Posts Tagged ‘ alex schaaf ’

Yellow Ostrich: December 8, 2014 Glasslands – FLAC/MP3/Streaming FINAL SHOW!!

December 15, 2014

[photos courtesy of David Andrako for BrooklynVegan]

“How do you start when you know it’s gonna end?” Alex Schaaf asks on Yellow Ostrich‘s “How Do You Do It?”. The same could be asked of anyone starting a rock band these days. Or for that matter, a music venue. Yellow Ostrich came onto the scene full of promise, and throughout their five years, they mostly lived up to it, as their popularity soared and the density and complexity of their songs followed. Like a lot of bands these days, this one began as Schaaf’s bedroom project, only growing into a formidable live act after the fact. The first time I saw Yellow Ostrich perform, at Mercury Lounge in 2011, Schaaf was fighting with his vocal loops on “Whale”, putting on a hell of a performance despite the glitch on his first song. Back then, the band had other dates happening at places like Shea Stadium and Piano’s. A year later, they were playing Bowery Ballroom, a confident full band at the top of their game.

But isn’t it painful, in the end, to put forth so much effort, to pour so much of your soul into something, when you know that in all likelihood, a half-decade worth of a run is all you’ll get if you’re lucky? Making music requires so much giving of yourself, it’s hard sometimes to imagine how it can be worth it. You give and give and give, and at best you get a few syncs, a few streams, and hopefully a full house some nights. When things end, chances are that memories will be short. If you matter, in the long run, to a handful of people, you’re lucky.

But if Schaaf and his band felt any melancholy about Yellow Ostrich’s passing, they didn’t show it. It felt right for the band to close things out on the stage at Glasslands, which itself will be no more as of the end of this year. The band will end on a high note, the more confident Cosmos, which pushed their limits while retaining the essential tunefulness of the melodies and intensely personal bent of Schaaf’s words. Tonight the band was on from start to finish, Schaaf bounding across the stage as songs took on added flourishes of guitar and a little something extra in the vocals. This isn’t the same band that started it all, when Jon Natchez joined up to make it a fully-realized creature, but it’s a very good one, equally loyal to Cosmos tunes like “Terrors” and “Things Are Fallin'” as to old greats from The Mistress like “Whale” and the set’s closer, a searing, extra-long “Mary”. While the whole set is streaming below, I wanted to emphasize “Whale”, which has grown so much from that first version I saw played at Mercury. To me this first song on The Mistress is the essential Yellow Ostrich song, and in the three evolving versions I’ve recorded, you capture the band’s story in miniature. The song has always been catchy, but only this time, the entire crowd sang along.

Those of us who spent much if any time in the music scene just across the East River have found much to mourn this season, saying goodbye not only to institutions like Glasslands and DBA but to longtime bands and friends as well. While a moment has ended, this can only be looked at as torch passed. New York has never been the place for those who don’t like change; change is the essential part of its character as a city in almost every way. For his part, Schaaf isn’t going anywhere — he’s already got a new project, Human Heat, with an EP to its credit. I grinned as the band played The Mistress’ “Hate Me Soon”. The truth is, Yellow Ostrich didn’t stick around long enough to give us a chance to. And most times, that’s just the right way to go.

I recorded this set with our installed Glasslands system, Naiant X-R cardiod microphones and a soundboard feed by the band’s FOH Keith Milgaten. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream “Whale”

Stream the complete show

Yellow Ostrich
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard (engineer: Keith Milgaten) + Naiant X-R>Roland R-26>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (compression, alignment, mixdown, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (light EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (tracking, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:08:35]
01 Fog
02 Shades
03 Hold On
04 [banter1]
05 Neon Fists
06 How Do You Do It
07 Elephant King
08 My Moons
09 Whale
10 Ghost
11 Any Wonder
12 [banter2]
13 Things Are Fallin’
14 Marathon Runner
15 [banter3]
16 Hate Me Soon
17 Mary

If you enjoyed this recording, please support Yellow Ostrich, visit their website, and buy their records from their online store.


