Tortoise is the sophomore album of Toronto-based garage-folk duo Dog Is Blue. A reaction to their well-received 2009 debut, …Makes Ghost Noises—a home-recorded effort, assembled piece by piece—Tortoise was recorded almost entirely live off the floor by Andy Magoffin at London, Ontario’s famous House of Miracles studio. Captured largely in “human time,” the result is a raw, honest and undeniably infectious collection of original songs that owes as much to the folk tradition as it does the tempest of rock ‘n’ roll.
Embellished by everything from the soothing viola of Toronto musician Anna Atkinson to homemade guitar pedals and old Casios, Tortoise is a rich and textured achievement that sees the band defy all classification. Sure, they’re capable of penning some subtle and charming folk tunes, but rest assured, these two are unafraid to make a lot of noise. It’s that duality that lies at the heart of Dog Is Blue as a band and of Tortoise as their defining album.
The duo is made up of Paul Watson, principal songwriter and cookie-tin pedal enthusiast, and Laura Heaney, purveyor of ghost-noises and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire; together they bramble around proudly with all the jangly toys of a tickle-trunk and the surefooted bravado of travelling snake-oil salesmen. Lighthearted in their dedication to the ephemeral, these two get their ya-yas out peddling a unique brand of self-described ghost-folk.
Heaney splits her time between the band and a burgeoning career as a contemporary portrait artist, while Watson builds amps/pedals and does the day to day for beloved independent Canadian digital music store, Zunior.com. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of The Burning Hell, Wax Mannequin, Shotgun Jimmie, Andrew Vincent and more.
Paul Watson Guitar, vocals, homemade pedals, tambourine
Laura Heaney Keys, vocals, glockenspiel, kick drum