Black Xero

OX, or “O Cross,” has been Sacramento’s underground Zen lunatic minstrel for several years now, circulating his self-produced albums and performing solo at bars, coffee shops and art galleries like a man possessed. His recent release is an incredible album of songs, dark and obsessive in tone, using the simple elements of voice, guitar, cheap retro keyboard and drum machine. The sound is gritty and lo-fi, but the music is transcendent; these desperate songs tear through the static. You’ll have to break out the tape player to listen to them—Black Xero is a cassette-only release—but it’s worth it. “I Am A Lonely Soul” and other cathartic songs make this a genuinely emotional recording without the ironic navel-gazing so common to music deemed “emo.” OX still may be Sacramento’s best-kept secret.