Joel Tannenbaum of Plow United, also an ex Ex-Friend and current Rentier, has again teamed up with Anika Pyle (Chumped, Katie Ellen), Mikey Erg (every band playing Fest every year), and Seth Kauffman (Floating Action) to release a follow up to their debut release, Things That Exist. Just before 2015 is up, The Rentiers bring us, Black Metal Yoga, where the album artwork is as gnarly as the title.
“Black Metal Yoga” starts with a nubby bass line, which leads us into Tannenbaum’s “whatever keeps you out of the academy man.” Sci Fi lyrics dress up a message of do what you want to do. School and work are enticing with their stability and societal acceptability, but they don’t always have what you need to be happy, or even complacent. You might look silly wearing fingerless gloves while practicing black metal yoga, but if that’s what you love and who you are, that’s what you do.
It’s the musical successor to “I Can Picture Margaret Stackhouse” from Things That Exist, but with less synth, more Anika, and spacey guitar to match the spacey theme.
I was SHOCKED that track 2, “Drunks and Stoners,” is a straight up ska/rock steady jam. I’m exposed to a fair amount of ska, and this track knocks it out of the park. Just the right amount of reverb on everything, and just the right amount of observation and apathy in the lyrics. It’s like a light buzz at a post college party, where everyone else is obliterated, and you’re waiting to see if everyone can keep it together or things will turn ugly. You’re not terribly invested either way.
“Black Metal Yoga” and “Drunks and Stoners” aren’t a conventional pairing. You wouldn’t expect to hear them on the same release, or from the same band, but it’s nice variety for a 2 song release. It’s like seeing NOFX at Bonnaroo. You didn’t come to Bonnaroo to see NOFX, and you didn’t expect to see NOFX at Bonnaroo. But you’re not mad about it.