City Rain
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City Rain

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Pop EDM




"Philadelphia Band City Rain Wins MTVU’s The Freshmen Competition, Music Video for The Optimist Now in Full Rotation on MTVU"

Philadelphia, PA – (January 10, 2014) Philadelphia’s own City Rain came in first place during last week’s MTVU The Freshmen Competition. Per MTVU’s website, “Pretty intense voting for City Rain, TaySauna and Markell Clay on this round of The Freshmen with Philly’s City Rain and their cinematic video coming out on top in the end. “The Optimist” will be added into full rotation next week…” The music video for City Rain’s single ,“The Optimist,” will air 20-30 times per week on MTVU’s Cum Laude tier and will reach an audience that includes over 750 colleges and universities across the US, as well as registered cable MTVU subscribers. City Rain would like to send out a heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported them last week by voting on MTVU’s website. Isaac Gordon, owner of Monster Entertainment, City Rain’s management company, stated, “This is a huge win for Philly and a huge win for City Rain. Thank you to all who voted. We truly owe this victory to our supporters.” - Vents Mag

"City Rain - Kings Of A&R"

Philadelphia’s electro-pop duo, City Rain is creating a buzz. The band’s first single, “The Optimist,” had its video premiere on Magnetic Magazine. The follow up single, “Join The Human Race” recently premiered its video on Artist Direct. Both singles are a part of the band’s forthcoming, full length LP entitled, Songs for a High School Dance, due out in 2014. The band has shared the stage with Capital Cities, Brick & Mortar, Lumineers, among others. - Kings Of A&R

"City Rain hopes to storm the local music scene – Wyndmoor area pop music MTV duo a huge YouTube hit"

Springfield Township natives Ben Runyan, 26, and Scott Cumpstone, 27, are the musical magicians behind City Rain, an electro-pop duo who have become a buzz-worthy duo throughout the Philadelphia region and beyond. Both work full-time jobs during the day, but after work they break away from the “real world” to work towards their dream. The group’s hit single and video, “The Optimist,” has over 211,000 views and counting on YouTube. It has been voted to be featured on MTV’s college-oriented channel mtvU. - Chestnut Hill Local

"MTVU Freshmen Winner"

Pretty intense voting for City Rain, TaySauna and Markell Clay on this round of The Freshmen with Philly’s City Rain and their cinematic video coming out on top in the end. “The Optimist” will be added into full rotation next week and thanks to all the bands and fans who voted this round. - MTVU

"Soundtrack MTV Catfish S03E06"

City Rain – “The Optimist”
Nev and Max meet with John and discuss their findings on Kelsey - MTV

"What was the best new song you heard in 2013?"

With the year winding down, we’ve reached the point of reflection and retrospection. Looking back on the new music of 2013 and pondering what was tops – not just in terms of a full album, but in terms of just pure songwriting. - WXPN

"City Rain- Waiting On A Feeling"

On May 6th, Philadelphia’s City Rain will complete another chapter in their long journey

from bedroom recordings to the national stage with the release of their new album Songs

For A High School Dance. “Waiting On A Feeling” comes out of the gates with a slow

simmer gently waiting to boil over until the 0:43 mark where it explodes with a big wall

of sound, swallowing the listener with it’s triumphant, smile-inducing reverb. It’s

electronic rock that’s meant to be played at max volume with your fists high in the air

and plenty of room for dancing. - All Things Go

"Daily Downloads"

Today's free and legal mp3 downloads: - Large Hearted Boy

"Join The Human Race (Kofa) - Premiere"

City Rain's video was made independently by an online fan who is also a


City Rain's Join the Human Race, premiering exclusively at USA TODAY,

was independently created by Kofa Boyah, "a Los Angeles based multi-
faceted artist," according to his website. - USA Today

"Stream City Rain’s Song for a High School Dance"

The Artist: Philadelphia-based indie-
electro rockers City Rain

The Album: Songs For A High School
Dance, out May 6th. Watch the band

discuss each track from the album below.

