Tortoise, formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1990, was one of the first American indie rock bands to incorporate styles closer to Krautrock, free jazz, minimalism, and electronica rather than the standard rock and roll and punk that had dominated indie rock for years. Led by John McEntire (drums and producer), Tortoise also consists of Doug McCombs (bass), John Herndon (drums, keyboard, vibes), Bundy K. Brown (guitar, who left in 1995), Dan Bitney (percussion), David Pajo (guitar, left in 1998), and Jeff Parker (guitar).
Tortoise's music has always been surprisingly approachable. Its first album, Tortoise, was a sign of things to come. In 1996, Tortoise released their masterwork, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, an album that blended many genres to excellent effect. In 1998, it released TNT, Tortoise's most jazz-inflected album. 2001 led to Standards, where Tortoise incorporated more electronic sounds and post-production into its music than ever before.
Other groups related to Tortoise include The Sea and Cake, Brokeback, Shrimp Boat, Isotope 217 and the Chicago Underground Duo. Tortoise records on the Thrill Jockey label.