapes on various platforms hence supporting the independent scene we know and love today. I for one try my hardest to stay away from the mainstream artist in favour of the underground independently based bands because I am a firm believer that it is here that the future of music (as we know it) will reside & not in the pocket of the major labels. One such band have stolen my heart over the past 14 months & continue to stay true to the unsigned & independent mantra & also staying relevant, in the shadows, refined & cool while others flaunt their notoriety by hanging around the cool band pages on various social media sites flogging their music to anyone who will listen to them. Californian based ‘Cross Tabou’ is the brainchild of two of the best emerging underground artists to ever have graced the modern day independent scene. ‘Sofia Vondell’ & the brilliant ‘Horizontal Halfspear’ burst onto the scene back in 2014 with their self released debut EP and haven’t looked back since. Creating sonically astute soundscapes is second nature to both of these artists and it shows on their latest 6 track release entitled – ‘Palace Of Rare Objects’.
The EP opens up with that typical ‘Cross Tabou’infectious sequenced drumbeat suffocated with reverb infused guitar patterns & intertwined with psychedelic pulses.Sofia Vondell is a breath of fresh air and never fails to deliver a hauntingly beautiful vocal arrangement that floats on a wave of effected reverb. ‘Flowers’is simply divine & turns the key on another brilliantly executed EP from this San Jose based duo. Check it out:
Track 2 is an 80’s inspired masterpiece with its processed beats & synth progressions swirling around a ethereal vocal from Sofia. The synth swells are infectious & cut through the steady beat with ease. ‘Purple Light’ is a great track but it ends too soon! I was expecting the traditional ‘Cross Tabou’ reverb laden guitar to scream into the track but alas, it was not to be. Enjoy!
Two Minutes & Twenty Six seconds of headphone candy graces us with the third track on this brand new release from Californian based duo ‘Cross Tabou’. I love the way this band are not afraid to experiment with sound. This a little slice of psychedelic magic that caresses your eardrums with its brilliance. Do yourselves a favour and pop on some cans lie back, find your inner spirit & listen to ‘Fountain Of Coloured Light’. You will thank me after!
With an intro reminiscent of Leftfield, the pulsating ‘View From The Palace’ explodes onto the musical canvass! I don’t know why but this track reminds me of early LCD Soundsystem? It has a modern day New York underground electronic sound but with a Cali twist. Sofia delivers another blistering post-punk esque’ vocal take & the psychedelic swells bring this beast to life half way through! This is truly amazing and I know for sure that most radio DJ’s will play this as the lead track. Check it out:
We’re treated to another psychedelic instrumental on on track 6 – ‘Ghosts’. Again I have to stress how in awe I am at the way in which this duo can cross genre’s with their music. This is an ambient monolith with peaks of haunting vocal swirls gracing the sound waves at various points along the track. Another reason to don the rather expensive headphones.
The closing track on this stunning 6 track release from ‘Cross Tabou’ is sensational. A hazy subliminal drum beat lightly caresses the monster guitar line & Sofia Vondell’s vocal arrangement takes this track to a sleazy downtown biker club where sweat drips from the walls & broken beer bottles are strewn across the floor. There is a menace in every note of this immense track. ‘Cross Tabou’ are telling us something through the medium of sound!‘Shadows’ is short as closing tracks go but it packs a punch all the same. Check it out:
‘Cross Tabou’ are not afraid to show their abilities as songwriters. They are not afraid to grab hold of their influences & twist them into a new sound. Their ability to craft psychedelic soundscapes is evident in this release but they can also turn it on its head and introduce electronic vibes when the need occurs. This is a new animal for the underground scene to sink their teeth into because this duo are writing music for themselves. They are not flying their flag on any one particular genre of music. They will not be pigeon holed into a particular scene either. This isn’t a genre of music you will be familiar with per say! This is why I love them as a band and after listening to this release I know you will too.
Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave, but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. His other arm – Primal Radio – has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.