Posts Tagged ‘ yellow ostrich ’

NYCTaper Top 25 Moments of 2014

December 31, 2014
By

taper-larger

Here is our annual compilation of the 25 best “moments” of the entire year from our site to you. Its been another banner year at NYCTaper. We’ve managed to record and post nearly one show per day for the entire year and sometimes even more than one. Its a level of consistency for which we’ve striven for years and as the NYCTaper “team” has grown so has our ability to reach our goals. All of this would not be possible were it not for the bands — hundreds of amazingly talented artists who not only perform superb concerts but allow us to bring recordings of them to you, their fans. Thanks also of course to the venues who allow us to come into their locations and do what we do, the labels, managers, PR persons, photographers, fellow bloggers and countless other people whose assistance and cooperation help make this “NYCTaper” thing happen. Here’s to many more great years!

1. Jason Molina Tribute (mems. of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. w/ special guests) – January 11, 2014, Hideout, Chicago, IL

acidjack: For me, the most thrilling, moving concert moment came early in the year, and in another city, no less. Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger guested with Magnolia Electric Co. on four special tribute shows around the country, including this one, but it was in Chicago that the majority of Molina’s former bands and supporters coalesced into an evolving unit that traded and vocalists and instrumentalists by the song. As I put it then:

The crowd’s largest response came to perhaps Molina’s best-known song (and inarguably one of his best), “Farewell Transmission”. In that song, Molina sings that the real truth about it is that no one gets it right, but we’re all supposed to try. Well, if Jason could have heard his former bandmates and friends on this night, I think he would agree that they got it right. And they proved another piece of truth from that great song, that he will be gone, but not forever. Because the real truth about it is, a great artist like Jason Molina doesn’t die, he just changes shape. In our hearts and minds, he is forever.

2. Wussy: October 11, 2014 Private House Larchmont NY

nyctaper: Lisa Walker’s voice is one of the most compelling in all of contemporary americana music in large part because as a person she’s real and unpretentious. Its a voice that can capture the longing and heartache of a beautifully sad song such as Lisa’s penned “Motorcycle”. The experience of watching the performance of that song from about ten feet away in a private house concert was moving and is undoubtedly my single “moment” of this year.

3. Hiss Golden Messenger – March 2, 2014 Mercury Lounge and September 18, 2014 Rough Trade

acidjack: Mike Taylor, aka Hiss Golden Messenger, broke in a big way in 2014, one of the most deserving artists in all the land to do so. In early 2014 Mike still toured alone, able to afford to do little more than sling a guitar over his back. By the time he hit Rough Trade in September, he had a record out on Durham, NC stalwart Merge, and a backing band replete with new and old collaborators. Not long after that, he and his new band were on Letterman. These two shows pretty much tell the story in miniature, of a band transformed, but an artist whose honesty and craft remain steadfast.

4. The War On Drugs – March 19 and March 20, 2014 Bowery Ballroom.

acidjack: We’ll probably have similar takes on this show, so I won’t waste words, but suffice it to say that Lost In the Dream was the album of the year, and this show, complete with a cover of John Lennon’s “Mind Games”, showed any doubters that the album’s greatness wasn’t just in the painstaking production.

nyctaper: At the time it was released, I called “Eyes To The Wind” a perfect song and I still believe that nearly a year later. It was the highlight of this show for me and will be a track to which I return for years.

5. Woods: November 6, 2014 Death By Audio

nyctaper: 2014 was also a year to say goodbye to some places that meant a lot to NYCTaper over the years. Death By Audio was one of those venues and our last show at the venue was a special one. We’ve attended many Woods shows, and invariably the song that is often the centerpiece of the night is “Bend Beyond” — a terrific song that also offers the band a chance to stretch out and improvise. At this DBA show, Woods was reunited for one night with former member G. Lucas Crane whose preceding set transitioned into a Woods jam that evolved into this song. It was a fairly dramatic moment and was musically right there. A definitely highlight of the year.