Fun Fact: The band’s video for their track

“The Optimist” was recently nominated

for an Independent Music Award for

artistic direction.

Songwriter Says: “Songs For A High

School Dance captures the youthful fervor

of a world wide open,” the band says.

“After the seemingly never ending ambiguity of the postcollege life, Songs For A High

School Dance finds the listener with hope, purpose, and a reclamation of identity.” - American Songwriter

"City Rain"

USA Today - The electro-pop duo highlight a still-growing electronic music scene in Philadelphia. Ben Runyan and Jarrett Zerrer produce accessible electornic music without relying too heavily on generic hooks and catchy refrains. Over the last two years, they’ve released a full-length and two EPs, including the Montage EP in August, and have earned city-wide acclaim thanks to their dedication and talent. Their biggest year yet was 2012, with an appearance at WXPN’s annual summer XPoNential music festival and growing national attention. Catch them next opening for Young London at Kung Fu Necktie on Dec. 28. - USA Today

"City Rain: “Join the Human Race”"

Fourculture is asking you to “Join the Human Race” and presents to you the newest video from City Rain. We love City Rain, who we featured in our September/October 2012 issue, and the video just makes us fall deeper. “Join the Human Race” is the follow up single to “The Optimist”, but keep your ears (and eyes) open for the release of the full length album coming later this year/early 2014. Until then come and “Join the Human Race” so we can all get swept away on a melodic love cloud together. - Fourculture

"Premiere: City Rain – The Optimist"

City Rain is comprised of Ben Runyan and Scott Cumpstone, and the concept of their newest song, which we are ecstatic to be premiering, is one for the ages. “The Optimist” tells the classic tale of personal tragedy leading to spiritual triumph. After losing the love of his life, losing two of his close friends, and struggling with unemployment in an unforgiving recession, Runyan met Cumpstone, a fellow Temple University graduate and working musician. The two formed City Rain and came up with this idea. In the band’s own words, “While every man 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.” As this song begins, it immediately thrusts you into a realm of ferocious positivity and daring realism behind synths that build stadiums and tear them down in a single powerful wave. It is music that makes you feel things and see paint splashing against a blank canvas. This is why I do what I do. - Sunset in the Rearview

"City Rain – The Optimist"

Almost two years ago exactly, I was introduced to City Rain through DJ B-Rob. “I’m Gone” was a completely unique approach to synth pop/rock, and from the first listen it was obvious that it had a slew of promising traits.

A lot has happened for the band since then. For one, there was a band member switch-up since the hilarious interview they gave us in that random park in Philadelphia. It’s still Ben’s brainchild, but he’s brought Scott Cumpstone on board and Jarrett Zerrer has moved on to other endeavors. Secondly, they’ve been playing a shit ton of shows, opening up for acts like Capital Cities and the like all over the east coast. It’s been a grind the whole way, but uplifting songs like “The Optimist” are a perfect representation of why it’s all worth it.

Sunset In The Rearview with the premiere. - The Chuckness

"Watch City Rain’s cinematic music video for “The Optimist”"

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. - WXPN

"Exclusive Video Premiere: City Rain, "Join the Human Race""

ARTISTdirect has teamed up with City Rain --Ben Runyan and Scott Cumpstone—to premiere their music video for "Join the Human Race."

The song appears on Songs for a High School Dance.

"Join the Human Race," the big brother of the Optimist, is a story about ordinary people. Un-special people. Human beings. Heartbreakers. Blue Collar workers, poets, doctors, husbands, wives, students. It's for the nerds, the bullied, the Goths and the preps. The loners, the life of the party, the guy who sits in the corner Because it is among all those types, that we find the old souls in search of a childhood incomplete. A mission unfulfilled. And a dream worth dreaming is what the band told us about the song and the video.

Chew on that while you watch the video. - Artist Direct

"City Rain “The Optimist” Official Video?"

