Tortoise to Release 6th Album on 4/21/09; Langerado ’09


Per Stereogum in an article interviewing Doug McCombs, Tortoise is in the studio working on their follow-up to 2004’s It’s All Around You. Well, I guess you could say they are still in the studio working on the follow-up.  Tortoise has been working on the follow-up for three years in “fits and starts” at McEntire’s Soma Studios in Chicago.

The band has been playing at least three of the tracks from the new album on tour since their unannounced appearance at the Thrill Jockey 15th anniversary shows in December of 2007. The article makes references to the temporary song titles that have shown up on setlists like “Korg” and “Prepare Your Coffin” which we’ve seen called “Coffin.” We’ve also heard a track variously known as “Glowstick” or “Glow.”

According to McCombs, although the album to him sounds sonically a bit like Standards, the band has implemented smaller arrangements than the last two albums. Apparently there are only a couple of sessions left to record including adding some string arrangements (!!). The album may also include vocals. Following the release of April 21st the band will kick off a “proper tour.” This April 21st date is corroborated at Pitchfork’s Guide to 2009 Releases.

Tortoise was recently announced as part of the Langerado Festival lineup on 3/7/09. Set in Miami, Langerado promises to be a really good festival based on this year’s lineup which includes Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Umphrey’s McGee, Dashboard Confessional, the Pogues, Snoop Dogg, and Death Cab among it’s current list of 58 musical acts to play over three days. With the wealth of tapers at Langerado, I’m hoping we get a good recording of that set.

New Rob Mazurek on Delmark – sound is To Be Released 2/17/09

Glancing through coronet player-slash-self-proclaimed “abstractivist” Rob Mazurek’s list of albums he either performed on, or led one gets the idea that he’s a pretty busy guy. Indeed, in 2008 alone he had three releases– one with the Exploding Star Orchestra and Bill Dixon on Thrill Jockey, one as part of his Sao Paulo Underground on Aesthetics and a solo release called Abstractions on Robert D’Arbrissel on AdLuna.

Rob has a number of releases on his second Chicago label home (the other being Thrill Jockey) the seminal Jazz and Blues label Delmark dating back to 1998’s Playground as part of Chicago Underground Orchestra. On February 17th, Delmark will be releasing sound is (Delmark DE 586). Featuring 14 new compositions, sound is is the debut of Rob’s new quintet which includes John Herndon from Tortoise on drums, Josh Abrams of Town and Country on acoustic bass, Jason Adasiewicz from Loose Assembly on vibes and Rob’s bandmate in Isotope 217 Matthew Lux on bass.

Click Here to visit Rob’s website

Click Here to visit Rob’s MySpace Page

Click Here to visit Delmark – Chicago’s Home of the Blues and Jazz

More Tortoise Vinyl Back in Print!

While I was in Madison, WI yesterday for the Snake on the Lake Festival at UW Madison I stopped at a couple of record stores– Mad City Music and B-Side Records. I’ll be providing a B-Sides in the Bins article soon, but while I was in these stores I was shocked to find NEW, SEALED copies of Tortoise’s TNT and It’s All Around You! Notably they had the new red sticker that says that there is a coupon for free mp3 downloads inside– which wouldn’t have been on them originally. They also had copies of the new red-vinyl version of Standards previously reported on here as well.

TNT was $16.99 for a 2-LP at Mad City, and It’s All Around You was $12.99 at B-Side. If you go to Thrill Jockey’s page for It’s All Around You, sure enough there are copies of it on vinyl available for purchase for $11.00. On the TNT page, they mention that there are a limited supply of these back in print, however at this moment, there isn’t a working link to order one.

I’m happy to see that these are available, I’m hoping that it will help lend some sanity to the current used pricing for OOP Tortoise vinyl. It will be interesting to see if Millions Now Living and the first album get re-pressed.

Upcoming Show: Tortoise at UW Madison Memorial Terrace 9/27/08

Tortoise recently announced some upcoming dates to their slowly-building tour. One date of particular interest to us here at playbsides is the September 27th show at the University of Madison’s Memorial Terrace.

