Normally I wouldn't hype something on my blog that I myself am not involved in, but given my new commitment to up my blogging, and the fact that I'm incredibly excited about this, please excuse my HOLY CRAP THERE'S A NEW RENTALS ALBUM COMING OUT!
MOOGS! POWER CHORDS! LOTS OF LAYERED HARMONY ON FEMALES GOING "OOOH"!
C'mon, that was catchy, right? It's like...all the power-pop goodness that we all still want out of Weezer, but sadly never get. It's simple, sure, but with these tiny artistic / experimental embellishments — which is precisely what I love about The Rentals.
Which makes sense, of course, because Matt Sharp formed the band as a side-project back when he was still playing bass and supplying quirky falsetto background vocal embellishments in Weezer (his departure marking the beginning of their steady decline), and he's remained the only consistent member of the band (as well as its lead creative force). Weezer drummer Patrick Wilson and Indie Rock Violinist Sisters Extraordinaire Rachel and Petra Haden and even actress Maya Rudolph (because I guess she has a Moog?) have been among the band's rotating members; their upcoming album includes Patrick Carney from The Black Keys. The Rentals released their first album, Return Of The Rentals, in 1995, and it's an irresistible explosion of power-pop hooks, Moog synthesizers, and enough female background vocals to make Brian Wilson cry. It's certainly reminiscent of Blue Album-era Weezer, but with less angst and pop sensibilities cranked up to 11. It's almost overwhelmingly upbeat and catchy, not to mention incredible simple and just plain fun. Here's the lead single from Return Of The Rentals:
And now you're probably like, "That was stupid. Also brilliant. It was so...simple! Why is this in my head?! Why won't it go away and why do I like it?!," to which I respond, EXACTLY. They followed that album up with Seven More Minutes, which is bit more rockin', while also drawing on some Americana influence for the folky "It's Alright." They released Songs About Time in 2009, which was a whole multimedia project consisting of three mini-albums released every three months, 52 black and white short films scored and arranged by the band and released every week, and 365 photographs released every day for one year. They compiled some of the best parts into a single album, which leans more heavily on the strings, pianos, and acoustic guitar sounds. It's a gorgeous record, but I'm also excited that their new album is sounding like a return to form for their more rock-oriented sounds.
Despite the mild radio success of "Friends of P," The Rentals haven't been hugely successful, but I wish more people were aware of them, because I find them to be an absolutely irresistibile medley of many of my favorite musical things. So check 'em out if you have the chance (or, ya know, Spotify 'em or whatever)!