Monster Entertainment is proud to bring to you City Rain’s “The Optimist” Official Music VideoEarlier today, Indie Electro band City Rain released the official music video for their latest single “The Optimist.”The video premiered via Magnetic Magazine, an Electronic Music Culture News Blog. We agree with Magnetic, it’s truly a beautiful and inspiring music video. Check it out below!

City Rain I-M The OptimistAlso, hot off the presses, a teaser video for the band’s upcoming release show Memorial Day evening at Northstar Bar in Philly. The band will play a stripped down, acoustic set in the venue’s historic Victorian Ballroom. This is a free show! - Vents Magazine

"Watch – Exclusive Video Premiere: City Rain’s “The Optimist”"

Indie Electro band City Rain deliver a beautiful and inspiring music video for their catchy tune “The Optimist.”

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.

Having graduated from Temple University in 2009, Ben Runyan and Scott Cumpstone lived two very different lives but were on a path to a familiar place. Ben was starting the City Rain moniker playing hipster nodding electronic shows, while Scott was busy treating the pop rock circuit to his brand of guitar. Between then, and the Optimist, Runyan would lose the love of this short life, lose two close friends, have his brain fried after twelve years of SSRI use, lose two jobs, work three, and all the while build his name. Despite it all, he kicked the can far enough down the road to meet Cumpstone at distinctly the right moment. Forming the new duo in late 2012, “The Optimist” was born. It was born knowing that we are all terminal. But despite the fate of our demise, we find one thing to recognize. It’s our fulfillment. - Magnetic Magazine

"City Rain - This I Will Remember LP: Textura Review"

Anyone thinking the IDM-electronica genre's played out need only listen to City Rain's This I Will Remember to start believing otherwise. On this svelte thirty-four-minute set, Philadelphian Benjamin Runyan invests his polished tracks with so much jubilant spirit and bounce that nay-sayers may find themselves having second thoughts. If the music exudes a stronger emotional pull than is usual for the genre, it may be because Runyan designed the album to chronicle the longing felt by one enduring a three-month wait for an overseas partner. Joy, melancholy, and wistfulness pervade the material, making it easy, for example, to hear the anguish of long-distance longing at one moment and the joy romance brings in another. Quirky cuts such as “Wow That Was Boring” and “This I Will Remember Pt. 1” showcase slinky rhythms, burbling keyboards, and sleek synthesizer melodies while “This I Will Remember Pt. 2” opts for beatless melancholia and “Just Got Off the Phone with You” deftly works a sprinkling of funk into the mix. Runyan humanizes his music's electronics and tight beat programming with the repeated addition of acoustic guitar; take away that element and City Rain's style could sit rather comfortably alongside that of fellow “robot-music” practitioners Solvent and Lowfish. - Textura

"City Rain - This I Will Remember LP: [sic] Magazine Review"

It was just over a year ago when I reviewed City Rain’s ‘Light Turned On’; a compelling mix of melodic electronic music, acoustic guitars and samples. Created by Philadelphia’s Ben Runyan, the artist created admirably warm instrumental music to provide comfort in the wee small hours. ‘This I Will Remember’ runs along a similar theme and is another record which took its time to grow on me.

An acoustic guitar is intertwined with vintage techno for the somewhat self-deprecating ‘Wow That Was Boring’. It’s a device which Runyan is fond of repeating throughout and since he excels at it, he would be mad to stop. His approach to melody is also well calculated with inventive arrangements. Whilst so many of his contemporaries seem to be trying to “out-glitch” each other, Runyan keeps things minimal and uncluttered and his music is all the better for it.

‘Try To Understand’ and the moody ‘Skyscraper’ are superbly constructed, ‘Buon Giorno Sleepasaur’ reminded me of Junior Boys minus the vocals and Parts 1 and 2 of the title track capture the essence of inner city melancholia. Even lesser efforts like the robotic disco of ‘Have Them Come Wait’ are fun to listen to.

With ‘This I Will Remember’, Runyan has proved that his last release was no fluke. Runyan won’t be the first to emulate nocturnal loneliness via the medium of electronica but rarely has this been evoked in such a seamless and flab-free way.

