Last night Ben Runyan and Scott Cumpstone celebrated the release of City Rain‘s new single, “The Optimist,” and the release of its music video that has racked up some 96,000 views since its release last Thursday. Set in the upstairs Victorian Dining Room at the North Star Bar, the show found the duo reinventing a short set of five songs in a hushed, contemplative and intimate mode. Candles were lit on the table up front, family photographs filled the room and Runyan played stripped-down renditions of “Watch Out,” “How Do You Like Me Now?,” “Real Good,” “Wife With A Knife” and the title track, “The Optimist,” which you can watch a video of below.
Local electro-pop project City Rain play a free record release show at North Star Bar‘s Victorian Dining Room tonight. The show is in celebration of City Rain’s new single “The Optimist” (which we got a preview of a few weeks ago) and the song’s video, which was premiered last week. Despite City Rain’s usual stage presence of big sound and intricate layers, frontman Ben Runyan said the duo will strip down their production a bit for the intimate show tonight. More information for the free show can be found here. Watch the new video for “The Optimist” below followed by a clip of Runyan’s recent appearance on XPN’s Philly Local Show.
With the release of City Rain’s new single “The Optimist” imminent, the duo today premiered a new music video for the song over at EDM website Magnetic Magazine. It’s a step forward from their previous video efforts – “I’m Gone” leaned more towards lo-fi goofiness (frontman Ben Runyan and former guitarist Jarrett Zerrer riding around West Chester on the back of a truck), while “Montage” was a brilliant slash of New Wave color and light reminiscent of 80s MTV.
By comparison, “The Optimist,” filmed in the streets and rooftops of Port Richmond by local videographer Simon Rogers, seems suited for multiplex screens. Tracing the song’s motivational message of pulling oneself up from distress and despair and finding your own path in life, it opens with Runyan literally at rock bottom and regaining his footing by chasing after the video’s female lead – who may be a love interest, or may be a metaphor for happiness and self-fullfillment. From Magnetic Mag:
Love and Loss in the Recession, “The Optimist,” is the human condition as told though the eyes of the young men of City Rain. While every person has the capability to create his or her own personal hell, there is inversely their capability to manifest redemption. “The Optimist” is the story of the way back.
You can watch the video for “The Optimist” below, and see it in person on a big (ish) screen at the release party / viewing party this Monday, May 27th, when City Rain’s appearance at the North Star Bar’s Victorian Dining Room series. The free concert series tends to showcase acoustic / stripped down / rearranged performances by local acts, and when Runyan appeared on XPN’s Philly Local Show this week, he said that City Rain would pull back from its normally bracing performances to a more hushed, intimate vibe to suit the room. More information at the North Star’s website.
Tomorrow brings the official release of the album the internet has been eagerly anticipating since a 16-second ad aired without fanfare during a March episode of SNL. Random Access Memories, the latest from French discotronic duo Daft Punk, has been streaming on iTunes since last Wednesday, and its lead single – the pop earworm “Get Lucky,” sung by the ever-charismatic Pharrell – has been bumping the XPN airwaves since last month.
But what about the album beyond that? There’s a lot of hype and excitement in the air for it, but hype doesn’t always equate to quality. Sure, the duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter released the trend-setting 1997 album Homework and the irresistible Discovery in 2001. And yeah, James Murphy name-checked them in that song title that one time. But less discussed is the uneven 2005 effort Human After All, or the Tron soundtrack.
Does Random Access Memories hold up? Is it a new chapter in dance music and a return to glory for these mysteriously helmet-clad techno-heads? Or is it a bunch of bluster that will breeze away with the next album-of-the-minute? We asked a handful of Philly’s own electronic music heads – from Chris Powell of Spaceship Aloha and Man Man to DJ Apt One- for their thoughts on Random Access Memories, and got a variety of responses. Check them out below. Continue reading →
Philly electronic pop project City Rain continues to evolve. After several months of alternating betweem solo performances by DJ and singer Ben Runyan with duo shows featuring old guitarist Jarrett Zerrer, the band today confirmed the split of the founding duo and introduced new guitarist Scott Cumpstone.
“Scott has been helping me write the [forthcoming] Optimist record,” Runyan wrote on Facebook. “As well as its subsequent cousin that will be coming out later this year.”
The Optimist will be out May 14th, and Runyan writes a music video is nearing completion for an early May release. While the single proper has not yet been released, City Rain is holding a remix contest for the song. You can listen to and download the stem files below.
New York experimental rock band Psychic Ills headline Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The psychedelic-infused outfit recalls the distorted and distressed, laidback sound of early Kurt Vile with lo-fi vocals and hypnotic arrangements that seem on the verge of exploding. Psychic Ills will be releasing One Track Mind on February 19th via Sacred Bones Records, following up 2011′s Hazed Dream. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Nothing and Mike Bruno & The Black Magic Family Band can be found here. Stream “Might Take A While” from the upcoming record below.
The WXPN Local Twelve Days of Christmas might have wrapped up as of Friday, but we have a few more bonus stocking stuffers up our sleeves to carry you through to Christmas Day. Today, we’ve got a track submitted by City Rain called “Goodnight Moon.” While not overtly holiday-specific, the warm tones and gentle beat of “Goodnight Moon” seem as an appropriate fit as any for this time of year. Besides, it’s named for a children’s book a few of us might have gotten wrapped up under the tree at some point in out lives, right? Download it below.