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Tortoise has discovered the power of the fart. Too rarefied for clubgoers, too self-aware for jam-band events, the Chicago band has spent the past decade and a half making exquisitely influenced, beautifully recorded music that had all the charm of a Santana concert minus the fiery fretwork, shoutouts to Toltec legends, or possibilities of a Michelle Branch cameo. On Tortoise’s recent album, Beacons of Ancestorship, however, flatulent synths and crunchy drum sounds give the group’s by-now de rigueur surveys of prog rock, electronica, and dub some much needed earthiness. On songs like “Northern Something,” the band even achieves the brainless fun of early-’90s Fatboy Slim and Chemical Brothers records—enough, in fact, to make you overlook that the song is anchored by what is no doubt the most exhaustively researched approximation of a New Orleans–style second-line beat in musical history. You could even say it’s a gas.
TORTOISE PLAYS WITH GREY REVEREND AT 8 P.M. AT THE BLACK CAT, 1811 14TH ST. NW. $20. (202) 667-4490.