The Rentiers | Photo by John VetteseI kept getting titles and lyrics wrong when The Rentiers recorded a Key Session with me this month, so much that frontman Joel Tannenbaum felt the need to apologize. “Everything winds up being word games with me,” he said.

On the contrary, his way with words are exactly what make The Rentiers a band to hear. Tannenbaum, an occasional contributor to The Key, crafts lyrics filled with clever observations and honest, true-to-life narratives. “Jessica and Dan and a Cat Named Bolt-Thrower,” which opened their set, follows a suburban young couple on shoestring as they put one foot in front of another and start a life with a cat they adopted at a gas station, hoping for a job at the Elmwood Park Zoo come spring. “Drunks and Stoners” pits punks against hippies in a battle of countercultures that are more similar than either would probably care to admit. And “Hang Out or Die Trying” envisions the reunion of a once tight-knit group or DIY creatives who have all ventured their separate paths into adulthood.

Rentiers gigs are few and far between and they have nothing on the calendar at present, but this lineup – drummer Justin Staller and singer / omnichordist / flautist Stephanie Berliner – is ace, hitting on moments that are both Billy Bragg and Belle and Sebastian. Stream and download their Key Session below and be on the lookout for the new Black Metal Yoga 7″, which you can preorder here via Baldy Long Hair Records.