Listen - [sic] Magazine

"LIVE AT FIVE: City Rain"

Philadelphia's own City Rain came back today! So good to have them back in the studio! This duo is really turning some heads with "The Optimist" This one is just a single but they have 3 EPs under their belt-planning a full length in the fall.

Don't miss their show on June 20th at Milkboy Philly!

Such a great video. Is there an optimist in you?

Wendy Rollins from 104.5 Philadelphia: “City Rain is Philly’s hottest unsigned talent” - Radio 104.5 WRFF

"VEVO Feature and VEVO Indie Playlist"

City Rain's Music Video for "The Optimist," featured on VEVO June 14, 2013. - VEVO

"City Rain Interview!"

We caught up with Ben Runyan and Jarrett Zerrer, the entertaining, quirky, and extremely talented duo responsible for the self described “bipolar, “restraining-order” rock” band City Rain-check it out below!

Infectious Magazine: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to do this! You’ve said a lot of your songs are about escaping your hometown and so you naturally gravitate to just outside of it. What do you think living in Philadelphia has contributed to your songs?

Ben Runyan – Well, considering I was born here, I suppose there is a natural tendency to be a bit jaded. That aside, I hate this place. Where do I even begin? The crime, the poverty, traffic on I-76 and I-95 or the general disconnect of the public to the city… I swear to God, everyone is on Xanax in this town. It baffles the mind. Sometimes I feel like I am the only person that is awake and has their shit together… I still love cheesesteaks, the Eagles and the Phillies. I will never stop being a Philly sports fan. And when we win the World Series this year, I WILL be rioting.
Jarrett Zerrer – We’ve fucking grown up here, gone to school here, gotten arrested here…
Infectious Magazine: Let’s talk about your video for “I’m Gone.” (How could we not?!) Why a sombrero, why shirtless, and did the cars in several of the scenes have any idea what was going on?!

Ben Runyan – The sombrero was Red Beard’s idea [Jarrett]. I don’t know where the hell he thought that one up, but it was obviously genius. Jarrett and the video guy, Tom Quigley, had all the communication beforehand, and I just went along with it. As for the shirtless thing, that has really become our shtick. Whenever we play live, people ultimately demand that the shirts come off. We oblige…
Jarrett Zerrer– Usually when we do any video, we don’t think about what we are about to do. That goes for photos as well. We just DO what we DO. We actually got nothing but support in the towns we went through. The McDonalds part was a riot.
Infectious Magazine: You guys have said you enjoy freaking people out/the attention that making your video “I’m Gone” brought-so what can fans expect from a live show experience?

Ben Runyan: Fact of the matter is, shit’s gonna get weird. Either the shirts are coming off or I am picking someone out in the crowd that is spacing out, and calling them out. I’ve had Jarrett draw on me with a Sharpie a few times, and there have been a few other strange occurrences. We don’t do this for gimmick – I do this because I have suppressed my weirdness most of my life because I needed to be gainfully employed, and not go to jail… Now that I CAN do this, I am letting the psychosis out!
Jarrett Zerrer: I personally enjoy it when Ben pours beer on my head in the middle of a song (rolls eyes). Or when I am about to rip a solo and Ben shoves me to the ground… You can really get a sense of the feeling of how we are feeling the day of the show when we come on stage. We like to share that feeling, whatever it may be, with the crowd.

Infectious Magazine: From the looks of your promo shots for your LP “Don’t Stay Inside” you guys had a pretty memorable time. How was the public’s reaction to all your seemingly crazy antics?

Ben Runyan: My whole idea was to get naked in public. I accomplished that with flying colors. Jarrett really didn’t want any part of that… Can’t imagine why… As usual, Jarrett came with the goodies and ideas, a la the guitar, a compound bow that we didn’t use, the bat and the amp. When he opened up the trunk on the day of the shoot, I said “Jesus, if a cop pulled us over this would look SO bad”. Another genius idea from Jarrett that I couldn’t have thought of.