When I inquired about the availability of tickets the Student Union said that the show is part of the “Snake on the Lake Festival” which runs from 3PM to Midnight. The event is free but is intended for UW-Madison students, faculty, staff and Union members and their guests. This festival is put on by the Union and WSUM.

So, if you aren’t any of those or know anyone who is, you can join the UW Union as a member for 1 year for $50. You’ll need to bring your membership card to the show and you can bring guests. So, I’m thinking of joining and splitting the fee with a couple of friends who are big Tortoise fans.

According to Muzzle of Bees, other acts that have confirmed are Damien Jurado, Awesome Color, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, El Valiente, and Pistols at Dawn.

Tortoise has been playing three new songs in their setlists which appear to be the same songs they debuted at the Thrill Jockey 15 show last December. The titles are “Korg”, “Glow,” and “Coffin.” It remains to be seen whether these will be the actual titles when these are released or if they are just what they’re calling them on the setlists.

Tortoise Standards Reissued on Limited Edition Colored Vinyl

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I recently completed my search for Tortoise vinyl over the last couple of years. One of the first LP’s I got was Standards, Tortoise’s 2001 release.

Yesterday, Thrill Jockey announced that due to popular demand they have run a second pressing of Standards in RED vinyl! The first pressing is in black. Like the first pressing the LP and cover art will be encased in a silk-screened clear vinyl sleeve. In the picture of my copy to the left the words “Tortoise” and “Standards” are the silk-screened part.

This will be– of course– in a very limited pressing of 1000 and available through the website at $13.99 plus shipping. This will include for the first time a coupon for free downloads of the mp3’s too. Typically these mp3’s are a lush 320Kbps.

I think that next to TNT, Standards is probably Tortoise’s most popular release with the two live performance staples of “Seneca” with it’s epic guitar distortion intro and recent development of audience clapping the beat at the end, and the vocoder-and-synth electro love of “Monica.” Standards is a must-have and, of course the audible meal of Tortoise is best served on vinyl.

Does this mean we will see other reissues of the Tortoise catalog? With the promise of a new Tortoise album– they’re already playing some great new songs live– there will likely be a renewed interest in the back catalog.

Click Here to order Standards

New Sea and Cake Car Alarm Set for October 21st

Car AlarmThe Sea and Cake, while considered one of the key bands on Thrill Jockey, is also a side project for most of its members, which is why last week’s announcement of a NEW album on the heels of last year’s brilliant Everybody is such a surprise. The gap between 2003’s One Bedroom and the Glass EP and Everybody was four years. In between we got a new Tortoise, new solo Sam Prekop, and new solo Archer Prewitt.

This time for their seventh full-length album Car Alarm, the band wanted to continue the momentum and, I assume tightness gained while the band did its extensive touring following Everybody. In fact, it was likely this condition of the band that allowed them to write and record this album in a record-setting (for the band) three months.

I still find myself listening to Everybody regularly, and my wife likes it as well, so I’m pretty excited to hear what the band delivers for this release given the unique approach. After seeing the band for the first time during the Thrill Jockey 15th Anniversary shows, I’ve committed to seeing the band on tour again, so I hope we get another extensive tour.


01. Aerial
02. a Fuller Moon
03. on a Letter
04. CMS Sequence
05. Car Alarm
06. Weekend
07. New Schools
08. Window Sills
09. Down in the City
10. Pages
11. the Staircase
12. Mirrors

B-Sides in the Bins #25 – eBay

Lots of Thrill Jockey-related purchases on eBay. Last month I finally finished my Tortoise LP collection! I found a guy who was selling Thrill 013 aka the first Tortoise album who had “TNT” as well. He runs a small record shop in Washington and apparently gets Tortoise vinyl from time-to-time! The only vinyl missing from my Tortoise collection at this point is the “Gamera” 12″ and Rhythms, Resolutions & Clusters.

Tortoise – Tortoise (LP, Thrill Jockey thrill 013, 1994) ($20) This is not the first pressing Fireproof Press brown cardboard with brown screening and tab close cover. This is not the 1996 white with green screen sleeve either. This copy is a light grey plain sleeve with orange screening. I have seen this version frequently on eBay, but I don’t know if this is also the second pressing or if it is a third one.

