2015 has been quite a year for The Rentiers' Joel Tannenbaum. First the band released their excellent debut Here is a List of Things That Exist in the spring, his other band Plow United released a couple of new split EPs, The Rentiers returned with the stupidly catchy single “We Don't Cry,” and he is closing out the year with the release of the Black Metal Yoga EP. The two song 7 inch release (three song if you get the cassette) is classic Rentiers'. Sure it might be a bit silly to refer to the sound of a release as classic for a band that just debuted earlier this year, but it's true. The Rentiers have a very distinct, quirky, indie punky pop rock sound that is not only undeniable but completely unmistakable and all their own. Tannenbaum has always been a great songwriter (check out his other project Ex Friends for further examples) but he truly shines in The Rentiers.
Produced and arranged by Seth Kauffman Black Metal Yoga brings even deeper melody and an expanded landscape to the table. Joined again by Mikey Erg (The Ergs!) and Anika Pyle (Chumped), the album was completed and mixed in APT Studios in Manhattan by Jason Agel. The result is a fluid and dynamic record that defies expectations while holding on to the vibe and essence that made Here is a List of Things That Exist and “We Don't Cry” so incredibly good. The EPs title track is a cleverly crafted number about making the most out of life no matter what –
Whatever keeps you out of the academy, man,
just grab it and hold on to it with both hands.
It doesn't have to make sense.
It doesn't have to be good.
We're doing black metal yoga in our neighborhood.
Whatever keeps you out of a cubicle, girl,
just hold onto it like it's the end of the world.
It doesn't have to be cool.
It doesn't have to be green.
Black metal yoga is a legitimate scene.
Whatever keeps you out of the hospital my friend,
just grab it and hold on to it right until the end.
It doesn't have to be real,
it doesn't have to be right,
if black metal yoga helps you sleep through the night.
Whatever gets you out of this terrible place,
just grab it and let it lift you right into space.
You'll arrive back on Earth wearing fingerless gloves,
preaching black metal yoga and a message of love.
The b-side is the reggae inspired “Drunks and Stones” a song that deals with conflict and confusion that slides in a reference to the Temple of Doom.
This EP does what all great EPs should do—it leaves you wanting more. The Rentiers have made a huge splash in 2015 with three superb releases; here's to hoping for an equally productive and successful 2016. I know I'm eagerly awaiting what comes next.