The Rentals share new single ‘Conspiracy’

Matt Sharp press photo
Photo Credit: Dirk Mai

The Rentals have shared a new track titled Conspiracy, the catchiest, most paranoia-laden pop song you are bound to hear in 2020. Watch the video for the track via YouTube below.

As the new single from The Rentals’ epic, outer space-themed double album ‘Q36’ opens, a couple of acoustic guitars and George Jetson-grade synthesizers set the table for a massive, monster drum loop that’s been given the full Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT) bombastic crush. Moments later, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) drifts in from somewhere far off in the distance, creating new worlds for earthlings to inhabit with the expanse of his signature, cinematic guitar style. Meanwhile, The Gentle Assassins Choir dynamically lifts each and every one of the song’s three choruses. Ronnie Vannucci’s (The Killers) spastic little blasts of hyperkinetic drum fills break through all of this beautiful chaos. As Vanucci does with his day job, he provides an explosive flair that propels all of the melodic hooks forward with the urgency of a double agent spy holding extraterrestrial government secrets.

With only a $150 camcorder and a large black bedsheet, the video was made the only way it could be in these self-quarantined times we are all living in. Matt Sharp, the group’s founding musical architect and lead singer, used whatever he could find lying around the house to create this one-take, uncut performance that accompanies a non-stop flurry of one-second newsreel images featuring just about every conspiracy logged into the endless back pages of Reddit’s most popular message boards. QAnon, Bigfoot, Roswell, Flat Earthers, Lizard People, and countless other conspiracies flow in an endless stream of radical beliefs.

The song’s playful lyrics are imaginatively sung from the point of view of the recently deceased, infamous ‘Coast To Coast’ AM radio broadcaster Art Bell, as he listens to a series of random callers expound on what many might consider out-there theories.

Sharp explains, “Some time ago, on a tour of very small solo concerts, I found myself making those long, late night drives that every independent musician is familiar with, just traveling from one gig to the next. After almost every show, sometime around midnight driving down the open, barren highways, this comforting voice would keep me company through paper-thin frequencies of the intermittent, AM radio transmissions. Art Bell would stay with me all the way into the wee hours of the morning keeping me awake talking about global superstorms and ghost stories, while occasionally trying to sell me a HAM Radio or an end of the world survival kit.”

Sharp continues, “Art would listen to everyone from storm chasers to alien abductees, real-life rocket scientists to government officials and sometimes just a half-baked vagabond trying to evade the C.I.A. calling from a payphone on some random, desolate street corner. Throughout all these conversations, he kept the same open-minded, even-keeled, intellectually curious tone. No matter how fantastical a yarn the callers were spinning, Art never mocked them or replied with condescension. If you worked for NASA or were calling from your mom’s basement with a tin foil hat, he gave each guest an equal amount of respect, and to me, that was his unique gift.”

Conspiracy was born out of the memories of those late-night hauls with Art Bell riding shotgun. The premise of the song is simple: Art Bell opens his phone lines to listen to his callers, as they broadcast their fantastical theories from coast to coast.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Bell died of an accidental overdose from a cocktail of prescription drugs. The coroner’s office determined he had four prescription medications in his system. In the early stages of the song’s production, while Mr. Bell was still alive, Sharp hung a picture of Bell in the middle of a futuristic looking lamp that rests in the corner of his small home studio as a reminder to try to approach the song with the same gracious, open-minded manner of this reluctant cult hero of late-night radio. “During the recording, I would daydream about being able to share the song with both Art and his audience because, as I’m sure he already knew, somewhere in time, his companionship saved so many of us from driving all the way off the road, in the middle of the night,” Sharp says.