For nearly two decades, Tortoise has been expanding the definition of indie prog-rock, which wasn't too rigidly defined to begin with. Though much of indie rock is rooted in pop and punk, Tortoise's primarily instrumental sound blends Kautrock, dub, minimalism and jazz. With influences ranging from John Coltrane to ZZ Top, it's no wonder this Chicago-based group is revered for its meticulous attention to rhythm and experimentation.
- "Prepare Your Coffin"
Tortoise. Whitney Bradshaw
Since coming together in the late-'80s Chicago music scene, Tortoise has released countless albums, EPs, collaborations and compilations. But it hasn't put out a proper full-length since 2004's It's All Around You, though the intervening years have seen an excellent collaboration with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and a compilation box set. But the wait is over: This past June, Tortoise released the long-awaited Beacons of Ancestorship, the band's most electronic-based album yet. With interweaving guitar lines, synth bass and layered keyboards, Beacons is evocative, grand and, of course, experimental.