Jarrett Zerrer: Much like the “I’m Gone” video, we got nothing but support in Philly for the shoot. The whole idea is we don’t want to be part of this blasé drive to work and go home lifestyle and when we let it all loose in public, people really relate to that. People want to freak out. We had some European tourists taking pictures of us, and some construction workers egging us on as we destroyed shit. Some cops drove by as Ben was getting naked (we have a picture of that) and didn’t seem to care.
Infectious Magazine: Your music has been described several different ways by fans-how would you describe it?

Ben Runyan- If I really had to break it down. I would say its bipolar, “restraining-order” rock with an electronic backing that can come off really genuine sometimes…
Jarrett Zerrer: I don’t even know what going on half the time… Where are we? But seriously, when we get done recording a song, it’s cool to look back to see what we created. When we are in our element, we don’t always realize what we are doing…
Infectious Magazine: Likewise, what do you want people to think of when they hear the name “City Rain”?

Ben Runyan – Um… I guess I want them to understand that it’s ok to be nuts. In fact, we encourage it.
Jarrett Zerrer: That we are just two guys having a good time, but DEAT - Infectious Magazine

"Remaining Optimistic"

Ben Runyan is an optimist. Runyan is a musician. Runyan is a Temple alumn. Runyan is an Apple employee. Runyan is a survivor of post-antidepressant withdrawal. But above all, Runyan is an optimist.

Runyan, 26, is the frontman of the Philadelphia-based electro-pop duo City Rain. Although the band has been on the scene for the last three years, it truly began to gain notoriety with the release of its single, “The Optimist.” Along with a music video for the song that has more than 200,000 views on YouTube, “The Optimist” sparked a viral campaign that encouraged viewers to hold up a sign that declared in the same way that the song did that, “There’s an optimist in me.”

Runyan is looking to continue his motif of unbridled hope and positivity following palpable darkness with the Sept. 19 release of his latest song and music video, “Join The Human Race.”

“I like to think of it as the little or big brother of ‘The Optimist,’ I’m not sure which,” Runyan said.

The video, which was shot in Runyan’s childhood home in Chestnut Hill, is partially autobiographical.

“The video is about a boy who grows up and is very insulated and sheltered and is shown a selective view of the world. At the end, he breaks out with other people and is finally signing onto life,” Runyan said. “But I think the bigger message is about creativity in the music industry, and how the Internet and music technology have given tremendous opportunity to people that are creative, but maybe not in a traditional sense, [so they can] create things and to be noticed.

And I truly believe that you need to get out there, and you need to meet people,” Runyan said. “You have to listen to people, you have to look people in the eye, and you have to be a part of a group.”

City Rain is a band that has undergone several evolutions. The first iteration was a solo project of Runyan’s that was largely experimental and fully instrumental. City Rain first evolved with the addition of guitarist Jarrett Zerrer. After briefly flirting with the hipster-dance-party scene, City Rain morphed into the cinematic electro-pop rock duo that it is today. The final piece of the puzzle was a member change that saw Scott Cumpstone taking over guitar duties.

The City Rain of 2013 is one that is not privy to shying away from big hooks or cranking up the reverb.

“I kind of have a flare for the dramatic,” Runyan said.

And although he has aspirations of scoring movies and TV shows aside from City Rain, Runyan’s love of cinematics has become an integral part of the band.

“I enjoy doing the videos as much as I enjoy doing the music,” Runyan said. “That part is equally important. The visual concept of it is just as much fun.”

In addition to hearty portions of synth and vocal lines with the reverb cranked to level 12, another consistent theme of the music of City Rain is positivity. And although Runyan is in a good place now, he didn’t get there without first weathering a tumultuous adolescence.

Runyan was first put on prescription antidepressants at the age of 12.

“I think that common knowledge in the late 1990s and early 2000s dictated that if someone was creative or eccentric or whatever the buzzword is, whether it’s ADD, manic depression or bipolar, you’re labeled as that and given these drugs. And being young and impressionable, it’s easy to be like, ‘Oh, that’s just what I am, they’re doctors, of course they know right,’” he said.

