A couple weeks ago, I ventured to the Echo on my own to check out The Parson Red Heads, and arrived significantly earlier than expected. I figured I might as well check out these Yellow Ostrich fellows, who have been experiencing some buzz on the Interwebs, but like many bands, I hadn’t actually given a good listen to their music.
And boy was I thankful I did.
The Brooklyn, NY trio absolutely blew me away. I fell in love with song after song, dancing and smiling to no one but myself. I had this overwhelming desire to connect with everyone around me, turn and check in with them, “This is totally amazing right?” just to make sure they were all experiencing the same indie-pop joy I was. At the end of the night I walked away with a copy of their debut full length album, The Mistress, on vinyl. I think I’ve maybe done that twice. Ever.
Led by Alex Schaaf – who used to be the entire band – Yellow Ostrich commanded the Echo right off the bat, due in good part to Schaff’s clear, resonant vocals and some pretty spot on looping. Even so, the contributions of new member Jon Natchez (who has previously played with the likes of Beirut and Bishop Allen) on bass and horns added fullness to their sound not easily achieved with technology alone. I’m also a total sucker for brass instruments, so that might bias me slightly. The album is an equally enjoyable listen for the same reasons, though recorded the lack of a full band is much more apparent. There is a definite bedroom pop sensibility (lovely), but it’s also missing some of the buoyant energy of the live show (sadface). On the recording though, Schaaf does turn in guitar riffs with attitude plus some pounding percussion by drummer Michael Tapper to add some drive to his bright, youthful vocals.
My favorite track on the album is “WHALE,” which highlights everything I love about the band: great beats, stellar looping, and a catchy melody. The song eases you into a groove and then changes it up a couple times before taking off into a full fledged pop jam.
And considering that some of my favorite songs from the Echo show are missing from the album – “Elephant King” and “Marathon Runner” – there are more great things to come from Yellow Ostrich.
You can buy The Mistress digitally on eMusic, or on vinyl at the Afternoon Records Store.