The post-rock figureheads are back.

Tortoise have announced their first album since 2009’s Beacons of Ancestorship and a tour of North America and Europe to boot.

Due on their regular home of Thrill Jockey on January 22, The Catastrophist sees the instrumental quintet inviting singers to add their vocals to two tracks, with Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley appearing on ‘Yonder Blue’ and Todd Rittmann of U.S. Maple singing a cover of David Essex’s (genuinely brilliant) ‘Rock On’.

The album began as a commission by the City of Chicago for a suite of music relating to the area’s jazz and improvised music communities. The resulting themes were performed at a few concerts before the band started to rework them for the album.

“All of the songs went through a pretty intensive process of restructuring,” says the band’s Jeff Parker. “We actually had quite a lot of material that we ended up giving up on. Oftentimes, we’ll shelve ideas and come back to them years later.”

The label emphasises Tortoise’s typically adventurous fusion of styles on the record, from “moody, synth-swept jams” and “hypnotic, bass-and-beat missives” to “straight-up dance beats and fusion-flecked guitar bursts”. “It’s progressive experimental music with pop sensibilities,” says Parker.

The Chicago quintet are also coming over to Europe for a string of dates next year, including a London show in February. See the tour dates below.

In the meantime, stream first single ‘Gesceap’ and see the album’s artwork and tracklist underneath.


1. The Catastrophist
2. Ox Duke
3. Rock On
4. Gopher Island
5. Shake Hands With Danger
6. The Clearing Fills
7. Gesceap
8. Hot Coffee
9. Yonder Blue
10. Tesseract
11. At Odds With Logic

unnamed (4)

Tour dates:

Jan 23 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall (in-the-round performance)
Feb 7 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Vega Jr.
Feb 8 – Hamburg, Germany – Fabrik
Feb 9 – Berlin, Germany – Berghain
Feb 10 – Antwerp, Belgium – Trix
Feb 11 – Utrecht, Netherlands – Tivoli
Feb 12 – St. Gallen, Switzerland – Palace
Feb 13 – Geneva, Switzerland – Antigel Festival
Feb 14 – Zurich, Switzerland – Stall 6
Feb 15 – Reutlingen, Germany – franz.K
Feb 16 – Wien, Austria – Arena
Feb 17 – Budapest, Hungary – A 38
Feb 18 – Zagreb, Croatia – Mochvara
Feb 19 – Bologna, Italy – Locomotiv Club
Feb 20 – Rome, Italy – Magnolia Club
Feb 23 – London, UK – Village Underground
Mar 9 – Minneapolis, MN – The Cedar Cultural Center
Mar 11 – Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig – Ann Arbor, MI
Mar 12 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
Mar 13 – Montreal, QC – Fairmount
Mar 14 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse
Mar 15 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
Mar 16 – New York, NY – (le) poisson rouge
Mar 17 – Brooklyn, NY – littlefield
Mar 18 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
Mar 19 – Washington, DC – Black Cat
Mar 22 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
Mar 23 – Newport, KY – The Southgate House Revival – Sanctuary
Mar 24 – Indianapolis, IN – Radio Radio



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