Yellow Ostrich formed in a Wisconsin dorm room in early 2009 as the solo recording project of Alex Schaaf. Over the course of the next year, Schaaf released six albums and EPs, including three EPs in August, 2010: Fade Cave, The Morgan Freeman EP, and The Serious Kids EP. Alex relocated to New York City in the summer of 2010, recruited Michael Tapper (We Are Scientists/Bishop Allen) to play drums, and began to play locally in New York City. The Mistress, Yellow Ostrich's debut LP, was released in October. After significant grassroots support and acclaim for the album, Afternoon Records (Pomegranates, Haley Bonar, John Vanderslice) picked up the record and is reissuing a remastered version on February 2011.
Strand Of Oaks
In 2003, Tim Showalter's house burned down, his fiancée left him, and he resorted to writing songs on an acoustic guitar while living on park benches in suburban Philadelphia. Those events informed the entirety of his arresting debut, Leave Ruin, an album about loss and brokenness and lack of faith. But as affecting as it was, Showalter is leery of being stuck in the past. After all, the first word of that record's title is "leave," and one of the first thing he asks when contacted for this interview is, "Can we kind of re-do my bio? I don't want to keep being the sad sack whose house burned down."
These days, Showalter is happily married and comfortably settled in Philadelphia, and he's staring down the release of his second record, Pope Killdragon, an album that's even stranger and more singular. Where Ruin was stark and autobiographical, Killdragon - which features odd, laser-beam synthesizers and one bona fide stoner metal track - is wild and fantastical. Showalter either invents characters' whole cloth, or takes an approach to history so liberal even Tarantino would give pause (John F. Kennedy authors a fable about a knight; Dan Aykroyd carries out a revenge killing for the death of John Belushi). It's a bold, eerie, mighty work - though the man responsible for it couldn't be more affable or good natured.
Samuel Fick, a St. Louis native, has been wielding his guitar around town for almost half of his life. Only in the last two years has he donned the stage name Samuel Fickie. Never officially releasing an album, Fickie draws his crowds in with anticipation as they eagerly wait to hear songs they know can only be heard live. In the last two years Fickie has opened for such acts as Matt Costa, Jessica Lee Mayfield, ON AN ON, The Wooden Sky, The Blank Tapes, Yellow Ostrich, Strand of Oaks and many other renowned artists from around the globe.
Recent reviews hail: "Fickie is a passionate performer whose love and commitment for what he does practically glows out of every pore." - PlaybackSTL.com
"Fickie slid his careful fingers over the frets of his guitar with passion and warmth. His set was over too soon and the crowd stood hushed, stunned by the performance." - KDHX.com