Yellow Ostrich: April 12, 2012 Mercury Lounge – FLAC and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Songs

April 16, 2012

[Photos by acidjack]

Yellow Ostrich was the first band I saw last year, at this same venue (Mercury Lounge). Back then, the band consisted of creative mastermind and frontman Alex Schaaf and drummer Michael Tapper, working hard to produce an on-stage re-recreation of the simple magic of the band’s then-current release, The Mistress. That record was one of those indie gems you might miss if you didn’t pay attention to the CMJ showcase circuit and the right blogs; it was a lo-fi, low-profile recording offered on Schaaf’s bandcamp page for free, and it was as simple and unadorned as a record could get. That sold-out show found Schaaf still finding his footing creatively and and as a performer; he was still a bit raw, but already compelling.

Much has changed since then.

The Mistress and its stellar reviews attracted wider notice, as good records tend to, and Schaaf signed to the Northwest imprint Barsuk Records, who obligingly remastered and re-released The Mistress, along with bankrolling the band’s new release of last month, Strange Land. Since that Mercury Lounge show last January, Schaaf has performed around the country in front of hundreds of audiences, and the band has added a critical third member, Jon Natchez, who has played with Beirut, Camera Obscura, Okkervil River, and The Antlers. What was once your favorite little indie bedroom project has grown into a full-fledged rock band with the songs to prove it.

This sold-out Mercury Lounge show was a valedictory one for the band, coming on the heels of a U.S. tour that took them to all corners of the country, not to mention its great middle (Wisconsin is where Schaaf calls home, and they have a serious following in flyover country). Not only are the standout tracks on Strange Land like “Marathon Runner” and “I Got No Time For You” already in top form, but older tracks like the quirky “WHALE” that first drew me to the band have been reworked with more layers of sound. Schaaf’s sweet, somewhat nasal voice and quirky songcraft have always recalled, for me, innovators like John Darnielle and Jeff Mangum. Schaaf, like Darnielle, has found a way to embrace a full-bodied, at-times-lush rock sound without losing the qualities of his music that make it unique. It’s appropriate, then, that he closed the set with one of the simplest and most plaintive tracks off of The Mistress, “Mary”. Even with all his new musical toys, Schaaf can be a pretty damn compelling performer without them.

I recorded this set in the same manner as I recorded Yellow Ostrich last year, with Schoeps MK41 microphones and a perfect soundboard feed from the Mercury Lounge head FOH. The sound quality, as with the last recording, is outstanding.  Enjoy!

Check out Yellow Ostrich on tour this summer with Los Campesinos! and at several festivals (including Lollapalooza).  Their next NYC dates are June 21 at Maxwell’s, June 22 at Le Poisson Rouge and June 23 at Brooklyn Bowl, each with Los Campesinos!  Thanks to the band for their support of NYCTaper.

Stream “Marathon Runner”

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Stream “Heaven [The Talking Heads]”

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Direct download of MP3 files [HERE] | Direct download of FLAC files [HERE]

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Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense.  The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Yellow Ostrich
Mercury Lounge
New York, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard + Schoeps MK41 (ROC, PAS, 8ft)>CMC6>Aerco MP-2>>Edirol R-44 [Oade Concert Mod]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Audacity (patch 25sec of one channel)>Adobe Audition CS 5.5(mixdown, EQ)>Audacity (set fades, tracking, amplify and balance, downsample)>FLAC Level 8

02 Up in the Mountains
03 I Got No Time For You
04 Hold On
05 Daughter
06 Campaign
07 Wear Suits
08 [banter]
09 Marathon Runner
10 Elephant King
11 The Shakedown
12 [encore break]
13 Heaven [Talking Heads]
14 Mary

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Yellow Ostrich, visit their website, see them on tour with Los Campesinos! and at the other festivals they’re playing this summer, and purchase Strange Land and The Mistress directly from Barsuk [HERE].

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