Yellow Ostrich

Yellow Ostrich – Cosmos [album review]

by Woody on February 26, 2014


In the lead up to Yellow Ostrich’s album, lead singer Alex Schaaf immersed himself in the studies of Carl Sagan and Frank Drake. During this time, drummer Michael Tapper spend countless hours looking at the stars on a sail from Mexico to Hawaii. I’d also have a guess that the boys listened to Local Natives during that time. Whatever the cause, Yellow Ostrich takes a lovely leap forward on Cosmos. The melodies hold more purpose and with that, my attention. The songs have wonderful sonic textures throughout, combining electronic elements with your traditional rock instruments. And lastly, Shaaf’s vocals are improved throughout the album.

All that comes from someone who really enjoyed their first two efforts. The punchy 90s indie guitar that made those efforts so enjoyable are still a central point but combined with the new flourishes, Cosmos is their best effort yet. Neon Fists is a delicate track with some nice harmonies. The crunchy guitars are eschewed for some delicate plucking and it comes off as a fantastic track. How Do You Do It is my favorite tune on the album. A song full of questions that you ask yourself while staring at the stars. You can imagine Schaaf coming up with the lyrics looking through a telescope. The swelling chorus is a treat and this should be a tasty number live.

So many other highlights throughout the album. Its always nice when bands you dig take a big ol’ leap forward. Gets you all excited to see them live and see what they’re going to pull off in the future. Based on this, the sky’s the limit for Yellow Ostrich.

Our full session with Yellow Ostrich is here.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Yellow Ostrich can be found here.


Yellow Ostrich annouce new album, Cosmos

by Woody on December 20, 2013


HearYa session alums, Yellow Ostrich, have a new album coming out on Feb. 25th. Barsuk is releasing it and it will be called Cosmos. Have a listen of the lead single, Shades, below. Here is some background on what they have been up to and how the album came to be titled Cosmos.

Before starting on songwriting for Yellow Ostrich’s latest album, singer/guitarist Alex Schaaf moved into the band’s Brooklyn practice space and immersed himself in the study of such astronomers as Carl Sagan and Frank Drake. Keeping up his day job of digitizing vintage home films by day, Schaaf devoted the next 9 months to exploring the depths of the galaxy from a tiny windowless room, whose lighting he synthetically altered to reflect the arrival and passing of daylight each morning and night. Around the same time, Yellow Ostrich drummer/percussionist Michael Tapper ventured into the infinite in a much more literal sense by departing on a sailing trip from Mexico to Hawaii that left him out at sea for nearly a month. Borrowing its title from Sagan’s 1980 PBS series, Cosmos expands Yellow Ostrich’s intensely guitar-driven alt-rock with dreamy electronic arrangements to mirror the mood of Schaaf and Tapper’s retreats away from the everyday world. While the album embodies a sense of both wonder and isolation, Yellow Ostrich’s refined melodies and dense yet delicate sonic textures make Cosmos as powerfully intimate as it is dynamic.

“Something I really like about the Carl Sagan way of thinking is how it’s a very un-ironic and sincere amazement at how the world works,” says Schaaf, who began Yellow Ostrich as a solo project at age 21. “One of the main things I was thinking about in writing this album is how to take that viewpoint and bring it into real-world life,” he adds. “It’s one thing to be reading all these books and watching all these movies in a very small room, or-as Michael did-to go out and live under the stars for a while. But trying to inject that pure amazement into day-to-day living in a big city is something completely different.”

Our full session can be found here.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Follow Yellow Ostrich here.


Yellow Ostrich, Session #109

by Woody on January 11, 2013

A couple of years back when Yellow Ostrich (aka Alex Schaaf) released his excellent debut, The Mistress, I read about how it was self recorded at his home using laptops, loops, etc.  When laptops enter the picture, I usually head for the door so I initially ignored Yellow Ostrich.

Fast forward a year or so later and Yellow Ostrich was preparing to release their second album, Strange Land. Alex Schaaf, now had two-full time bandmates in Jon Natchez and Michael Tapper and there was something about this album’s description that made me check out the first single, Marathon Runner. Thirty seconds into the track I realized I had make an enormous mistake. I immediately dusted off The Mistress in my iPod and listened to it on repeat. I was entranced.

During Lollapalooza this summer, we were lucky to have Yellow Ostrich pay us a visit on Sunday morning. I was exhausted and nursing a nasty hangover courtesy of the Devil Makes Three and Trampled by Turtles show from the night before. Yellow Ostrich’s rocking brand of 90s college rock was just the perfect antidote (along with two Advils and an Egg McMuffin) to get me back up and running.

Schaaf, Natchez and Tapper are an impressive trio live. Between their great set at Lolla (complete with a marriage engagement on stage) and their session, my appreciation for them has grown tenfold. Enjoy this session and go buy their music. And when they hit your town, go see them. You won’t be sorry.

Yellow Ostrich Band Introduction

Exclusive: Yellow Ostrich – Hold On

Exclusive: Yellow Ostrich – Elephant King

Exclusive: Yellow Ostrich – Stay At Home

Download the Yellow Ostrich session as a zip file.

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Yellow Ostrich – Ghost EP

by Woody on October 5, 2012

Caught this post on Facebook today and figured I would share it with all of our loyal readers. We’ve become quite smitten with Alex Schaaf and Yellow Ostrich this year and were lucky enough to get them in HearYa Worldwide HQ for a session, which will be coming out soon. In the meantime enjoy this new track off the upcoming EP and go see them in concert. They are killer.

hi everyone. for the past few months we’ve been working on a new release. it is made of 6 brand new songs and it is called Ghost. we have the first song from that release, also called “Ghost”, for your ears today. hope you enjoy.

the vinyl (special amazing limited edition, more info to come soon) and digital copies will be released on October 22. Pre-orders will start next week.

We are also going on a big headlining tour starting Oct. 26. Check out the “tour dates” tab for all the dates. we have big things planned for these shows. –alex

Yellow Ostrich – Ghost


Yellow Ostrich – Strange Land [Album Review]

March 7, 2012

“The Mistress was a guy in a bedroom,” says lead singer Alex Schaaf. “Strange Land is a band. In a slightly bigger room.” Considering I overlooked Alex’s debut project, I had little to go on when reading that statement. I first heard the single “Marathon Runner” off of their just released LP, Strange Land, and […]

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Yellow Ostrich’s Marathon Runner [new mp3, SXSW 2012]

January 23, 2012

Yellow Ostrich is set to release their sophomore album, Strange Land, on March 6th. This album should mark a step forward for the band. Their previous album, The Mistress, was self-produced and created by Alex Schaaf doing it all. He played every instrument on the album. Strange Land is also self-produced, but Schaaf is joined […]

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Yellow Ostrich – The Mistress [Album Review]

January 21, 2011

I recently connected with an old and very dear friend after what Ill call a two-year hiatus. Although our friendship was based on much more, our mutual passion for live and recorded music was always a cornerstone. So, it wasnt a tremendous surprise that our first conversation in years quickly turned to the albums and […]

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