6. Ryley Walker – September 6, 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival, Raleigh, NC and October 24, 2014 Rough Trade

acidjack: Ryley Walker seems poised for a similar trajectory to Hiss Golden Messenger — he’s an incinerating songwriter whose ability to make an emotional connection should bring him to many larger places. In a bit of a reverse of this year’s HGM experience, I saw Walker for the first time at Hopscotch Music Festival, backed by a full band on the broad stage of the Fletcher Opera Theater. A little over a month later, he was back on the road in his natural state, a man with his guitar (with upright bassist in tow for a few songs before he left for another gig). In my book, this “Summer Dress” from Rough Trade during CMJ blows away the full-band version — and that’s saying something.

7. Nicole Atkins: June 18, 2014 Madison Square Park

nyctaper: She put out one of the best records of the year, Slow Phaser, and by the time she and her new band returned to NYC, Nicole Atkins had found her live groove. This show at Madison Square Park was a strange one, with families on blankets, roaming kids, and what seemed like a never ending parade of police sirens. But for this one magical song, “Its Only Chemistry”, Nicole Atkins was the brightest light in this huge city park.

8. The Coup – March 13, 2014 South By Southwest

acidjack: Despite that SXSW has outstayed both its literal and cultural welcome, this day show, put on by our friend Steve, hearkened back to what it ought to be about. The bill had huge range, free tacos and beer were to be had, and people were there for music, not scenemaking. Boots Riley and his crew of left-leaning, hard-swinging, hip-shaking funk geniuses stormed the joint and never looked back.

9. Smashing Pumpkins: December 8, 2014 Webster Hall

nyctaper: A Smashing Pumpkins concert at a venue the size of Webster Hall is a special event in and of itself. But this year has been a productive one for Billy Corgan and his band. Their new album is Monuments to an Elegy is really quite excellent and the new touring band is a superb collection of pros. But the most memorable moment from this show for me was the finale — “Burnt Orange-Black” a powerful dirge that will appear on next year’s album. Its already a stunner and one of the best new songs we heard all year.

10. The Growlers: September 18, 2014 Bowery Ballroom

nyctaper: This show was fairly epic at two hours and it included nearly thirty distinct songs. But the highlight was the truly surreal mid-show appearance of two huge Chinese New Year’s styled dragons and a drum parade that entered through the back of the Bowery and worked through the packed crowd to the stage. The parade drumming transitioned into the titled track from The Growlers excellent new album Chinese Fountain, in what was an odd but very memorable moment.

11. Marah: July 12, 2014 Bowery Electric

nyctaper: A band with a ten year old prodigy that plays fiddle like a man five times his age would have to be a yearly highlight, but really Marah is much more than that. This show at Bowery Electric was a revelation and this performance of an old Marah song (when it was a completely different band) was one of the best things we saw all year particularly the sweet fiddle solo by Gus Tritsch and that moment when band leader David Bielanko realized in his mid-song monologue just exactly how special this band has become.

12. Yellow Ostrich – December 8, 2014 Glasslands

acidjack: This was one of those end-of-an-era shows in two ways — both the last by a beloved band, and in the final month of a venue where I spent a lot of time, Glasslands. We were sorry to see Yellow Ostrich go, but we’re glad they didn’t overstay their welcome. Alex Schaaf and his band exited at the top of their game, and we were honored to be part of it.

13. Dream Syndicate: November 16, 2014 Rough Trade

nyctaper: We’ve chronicled the solo career of Steve Wynn pretty regularly on this site, but I had personally not seen The Dream Syndicate in more than thirty years. The band’s reunion finally made it to NYC this Fall and it was certainly worth the wait. The last time I saw them, Dream Syndicate opened with “Tell Me When Its Over” and this past month it was the second song of the set and just as sweet.

14. Tweedy – June 7, 2014 Mountain Jam, Hunter, NY

acidjack: I had minimal hopes for this father-son band; nothing about nepotism tends to go well. But the Tweedy team proved doubters totally wrong, with a record that, if anything, exceeded Wilco’s recent output. The “band” debuted their entire new album for us on the Mountain Jam stage. Even if everyone wasn’t paying attention during that mid-afternoon set, the ones that mattered were.

15. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: October 13, 2014 Baby’s All Right

nyctaper: When I hear music scene veterans claim that there’s just nothing new that exciting, I happily point to bands like King Gizzard. The band came all the way from Australia to perform some shows this Summer, and we caught one of those shows, but it wasn’t until this night at Baby’s All Right that the lure of the Gizz fully clicked for us. A youthful and energetic take on neo-psych, this band’s new album is extraordinarily good and for this night at Baby’s they opened the show with the five-song segue that opens the album — after which there was a lot of affirmative head-shaking in the crowd. The Gizz had arrived and we can’t wait until they grace our shores again.

16. Three Lobed / WXDU Day Show – September 5, 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival

acidjack: I might as well just put this on my list for every year — this showcase, jointly produced by Three Lobed Recordings and the Durham, NC radio station WXDU, produces the most consistently incredible lineup of challenging music that I see. This year’s lineup boasted The Little Black Egg Big Band (featuring Steve Gunn, William Tyler and members of Yo La Tengo), MV & EE, Rose Cross North Carolina, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Thurston Moore/Mary Lattimore/Ryan Sawyer, and Daniel Bachman/Nathaniel Bowles. Beyond the quality of the music, the show always brings its own special crowd, the die-hards and the heads whose lack of strength is numbers is more than made up for in passion.

17. Yo La Tengo: December 6, 2014 Trocadero Philly

nyctaper: I traveled to Philly to catch my only Yo La Tengo show this year, and of course it was infinitely worth it. But what separated this show from the “standard” YLT show was the ferocious and simply awe-inspiring version of “Story” that closed the set. The guitar-crushing noise jam that concludes the song stretched the entire number to twenty-two minutes and elevated this to epic proportions. The was the band’s last show of their 30th anniversary tour and they ended it in very appropriate fashion.

18. Steve Gunn – October 12, 2014 Rough Trade

acidjack: Steve Gunn’s name always comes up among the biggest names in current American guitar music. What he accomplished with this year’s “Wildwood” took him beyond those confines, as the wider world began to view him as equal in his songwriting to what he had been recognized for on the guitar. This show at Rough Trade put that all on display, as Gunn and his band didn’t let a grueling slog up the East Coast keep them from giving a signature performance.

19. The Kickback: June 10, 2014 Pianos

nyctaper: There are very few times when I can confess to literally gasping at a live performance. The Kickback came to town for the New Music Festival and Jeff from the Syndicate recommended that I check them out. The band was quite good but it was the last number of their set that took this show to entire other level. Billy Yost’s intensity during “Rob Our House” was as breathtaking as it was simply pure rock excellence. Based on this show we invited the band to play our CMJ show where they again played one of the best sets we saw all year.

20. Strand of Oaks – December 4, 2014 Bowery Ballroom

acidjack: Tim Showalter is one of those almost comically earnest musicians, a man whose heart is as big as his sound. Strand of Oaks isn’t a new band, but it might as well be, given how meteoric Showalter’s rise has been this year. He started the year at Mercury Lounge and ended it at Bowery Ballroom, and the ceiling is far from there. Strand of Oaks has that mainstream approachability and big tent emotion that serves rock colossuses like U2 so well, but Showalter actually believes what’s coming out of his mouth.

21. PUP: February 21, 2014 Cameo Gallery

nyctaper: A long time ago, I was suspended for a week from the college radio station where I worked for playing the Dead Kennedys’ “Too Drunk To Fuck” on the air. Given the times and my position, it was a fair cop. I’m happy to still be around when the song is now a quaint old punk novelty and can be played by a band with a sense of humor and a sense of history with no repercussions whatsoever. PUP’s performance gave me a big smile to cap off an excellent night.

22. Spacin’/Purling Hiss – September 5, 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival

acidjack: Two of our favorite Philly bands formed an impromptu whole to replace someone I’ve already forgotten about on the end of this bill. While Mark Kozelek was being a dick over in the Lincoln Theatre on this night, those in the know caught this juggernaut (joined, just for good measure, by Steve Gunn and Mary Lattimore on the last song) playing real rock n’ roll that no crowd noise could keep down.

23. Hurray For The Riff Raff: July 26, 2014 XPonential Fest

nyctaper: acidjack and I went down to Camden for the Saturday of XPonential Fest and it was one of the best days we had all year. Its a great event and we’re hoping to do multiple days of XPN’s Fest in 2015. One of the reasons we made the trip was to see NYCTaper faves Hurray For The Riff Raff. The band continues to grow in stature and its fun to follow their ascent. “The Body Electric” is a song Alynda wrote as an “anti” murder ballad — the shaming of the idea that in traditional folk songs the protagonist is always the man killing a woman. The song was particularly poignant in a year when domestic violence was in the forefront of the news. The song’s powerful message earned it significant media attention including year end awards from the likes of NPR.

24. Herbcraft – January 24, 2014 Mercury Lounge

acidjack: I had no idea who Herbcraft even were when I arrived at this show, and barely got my recording equipment set up in time. They weren’t even the headliner. But what came next was no afterthought — this Woodsist band owned the stage, proving the real power of live music to expose you to new music in a way that clicking around on Spotify will never be able to top. Perhaps most notably, this post got several comments from people who felt the same way — that they couldn’t believe this band had slipped underneath their radar.

25. Dva – January 9, 2014 Trans Pecos

nyctaper: I attended this concert on the recommendation of Adam from Northern Spy and I’ll admit that I had no idea what to expect. At the end of the event, I was thanking Adam for inviting me because Dva is an amazing act and their live show has to be seen to be truly experienced. “Mulatu” was the first single from this Czech duo’s first US release and it encapsulates everything that’s great and interesting about Dva.

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

December 15, 2014
By


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[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
2014-12-08
Glasslands
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
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.

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

April 16, 2012
By


[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
2012-04-12
Mercury Lounge
New York, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
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

Tracks
01 WHALE
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].

Yellow Ostrich: January 4, 2011 Mercury Lounge – FLAC and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Songs

January 6, 2011
By


[Photos by the always excellent David Andrako]

This is my first recording of 2011, and I am pleased to say that Yellow Ostrich is officially my first great find for the year. I first heard of the band when they appeared on the bill for our friends at FREEWilliamsburg‘s CMJ show, and although I missed that show, Yellow Ostrich was highest on the list of bands I needed to see. After a somewhat uneven slate of opening acts, vocalist/guitarist Alex Schaaf and drummer Michael Tapper took the stage to a packed Mercury Lounge. Schaaf is a gifted vocalist with a sweet and somewhat nasal voice; in his delivery I hear a bit of a young Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel. The set opener, “Whale” was a whimsical and instantly catchy treat that started things off strong (if you hear a slight discontinuity in the track, it is because we removed a few seconds of computer glitch). But other than “Whale,” I actually preferred some of the band’s slightly less poppy, more angular numbers – the older song “Fog”, in particular, and the set’s closer, “Mary.” Most of the set focused on the band’s latest record, The Mistress, which is available, along with all of the band’s catalog, on their bandcamp page on a “pay what you will” basis, and can be pre-ordered on vinyl from Afternoon Records here. We expect more great things from this young band in 2011, and their year has already had a fantastic beginning, with them landing the coveted Pianos Thursday night residency for February.

Catch Yellow Ostrich at Shea Stadium on January 15, or February 3, 10, 17 or 24 at Pianos.

I recorded this set with an excellent soundboard feed from the Mercury Lounge engineers and the Schoeps microphones. The sound is outstanding. Thanks to Kevin for his consistently strong work behind the board.

Stream “Fog”:

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Stream “WHALE” (yes, it has a little glitch, but this song is so damn good):

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Stream “Mary”:

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Direct download of MP3 files [HERE]

Download the Complete show in FLAC [HERE].

Yellow Ostrich
2011-01-04
Mercury Lounge
New York, NY USA

An acidjack master recording
Recorded and produced by acidjack exclusively for nyctaper.com

Equipment: Soundboard + Schoeps CMC6/mk41>Edirol R-44 [Oade Concert Mod] (24/48)
Position: ROC, at soundboard, mics pointed at stacks at 8.5′
Mastering: 2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Audacity (mixdown, set fades, tracking, amplify and balance)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 32:31]
01 Whale
02 banter
03 Hold On
04 banter
05 Daughter
06 Fog
07 banter
08 Hate Me Soon
09 banter
10 Campaign
11 banter
12 Mary

If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect you to PLEASE SUPPORT Yellow Ostrich, be their friends on Facebook, and purchase their music from bandcamp and Afternoon Records.

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