The endgame of Runyan’s carousel with antidepressants was a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor called Lexapro.

“At the age of 23 I took myself off of those medications, and I had a pretty crazy withdrawal period,” Runyan said. “After being off them I went through a lot of physical changes where things kind of evened themselves out. But this was over the period of years. So it was really something that I felt like stripped away my identity and my humanity for a while, cognitively, emotionally and physically.”

Fortunately, he has found himself on the other side.

“A big part of my comeback story is the fact that it all kind of came back, and now I don’t need medication. I’m just Ben and I manage that the best that I can,” Runyan said.

“I was recently reading an article from Jeff Tweedy from Wilco about how he had fallen into this dynamic where he had felt compelled to [mess up] his own life to write good music. From watching documentaries about Marvin Gaye, he really truly believed that he needed to create this drama in and around his life.”

“Luckily for me, I found that the best music I’ve created has come through the other side of struggle and getting through struggle. So that bodes well for my career and my mental health as well,” Runyan said.

In addition to taking himself off medication, Runyan found catharsis through music. It was at Temple where Runyan, who previously had no musical experience outside of a short spat with the school band in the fourth grade, was introduced to FL Studio, commonl - The Temple News

"The Deli’s Featured Artist of the Month: City Rain"

Our last poll was the most intense ever between City Rain and Slutever so we thought that both bands definitely deserved to share some of the honors. Below is our Q&A with City Rain’s Ben Runyan and Jarrett Z. Take a gander at what drives the duo to do what they do, or you can just catch them live tonight at Tritone and ask them yourself.

The Deli: How did the band start?

Ben Runyan: Between a rock and a hard place - went to Temple University, broke up with girlfriends, jobless and on the down and out, we thought starting a band might be a good idea.

TD: Where did the band name City Rain come from?

Jarrett Z: City Rain was originally a solo project by Ben that consisted of downtempo electronic and dancefloor oriented techno. City Rain was a random song title.

TD: What are your biggest musical influences?

BR: Talking Heads first and foremost. David Byrne is my personal jesus. After that, everything from Alphaville (Marian Gold!) to Joy Division.

JZ: Neil Young, Pink Floyd, classic rock and that funky ball from outer space!

TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?

BR: Gary Glitter, Drums of Death and Helios.

JZ: Flaming Lips, Phoenix, Bill Withers.

TD: What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?

BR: Some Mariachi band in my hometown. Curtis Mayfield - Superfly

JZ: Probably that same Mariachi band. Dr. Dre - The Chronic 2001

TD: What do you love about Philly?

BR: The Broad Street Line.

JZ: The Broad Street Line.

TD: What do you hate about Philly?

BR: The Broad Street Line.

JZ: The Broad Street Line.

TD: What are your plans for 2011?

BR: Put out a free ambient/space jam EP and play at some festivals during the summer.

TD: What was your most memorable live show?

BR: Jonsi from Sigur Ros at the Electric Factory was UNREAL.

JZ: Radiohead and The Roots.

TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli?

BR: Meatballs.

JZ: Meatballs.

- The Deli Staff - The Deli

"Album Review: City Rain - I’m Gone"

How could I possibly introduce you to Philadelphia electronic surf group City Rain? The writings on their Bandcamp and Facebook pages suggest two very mellow, philosophical individuals (who, it should be noted, also seem to enjoy taking off their shirts). Mellowness is only half the equation of I’m Gone, though, a surprisingly focused set of songs that doesn’t let that get in the way of taking a few interesting roads.

But before we get to the end, we start at the beginning. The title track is a slight creation, but it serves as a fitting entry point into what City Rain are trying to achieve here. Mellow guitars are woven into a buzzing bed of electronics while the lyrics coming in hazily through filters and all sorts of production tricks, washing over the track in a dream-like trance.

