The Rentals return with first release in over eight years, Last Little Life

:: The Rentals :: Gothic Theatre :: August 9 ::

By Tiffany Childs

It’s true. The Rentals are back and in a big way. With their first release of new material in over eight years and a 44-date tour scheduled, both slated for August, the band that brought Moog synthesizers and boy/girl lyrics in the ’90s are set to bring it again.
The Marquee recently spoke with front man Matt Sharp (ex-Weezer bassist) about the break, the new album and the upcoming tour.
“We just needed to take some time off to figure out where we wanted to go,” Sharp said of The Rentals break. “And we also decided that if we were going to do a recording, it was going to be with a permanent band.”

It was a goal that The Rentals just barely missed — lacking only a permanent guitarist. For the tour, Goldenboy’s Shon Sullivan will join Sharp, Rachel Haden (backup vocals) Sara Radle (vocals/multiple instruments), Ben Pringle (synthesizer), Lauren Chipman (viola/vocals) and Dan Joeright (drums) onstage. But Sharp assured fans that someone will be chosen to fill the guitar spot permanently when they return from tour and finally have some spare time.
Spare time seems like a luxury at this point to Sharp. “Before starting the album we had probably 30 or 40 ideas to go through. We just started recording them at Dan’s [Joeright] house and let a friend listen to the demos,” said Sharp. That friend happened to be Joe Chiccarelli, a producer/engineer that has worked with the likes of The Shins and White Stripes. “He suggested that we take what we had and release an EP,” said Sharp. And so, The Rentals’ latest release Last Little Life was born.
Fans of The Rentals will be glad to see that the band’s essential elements remain very familiar on the EP, especially the vocals and chords. However, this release is a lot less aggressive and hyped out than previous works. It isn’t as driven by distorted guitars and instead focuses on the beautiful melodicism the band manages to accomplish with such ease.
To promote Last Little Life, The Rentals will begin a national tour in San Francisco on Aug. 1. Prior to that, though, they’ve been scheduled to play a residency at L.A.’s famed Spaceland every Saturday in July.
“These [Spaceland] shows are for figuring out what to do with our material when we begin touring,” Sharp mentioned. “The first one was really fun, but full of technical difficulties. It was like a TV sitcom — guitar strings were breaking, amps were unplugging, just everything you can imagine going wrong did.”
Luckily, Matt Sharp isn’t a person to let a situation get him down. “There comes a point where you have to realize, this is the way it’s going to be and you just have to go with it,” said Sharp. Perhaps that’s the secret to why The Rentals are well-known for putting on one hell of a show.
Seeing a show by The Rentals means entering a room bathed in exhilaration, mayhem and all-out-fun — although it seems a lot of people don’t realize it beforehand. “People don’t expect our shows to be so explosive,” Sharp said. “I think they expect more stoicism because of our videos. The high energy always surprises people.” And just a word of warning — you have to be prepared to join in the frenzy with abandon or risk being forced into it by the rest of the crowd.
Being a septet, there are a lot of band members to contribute to that energy, a trend the indie world is seeing more and more of. “The past couple of years there have been more and more bands with a large number of musicians. No one is really locked into an instrument any more and that makes our shows more grandiose,” Sharp said of the movement.
Sharp also told The Marquee that this time around the tours are a lot easier, but more extensive than what he has done in the past. “Touring solo, playing all those low-key shows gave me a better understanding of the audience. I feel I have a better connection to them now and that makes the shows better,” said Sharp. As for the extensive part, Sharp said The Rentals are playing a lot of shows outside the major markets, such as in Florida and Texas. That’s good news for fans that have had to travel far in the past to be able to see a show.

:: The Rentals ::
:: Gothic Theatre :: August 9 ::

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