Tortoise – TNT (2 LP, Thrill Jockey thrill 050, 1998) ($30) This release is probably the most popular release from Tortoise, and as such seems to be driving the price of the vinyl up. Expect to pay upwards of $40 without shipping for a copy of this. I can now rest easy having finished this collection!

Tortoise – Universal Buzz presents… Tortoise (CD-R, Universal Buzz Radio / Quantegy, 2001) ($9) This is a CD for a syndicated radio show called Universal Buzz Radio. This seems to be a show from the 1998 tour. Unfortunately, there isn’t any information on the CD or a tracklisting or what venue or city. An interesting piece for my collection.

Chicago Underground Duo – 12 Degrees of Freedom (CD, Thrill Jockey thrill 060, 1998) ($4)

Chicago Underground Duo – Synesthesia (CD, Thrill Jockey thrill 077, 2000) ($4)

Chicago Underground Duo – Axis and Alignment (CD, Thrill Jockey thrill 106, 2002) ($4)

Chicago Underground Duo – In Praise of Shadows (CD, Thrill Jockey thrill 168, 2006) $4) All four of these came from one auction which closed around $17 after shipping. Chicago Underground Duo is the pairing of Rob Mazurek and Chad Taylor. These albums range from just the duo to albums with sidemen including Jeff Parker.

Rare Thrill Jockey Vinyl Discovered and Back In Stock

When I was at the Thrill Jockey 15th Anniversary shows back in December Bettina Richards told me that there was a cache of out-of-print Thrill Jockey vinyl that was discovered at their UK location. She said there was some Tortoise available among other titles.

Last Friday Thrill Jockey sent out an e-mail announcing that these titles are in stock and available for order. Some of these are impossibly rare and it’s pretty cool that they are back for a limited time. In addition to the vinyl, there are copies of Tortoise’s The Lazarus Taxon 3 CD / 1 DVD boxset that are priced lower than the original $19 price because they have some slight wear from shipping.

Don’t miss out on getting these, there won’t be another chance like this! The titles are limited to two per customer. The following titles are back:

Arbouretum – Rites of Uncovering – Arbouretum put on a great set at the Anniversary show. I reached out to David Heumann, who is also part of the great instrumental group Human Bell– to purchase a copy. The vinyl for Rites of Uncovering has been out of print for a bit with the only other vinyl in existence available from the band on tour.

Extra Golden – Ok-Oyot System – You’ve read some about Obama’s favorite Benga band on playbsides before. This is the group’s debut release on vinyl and a regular spin of mine from 2006.

Gray Market Goods – Soldier of Fortune / We Live in the Future– This is early Tortoise member Bundy K. Brown’s project from 2003. Apparently sample-based. I’ve not heard anything from it.

Daniel A.I.U. Higgs – Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot – 900 copies available from this solo release from Lungfish member Daniel A.I.U. Higgs.

Nobukazu Takemura – 10th This is one of the eclectic electronic artist’s more notable releases. This album includes “Fallslake” which Tortoise covered for the Plum box set (you can hear Tortoise’s version on their MySpace page currently). A Stereolab-sounding song, I think. update: this is now back out of print… SOLD OUT!

Chicago Underground Duo – In Praise of Shadows This is one I’m interested in picking up. Rob Mazurek and Chad Taylor’s project.

Archer Prewitt – Three Archer Prewitt– from the venerable Sea and Cake’s third release, and debut on Thrill Jockey (his previous two LP efforts In The Sun and White Sky were released on Chicago label Carrot Top). Usually known as the silent partner in that band, he kicks his vocal talents to the fore and shows that his Anglophile pop whiles are as worthwhile a listen as Prekop, in my opinion.

Trans Champs – Double Exposure The Trans Champs are a combination of Thrill Jockey artists Trans Am and part of The Fucking Champs. This album was made via sharing tapes between the band.

Tortoise – It’s All Around You Wow, don’t miss out on this! It’s safe to say that this is the only Tortoise vinyl in print. Thrill Jockey is only asking a paltry $11 for this, and recent eBay auctions are creeping into the high $20’s. Update- Out of Stock!

While you’re putting your order together, don’t forget to pick up the amazing Plum 7″ box set— there’s only 50 left! The 15th Anniversary MegaMix by Trey Told ‘Em is still around, too.