The deeper into the five-track EP City Rain goes, though, the more confident they get. After the opener, we segue right into “How Do You Like Me Now?” Fittingly, this song sets a much more bombastic tone right off the bat, with thudding drums pounding their way through anarchic synths and confused guitar noodling. The interplay between word and sound increases the impact twofold, and the track takes some very twisty paths near the end which rival any highs Kyle Andrews has ever hit. The midpoint of the EP hits with “Watch Out”. Perhaps the best track here, it’s a constantly shifting, evolving beast of a track, effortlessly juggling rhythmic guitar with dark, sweeping electronics and later molding its ingredients into a slick, club-minded jammer.

The EP ends on a happier note than it begins on. “Digeridoo” takes a while to hit its stride (the electronics and acoustic don’t melt into each other as well as they’d like in the beginning), but once it settles in, it’s a warm and fuzzy turn on the sound we’ve been introduced to in the preceding three tracks. The usage of rawer, less hyper-produced vocals near the end is an interesting if not wholly convincing touch. Finale “Real Good” features perhaps the clearest, brightest production on the release and puts it to good use in an affirmation of finding happiness after the loss expressed throughout the previous four tracks.

For the restraint in instrumentation they exhibit here, City Rain has a surprisingly diverse palette of tones and tools at their disposal. The question remains if they can expand their playspace even further from here or if they’ll succumb to the fate of ghosts of indie electronic artists past. If I’m Gone is any indication, however, these guys are in it for the long haul.

7.5/10 - Absolute Punk

"Album Review: City Rain - Montage"

Imagine the ocean. In and out with great purpose, waves crash against the shore. The ebb and flow of the ocean changes in strength with the tides, growing large when the time is right, but easing back into its smaller yet confident motions in other moments. Farther out, the sun shines brightly overhead, reflecting against the waters with great sparkle and awe.

The growth in City Rain’s latest EP Montage resembles the progression of ocean tides in its musicality. Ben Runyan’s experimentation with synthesizers is ambitious, but the payoff is large.Montage’s biggest wonder is “Big Boys Do Cry”, a six-minute aural blast of whispers and crescendos that are just as affecting as the cries of Runyan as he sings, “Goddamnit, big boys do cry” before the simultaneous crashing of layered synths. In and out with volume and variety, City Rain gives listeners a real surf to ride.

With the help of guitarist Jarrett Zerrer, City Rain carries a formidable artillery of instruments at their expense for Montage, giving the record its tide-like appeal. The keyboards breathe life into “Heart’s On Fire”. As the piano sounds tickle the track, Runyan croons about resolve and resolution after reflecting upon what went awry when he was younger. Twinkly yet poignant, the record provides us a guilt-free synth-pop package of such experimental songs.

Lyrically, City Rain delivers stories about life’s realizations as men beyond their teenage years, where they’ve learned about the pains of growing up. Knowing what we know now about electronic dance music, it’s sometimes hard to take City Rain’s lyrical compositions seriously, especially when Runyan’s vocals are so distorted. Rarely is synth-pop and electronic rock associated with meaningful lyrical content because they’re preconceived as bouncy and buoyant. It’s a challenge to use these genres as a means of conveying something more personal, but it’s commendable that City Rain tries to ease us into the more touching, human capabilities of electronic music.

Montage is smart electronic music. With the current frenzy of artists who hugely depend on machines and computer programs, City Rain doesn’t succumb to the regularity and tedium that often plagues bands that follow trends. Together, Runyan and Zerer are a powerful duo because at the core, they are an experimental pair. Their instruments — the synthesizers, the distortion, and the sound effects — are merely tools to make great waves, but the water with which to make an ocean exists because City Rain has worthwhile stories to tell.

