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Thanks to the tastemaking capacity of My Space and Live Journal, the band’s 2005 self-titled debut album generated some serious blog buzz, making the Philly/Brooklyn-based fivepiece a college radio favorite without a record label.

The Rentals may appear unsophisticated compared to current buzz bands that incorporate dense layers of electronics into their music, but Sharp’s pet project remains goofy, charming, and most importantly, a lot of fun. He was once the group’s sax player, but Chenier now uses his deep voice for singing and his hands for working the squeezebox.

The group’s songbook covers speedy zydeco, slower blues, rockin’ boogie, and waltzes.

They were signed to a Detroit label in 1976, recorded and released two singles, and then disbanded in 1977.

Over the 35 years that followed, the band’s records mysteriously started popping up in record stores and at garage sales across the country, and Death gained a cult-like following.

You shivered in thick sweaters because your roommates were too cheap to turn up the heat; here’s your time to stroll in the sunshine at a festival or street fair.

You rode three different buses to show up for that art opening on the darkest day of the year; reward yourself with a long, breezy bike ride to a gallery you’ve never seen before.

Twenty years ago, the Rentals, fronted by former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp, scored a modern rock hit with the buoyant singalong “Friends Of P.” The Rentals failed to find continued mainstream success in the same way Rivers Cuomo and Weezer did, but the band developed a cult following as its Moog-heavy power-pop confections aged.

Last year, the group released, but tight session drumming by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys and vocal features from Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius help add new levels of clarity and variation to his concise, bright arrangements. Chenier has been playing accordion with the Red Hot Louisiana Band since 1987, when he took over for his late father, “King of Zydeco” Clifton Chenier.

But he sure was Italian, which I guess counts as swarthy.

Swarthiness apparently makes Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos the new standard bearer of masculinity among violinists, here to wrest the instrument from the clutches of today’s mostly “pale, female, and sylph-like” soloists, along with a few introverted, elf-like girlie-men.

If that piece is any indication, Saariaho’s music can be hard to wrap one’s head around.

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