By on January 21, 2012

Barsuk Records is excited to release “Marathon Runner”, the debut single from Yellow Ostrich’s sophomore LP Strange Land, out March 6th. premiered the track today, remarking that the new record “finds them declaring themselves a fully formed, teeth-gnashing studio concern.” Singer/guitarist Alex Schaff described the track as focusing on “the constant need to figure out what you are and what you want to be.”

Yellow Ostrich have also confirmed a spring tour in support of Strange Land. The tour begins in Allston, MA at Great Scott on March 3rd and wraps up with a hometown show at NYC’s Mercury Lounge on April 12th. The jaunt also includes a stop at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, TX.

Strange Land is the follow-up to the acclaimed The Mistress, and is self-produced with engineer Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, Sparklehorse). The Mistress was also self-produced, and made by singer/guitarist Alex Schaaf on his own, playing all the instruments. With multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez and drummer Michael Tapper in the fold, Strange Land presents Yellow Ostrich fully formed, no longer a bedroom project, but rather now a full-fledged power trio.

“The Mistress was a guy in a bedroom,” says Schaaf, who grew up in Wisconsin and moved to New York in 2010. “Strange Land is a band. In a slightly bigger room.” They recorded most of the tracks in six days in a little studio outside of Woodstock, New York, and so while The Mistress used a purposely limited palette of sounds, Strange Land has a dramatically expanded one: Tapper’s inventive, downright catchy drumming provides a polyrhythmic foundation for many of the songs while Natchez plays no less than 11 different kinds of horns on the album, lending an almost symphonic air, while his nimble bass playing helps propel the music in its exciting new direction.

Yellow Ostrich did several US tours in 2011, opening for bands like the Antlers and Ra Ra Riot. It was a pivotal experience. “I found myself tending to want to flex a little bit, get bigger, so people wouldn’t talk over our whole set,” Tapper says. That – and the heavy airplay the Velvet Underground, Wire, and Crazy Horse-era Neil Young got in the tour van – had a big impact on the new music they made, with its dramatic dynamic shifts and listen-to-me-now passion. “We took the energy from those performances,” says Natchez, “and allowed the live experience to direct the recording, as opposed to vice versa.”

It took that kind of power and urgency to unleash the emotional core of the songs on Strange Land. “They’re about all those pent-up feelings of anticipation you carry throughout your life,” says Schaaf, “and what happens to those feelings when imagination becomes reality, and you see things maybe quite aren’t as magical and easy as you thought they’d be. When your future becomes your present, an explosion happens; that’s where a lot of this came from.”

Yellow Ostrich tour dates:

3/3 – Great Scott – Allston, MA #
3/4 – Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY #
3/6 – Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH #
3/7 – The Pike Room at The Crofoot – Pontiac, MI #
3/8 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL #
3/9 – Der Rathskeller – Madison, WI &
3/10 – 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN #
3/11 – Cactus Club – Milwaukee, WI #
3/12 – The Gramophone – St. Louis, MO #
3/15-19 – SXSW – Austin, TX
3/19 – Solar Culture – Tucson, AZ
3/20 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA
3/21 – Bootleg Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
3/23 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA @
3/24 – The Depot at Humboldt State – Arcata, CA
3/26 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR %
3/27 – Media Club – Vancouver, Canada %
3/29 – Flying M Coffee – Nampa, ID %
3/30 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT %
3/31 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO %
4/2 – The Waiting Room – Omaha, NE %
4/10 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
4/11 – Black Cat Backstage – Washington, DC
4/12 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY

# = with 1,2,3
& = with 1,2,3 and Lower Dens
@ = with Lost in the Trees
% = with Howler


Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.