B-Sides in the Bins #15 – Cedar Rapids and Internet 9/11/07

I made a trip to CDWarehouse in Cedar Rapids on 9/11 specifically to pick up the new Joe Henry. I’ve also picked up some other titles from ‘Net…

Civilians – Joe Henry (CD Anti- 86890-2, 2007) ($13.99) Joe’s second release on Anti- is pretty much a continuation of the sound and style he established with 2003’s Tiny Voices.

“Oh Yeah” – Yello (12″ Mercury 884-930-1, 1985) ($0.50) This is why I love hitting CDWarehouse. John deliberately drops cool stuff in his cheap vinyl bin. Ever since I took a huge haul of early Eighties 12-inches from Goodwill a couple of years ago, I’ve been keeping an eye out for deals like this. MINT condition. It has the single version of the song plus a 5 minute “Indian Summer Music” remix and a 6:25 “Dance Mix.”

In the used vinyl bin there was a copy of Welcome to the Pleasuredome by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and another Yello title. If the FGTH title is still there next time I’m in, I’ll probably pick that one up. I still remember playing the “Relax” 12″ at home after I purchased it at Musicland in Dubuque and having Dad asking me why I was listening to that “shit.” A brother of a friend of mine bought the cassette of Pleasuredome and I copied it. I hadn’t heard anything like it at the time. That was the summer of Zang Tum Tum Records it seemed. Zang Tum Tum was the odd little label from the UK that had The Art of Noise, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 808 State and Seal among other acts on it. There was kind of a mystery surrounding the label and its acts. I remember there were three or four versions of the “Relax” video– some of them not appropriate for Prime Time and I could catch them on Night Flight on USA on the weekends. Night Flight was how I heard about The Art of Noise whose “Close (to the Edit)” and “Beat Box (Diversion 1)” were also in constant rotation along with Yes’s “Owner of the Lonely Heart.” Apparently Madonna and Sean Penn used the AoN song “Moments in Love” as their wedding march. All of these songs and their albums were produced by former Buggle (“Video Killed the Radio Star”) Trevor Horn. AoN was effectively the house band for ZTT and backed FGTH and would later be the band for Seal’s first album.

Double Roses – The Court and Spark (CD Absolutely Kosher no catalog number, 2003) ($10) With the annouced split of the Court and Spark I figured I’d better pick up the titles I didn’t have. Double Roses is really more of an EP at nine tracks than a full album. It is a collection of some unreleased studio tracks as well as a couple of live ones. The packaging is hand-made and numbered. Mine is numbered 126 of 400. Along with the CD there is a URL which provides the actual liner notes. I should probably snag those pages and cache them in case the website goes down. Order this directly from Absolutely Kosher as it is the cheapest you will find this title. $10 included shipping!

Ventura Whites – The Court and Spark (CD Glitterhouse Records GRCD 504, 2000) ($13.80) This is the import release of the CD. Ventura Whites was distributed by Tumult in the US. Very OOP, unfortunately. Not really my favorite release from them. I think their sound matured quite a bit between this release and Bless You. Bought on from a seller.

Solitude – Volebeats (CD Safe House SH-2128-2) ($1.13) Exchanging e-mails with Dave from the 100’s got me looking at the Volebeats again. The 100’s cover “Annabel” by the Volebeats. The Volebeats are/were a band from Michigan who record a roots rock/country style. I had been doing some research on the Volebeats back when the movie The Shopgirl included one of their songs but never followed through to purchase anything. I seem to remember the Calexico/Friends of Dean Martinez-ish instrumental “Desert Song” being in some movie, too.

Westside Cabin EP #1 – Reminder (download Ropeadope Digital Release R509) ($7.99) Reminder is the solo project of Josh Abrams who lends his bass skills to Thrill Jockey alums like Town & Country, Prefuse 73 and was also on Sam Prekop’s solo record. I found out about this from Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker’s MySpace page. Jeff lends his riffs to “Halfsies.” Jazzy, mellow, sample-based electronica. Good stuff and good price. You can either download this from Ropeadope or buy it from Reminder - West Side Cabin #1 - EP . The Ropeadope version is cheaper than iTunes and is DRM-free.