If you follow Philly electropop duo City Rain on any of their outposts in the online social media world, you know they’re a pair of ridiculous characters. Unsurprisingly, their personas outside of the matrix are more or less the same; wired, excited, unable to focus on one thing for more than 30 seconds or so. I kid, of course, but Ben Runyan and Jarrett Zerrer are serious balls of creative energy – and when they recorded their Key Studio Session last month, it became clear that the music they make suits them perfectly. “Creepin'” phases up and down in Depeche Mode vibeyness, and then Runyan takes a 180-degree turn and vocally flips out on “Watch Out” and “Don’t Stay Inside.” He’s got an intense delivery, and actually loses his breath at one point, but what are you going to when you’ve got beats copped from Moby’s “Body Rock” goading you on? Elsewhere, on the unreleased instrumental number “The Night Mary Beat Me,” he wails away on sampler tweakiness while Zerrer holds down a steady center, grooving along with his guitar. That’s the thing: as hyper as their music can be, City Rain has an impressive ability to streamline when they need to, something best exhibited here on a reinterpretation of their single “I’m Gone.” Normally punchy and pulsing, the song is rendered minimally with atmospheric synth lines and a Springsteenian rockabilly lick, bringing the thoughtful post-abandonment lyrics to the forefront. Stream and download the session below, and check out a few videos of the performance filmed by Philly photographer Sarah Fry.
City Rain, The Key Studio Sessions