Whenever a band is said to hail from a “fertile” music scene, it tends to make me nervous.
But, in the singular case of Tortoise — the Chicago-born indie band that came of age in the 90s — it seems apt. They are, in fact, children of many parents: jazz, electronica, minimalism, Krautrock.
Maybe that’s why so many people have so many problems labeling them. (Not that Tortoise cares for very much; they eschew genres like they do scrutability). Are they post-rock? Progressive? Post-progressive? And, come to think of it, who are all these people asking questions, anyway, and where can we tune into the debate?
It doesn’t matter. In the end, Tortoise has a wide fan base, and anyone still sitting on the fence about them can make up their own minds when they play The Cedar at 7:30 p.m. March 9.
It’s been nigh on a decade since the 25-year-old group has released an album, but that’s not a matter of fact anymore with the January issue of their seventh album, “The Catastrophist.” Yes, the track names range from the expectedly-weird (“Gesceap”) through the surprisingly-standard (“Hot Coffee”) to the slightly-poetic (“Yonder Blue”), but multi-instrumentalists Jeff Parker, Doug McCombs, Dan Bitney, John Herndon, and John McEntire are known for defying expectations, as well as every well-worn label.
Part of the fun will be seeing the group reproduce their newest tracks live on stage (a challenge they’ve said they look forward to, with a promise to cull from their extensive back catalog, too).
Musical hors d’oeuvres are courtesy of the “one-man” orchestra Dosh, with an intermezzo from Mind over Mirrors.
In the case of Tortoise, it’s not the slow or the fast who win the race, it’s what sets you apart from the rest that gets you the musical trophy.
See you on the awards’ dais, guys.
If you go
What: Tortoise with Mind Over Mirrors and Dosh
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9
Where: The Cedar, 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis