[Barsuk; 2012]

What began as a solo project of bedroom pop from Chairs frontman Alex Schaff has expanded to a full-fledged band. Yellow Ostrich’s upcoming fourth album Strange Land comes from Death Cab for Cutie’s former label Barsuk, and it’s quite the appropriate home for the band’s debut as a trio.

“Marathon Runner,” the first preview of Strange Land, fuses the Brooklyn delicacies of pummeling percussion and vocal looping with the warmth and guitar-driven indie pop aesthetic of the Pacific Northwest. Schaff’s vocals are the force that unites the disparate on this east-meets-west-coast Strange Land preview cut. After hearing this you can consider Yellow Ostrich a contender for the honor of 2012’s “next big thing.”

8/10