Band of the Day

2012.02.03

Yellow Ostrich

Special guest editor Daniel Radcliffe picks a band with playful and inventive vocal arrangements
There will be a fire here today. All you see will slowly fade away into ashes, shadows, and the mist.
lyrics from Libraries

Yellow Ostrich is a three-piece experimental/indie pop band based out of New York City. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Alex Schaaf started Yellow Ostrich as a solo bedroom project in his native Wisconsin. Shortly after relocating to New York, Schaaf self-recorded (using just a four-track recorder) and self-released his album Wild Comfort in January 2010. This was followed by a string of EP's, including The Morgan Freeman EP, which were released for free through Schaaf's Bandcamp page. His music caught the attention of Barsuk Records, who quickly signed Schaaf and released his sophomore album, The Mistress, in 2011. Multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez and drummer Michael Tapper joined Schaaf as his touring band in the U.S., and they are now permanent members in the band. Yellow Ostrich's third album, Strange Land, self-produced with engineer Beau Sorenson (Death Cab For Cutie, Sparklehorse), will be released on Barsuk on March 6, 2012.

When we first heard that Daniel Radcliffe wanted to pick a Band of the Day for us, some members of our editorial team reverted to an embarrassing state of fandom (“Oh my God, Harry Potter uses our app? Yes, let’s make this happen!”)...which was quickly followed by, “Oh no, what if he has dreadful taste in music?” Luckily for us, and for you, he has excellent taste in music, and we love his pick! The young actor, who’s currently starring in his first post-Harry Potter film, “The Woman In Black” (in theaters today, Feb. 3), brought us Yellow Ostrich as his choice for Band of the Day. Based out of New York City, Yellow Ostrich is a three-piece experimental indie pop group that first started as the bedroom project of singer and multi-instrumentalist Alex Schaaf. Using just a four-track recorder, Schaaf self-produced and released a string of EPs, and his album Wild Comfort, in 2010. After catching the attention of Barsuk Records, Schaaf was signed to the label in 2011, and released his sophomore album The Mistress that same year. Read on to find out why Yellow Ostrich (whose third album Strange Land is out on March 6th) caught the ears of Daniel Radcliffe.

Band of the Day:

Band of the Day: Why is Yellow Ostrich your Band of the Day pick?

Daniel Radcliffe: Their album has a sound quality that I love and feel I hadn't heard before. It's playful and inventive and never does what you expect.

Band of the Day: What in particular really stood out to you?

Daniel Radcliffe: The weird vocal arrangements on almost every song. They are excellent.

Band of the Day: What's your favorite Yellow Ostrich song?

Daniel Radcliffe: My favorite song is “WHALE” but the lyric I sing most is “Hahahaohhoho.”

Band of the Day: What would be the ideal setting to listen to their music?

Daniel Radcliffe: With your head in the sand, obviously.

Band of the Day: What first sparked this music-loving side of you?

Daniel Radcliffe: When I was about 12 my dad introduced me to artists like David Bowie and T-Rex, and around the same time a friend introduced me to the Sex Pistols and then I never looked back.

Band of the Day: What does Band of the Day editorial staff have to say about Yellow Ostrich?

Amanda Van West: Using a palette of playful sounds, Schaaf creates an imaginative landscape of enchanting music. Layers of guitars, banging drumsticks, and looped vocalizations of “Oh-oh-oh’s” give songs like “WHALE” an incredible feeling of depth--you can hear the loving attention to detail in how carefully every single sound is layered and manipulated. Even though his techniques are experimental at times, Schaaf’s boyish voice gives Yellow Ostrich’s music a cozy, and refreshingly humble feel. You never get the sense that he’s trying to show off; instead, the songs draw you into his whimsical world. And if "Marathon Runner," a sneak preview from their upcoming album, Strange Land, is anything to go by, their world is only going to get bigger and better.