Best of What's Next: Yellow Ostrich
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Album: The Mistress
Members: Alex Schaaf (everything, really), occasionally Michael Tapper (drums)
For Fans Of: The Deadly Syndrome, Black Bear, Half-Handed Cloud
Some ostriches may stick their heads in the ground, but Alex Schaaf has kept his noggin up in the thick of it, absorbing everything and pouring it into his constantly progressing musical endeavors. As Yellow Ostrich, Schaaf’s sprightly vocals soar over primitive percussion, jaunty guitar riffs and aptly-placed electronic interludes.
Schaaf, formerly of The Chairs, recently graduated from a small Wisconsin liberal arts school and relocated to NYC to better pursue his recent solo project—not that he was exactly being lazy in America’s Dairyland. Yellow Ostrich has released three EPs, one 7-inch and two full-lengths so far this year.
The latest full-length, The Mistress, dropped just last week and is available for pay-what-you will at his bandcamp. On it, he enlisted the help of additional musicians including Michael Tapper—marking his first go collaborating as Yellow Ostrich.
He met drummer Tapper of Bishop Allen when he opened for the group at a show at his university. The two kept in touch and eventually began working together, practicing in a small space in Brooklyn.
" … it’s basically a closet," Schaaf says. “We can just fit one full drum set I just cram in there with my guitar. We’re very intimate in there, so it’s a good way to get connected—quickly.”
Currently Schaaf hones focus on perfecting his live show in hopes of aligning a spring or summer tour. Up until CMJ, Yellow Ostrich had performed only twice. After last week, the count now totals to six.
Schaaf’s publicist Tom Williams set up a Kickstarter project to help score funding for The Mistress’ vinyl pressing. So far they’re about a third of the way to making that a reality, and Schaaf couldn’t be more stoked.
“It’d be great to get our stuff made physical because right now it’s all digital, which is nice—it obviously works pretty well to get it out there,” he says. “I’d really prefer to have something physical. That’s what we’re trying to do officially.”
Check out the video for “WHALE” from The Mistress and let all the sunny rhythms corkscrew through your brain (and yes, he does make that little whale noise with his mouth):