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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Yellow Ostrich

Strange Land (Barsuk Records)

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Yellow Ostrich singer-guitarist Alex Schaaf, who recorded 2011's The Mistress alone in his Appleton bedroom, is the kind of guy who once relied only on his boyish voice and a drum machine to make one EP (Fade Cave) and drew lyrics exclusively from an actor's Wikipedia entry for another (The Morgan Freeman EP). Now relocated to New York City, he has expanded Yellow Ostrich to a three-piece indie outfit that plasters the image of a faceless head of hair on its album cover and uses text-speak in song titles (“I Want Yr Love”).

Despite all that, Yellow Ostrich doesn't make typical indie-rock fare. For example, multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez plays at least 11 different kinds of horns throughout Strange Land's 10 lush, rhythmically compact songs, which often focus on how things are not always better somewhere else. Might Schaaf be drawing comparisons between Appleton and the Big Apple?

Yellow Ostrich will perform at the Cactus Club on Sunday, March 11.