Released: 1994, June 22 (2012 Vinyl Reissue)
Label: Thrill Jockey
I’m so glad Thrill Jockey is doing these 20th anniversary reissues. Things that I once loved on CD are now available to me in a superior format and the packaging is being reproduced faithfully as well. Take for instance this debut by Tortoise. Beautiful chipboard sleeve with screen-printing. Some elements are even screen-printed with a varnish or transparent color instead of a straight up opaque color. In fact, the back is entirely blank except for the band’s tortoise icon printed very small with this method. I feel packaging of this caliber is an even rarer thing nowadays. Musically, their debut is a bit of a subdued affair when compared to most of their other releases. Meandering and subtle, but occasionally they break out into a head-bobbing like the one found towards the middle of “Ry Cooder.” But then that jam is followed up by a track requiring plenty of patience. But the record then exits on an upbeat note with the excellent “Cornpone Brunch.” I love that, just as they were back then, Tortoise continues to fly in the face of all that is contemporary and immediately acceptable as pop music. They’ve endured for quite some time and are still putting out quality music.
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