Yellow Ostrich

yellow ostrich

Alex Schaaf

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 unironic 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.”

Engineered by Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, Superchunk, Sparklehorse) and mixed by Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr.), Cosmos captures that uneasy tension by merging raw guitar riffs, lush atmospherics, brain-bending electro effects, sweetly ethereal harmonies, and earnest but unsettling lyrics.


Yellow Ostrich Cosmos

Neon Fists
My Moons
You Are The Stars
In The Dark
Any Wonder
How Do You Do It
Things Are Fallin'
Don't Be Afraid

Yellow Ostrich Live at Bowery Ballroom, Nov. 14, 2012

Here Today
Elephant King
Slow Paddle
Ghost (feat. Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks)
Up In The Mountains
Won't Fade Away (feat. Darby Cicci of The Antlers)
Hold On
Marathon Runner
The Shakedown

Yellow Ostrich Ghost EP

Here Today
Won't Fade Away
Already Gone

Yellow Ostrich Strange Land

Elephant King
Marathon Runner
I Got No Time For You
Stay At Home
I Want Yr Love
The Shakedown
Wear Suits
Up In The Mountains
When All Is Dead

Yellow Ostrich The Mistress

I Think U Are Great
Hate Me Soon
Hold On
I'll Run
Slow Paddle
Bread (Bonus Track)
Fog (Bonus Track)
Mary (Alternate) (Bonus Track)

Yellow Ostrich Fade Cave EP

In The Past I Was An Astronaut
Getting Lost/Staying Lost
I'll Run

Yellow Ostrich The Morgan Freeman EP

Morgan Freeman's Early Life
Morgan Freeman's Debut Roles
Morgan Freeman's Automobile Accident
Morgan Freeman's Alleged Relationship With His Step-Granddaughter
Morgan Freeman's Selected Filmography
What Is Morgan Doing Now?

Yellow Ostrich The Serious Kids EP

He-Horses And She-Horses
Young Love
Seven Umbrellas
They're All Joining Hands
We Are Kids

Yellow Ostrich Whalemary 7″


Yellow Ostrich Wild Comfort

How Long
Twenty One
Little Tired
Run Monster Run
Dmitri's Foxes
Til I Disappear

Yellow Ostrich Yellow Ostrich

Be Back Soon
Time to Kill
The Pillowman
Lost Love's Voice
I Am a Savior
Red Ribbon

Yellow Ostrich Carousels

Time Machines, pt. 1
Happy Birthday
Strings That Tie to You (Jon Brion)
Paper Dress
In the Garden