Top 40 Before 40 Rock Artists - #24 - The Rentals

Okay, I know I said that the last band on this list might be the most obscure on this list, but I forgot that I put The Rentals at #24. 

This band is utterly an uncompromising art project that always satisfies my ears and eyes any time they release something.

If creativity were something you could bottle, I would first start by telling frontman, Matt Sharp, to start producing it for the rest of the world.

For those of you who are just joining this list at this point, let me give a quick summary below:

  • In my almost 40 years on this planet, I have had the great pleasure of listening to a lot of music that doesn't make it to the airwaves, and a lot of these bands are some of my absolute favorites.
  • You WILL see some Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame bands on the list too, but for the most part, you are likely going to disagree with this list almost entirely.
  • I am sharing this ranking so that you get some insight into some great bands you may have never heard before AND for a little bit of a personal challenge to myself to rank these bands.

With that said, let's get to #24 on my Top 40 List Before 40:

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Photo from The Rentals promotional material on the band's official Facebook page (photographer unnamed)

#24 - The Rentals

The first time I heard of The Rentals was in anticipation of the first album ironically named The Return of the Rentals (not sure where they returned from though).

The reason I was anticipating it was because Matt Sharp was the original bassist for Weezer which during the 1990’s was my absolute favorite band.

However, once Sharp continued on with The Rentals, he left Weezer, and a lot of hardcore Weezer fans (myself included) believe that was the worst thing that happened to Weezer creatively.

Spoiler alert, I actually have Weezer higher on this list than The Rentals, but it is mostly to do with Matt Sharp’s involvement in the early albums which were some of the best rock albums of all time.

Now that aside, The Rentals absolutely stand on their own, and though they have only released 4 full-length albums in 25 or so years, they also have released a ton of side projects, EP’s and even a 4 part multimedia project entitled Songs About Time that was just spectacular.

We nominated their latest album, Q36, for the award of best album of 2020, and if it weren’t for The Strokes putting out an absolute great album, they may have well won. It was a close race between a few of the nominees.

For my money, you can’t beat this band out for chilled out, artful, and enjoyable listening. I would venture to say that there are VERY few people who still follow and listen to The Rentals, but I am always looking for another return from them (just like they did in 1995 on their debut album).

Just a fun fact for anyone who doesn’t know, Maya Rudolph (yes, the former Saturday Night Live cast member and current Kamala Harris impersonating comedian) was actually in The Rentals for a few years. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

I highly recommend their whole catalog, and if you can track down the Songs About Time albums/songs, definitely give it a listen/watch as it has a lot of personal intimacy in it and should give a new perspective to their creative process.

Similar Artists That I Recommend That Didn't Make The Top 40:

Coconut Records, Grouplove, Cage the Elephant

<-- Check out #25 on this list or Check out #23 on this list → (Available Mar. 16, 2021)