Essential Tracks: “Big Boys Do Cry”, “No Problems”

3 out of 5 stars - Consequence of Sound

"Video Premiere: City Rain, “Montage”"

The Story
Today we've got a premiere from dance-pop act City Rain. The video is for their song "Montage" from their upcoming eponymously named EP, out August 28. Combining twinkly keys with surf-rock guitars and etheral vocals, City Rain bring a unique feel to the electronic scene. Below you can check out a quote about the video from frontman Ben Runyan:

"When I wrote Montage I was thinking about everything that had happened in the first 25 years of my life and how I could sum that up in a song. The video was the really important part here and we wanted to show our progression from children to the men we are now. We sifted through photos of us as a kid and the idea was born. We could tell the story a bit like an 80s Montage!" - Alternative Press Magazine

"11 Pennsylvania Bands You Should Listen to Now"

The long stretch of Pennsylvania turnpike that takes you from Philly to Pittsburgh may be one of the most unexciting rides you’ll experience. But these two cities—as well as spots in between like Harrisburg or Lancaster—have no shortage of new, exciting bands to discover. Pennsylvania has it all: hip-hoppers, hard rockers, front-porch-folk rockers, indie rockers, dream weavers, power poppers, EDM’ers, and singers/songwriters galore. In alphabetical order, here are 11 Pennsylvania artists you need to know about.

2. City Rain
Hometown: Philadelphia
Members: Ben Runyan, Jarrett Zerrer
Album: Watch Out EP (out April 17th)
Within seconds of hearing City Rain’s catchy electronic synth-pop, it’s nearly impossible to not hit the dance floor without joyous abandonment. Runyan and Zerrer’s upbeat music brings to mind Depeche Mode, but with Zerrer on guitar, there’s a serious rock element in the mix. - Paste Magazine

"City Rain, ‘Real Good’ – Video of the Day"

Artist: City Rain
Video: ‘Real Good’
Highlight: “’Real Good’ started out as a bit of a joke. We had written nothing but sad songs and couldn’t take it any longer,” vocalist/keyboardist Ben Runyan tells Spinner. “We sat down and forced ourselves to write something happy! Thus you get ‘Real Good’. That kind of good where you tell yourself you are happy despite it all. During the only snowy day here in Philly we (including director and my girlfriend, Sarah Fry) went out with no plan and a video cam.”

“I had lived in Port Richmond aka The Northeast, which was the part of Philly we shot in. This is the real nitty gritty part of Philly where sports are religion and cheesesteaks are everything, car dealerships too. We knew we’d find people to oblige flipping us off for our brand of good. We get a lot of love these days for the vid. People always comment how good it makes them feel, and that makes us feel REAL good.” - AOL Music (Spinner)

"Free Beats"

Free Beats From Misser, Hesta Prynn, City Rain - G4TV

"City Rain’s new video for ‘Real Good’ a ‘love letter’ to Philly"

When Ben Runyan and Jarrett Zerrer set out to make a video for their maddeningly, purely, confusingly happy single “Real Good,” they wanted to create what they call a “love letter to Philly.”

Because they’re from here, this involved driving around the Northeast and asking packs of burly guys waiting for takeout sandwiches to flip them off for the video’s opening sequence.

“It wasn’t tough to get people to give us the middle finger — it was almost as if they were waiting to give it to somebody,” recalls Zerrer. “Nine times out of 10, they were so quick to oblige.”

After attending both Springfield High and Temple University together, Runyan and Zerrer formed electropop duo City Rain in 2010. Their latest EP, “I’m Gone,” was released in the fall, but it wasn’t until January’s lone snow day that they set out with director Sarah Fry, an adjunct photo professor at Temple, to shoot “Real Good.” With plenty of under-the-El dancing, some Phanatic tail action, backyard blunts and parking lot seagulls, it’s a fitting tribute to not only the bouncy, gritty optimism of the song, but to a city where there’s always an empty liquor bottle lying around for anyone in need of a makeshift microphone.

“Anybody that’s from Philadelphia, there’s a love-hate relationship,” says Runyan. “It can be a really dark place — you have your Edgar Allan Poes — and it can also be a wonderful place: There’s the ever-cheesy story of Rocky and breaking through. Times get rough, but the concept of a good here is a very real good.”

On location

Most of the video is shot in the Northeast. South Philly will want to put on earmuffs for Runyan’s explanation:

“We specifically went to the Northeast, because I think the Northeast is the most true Philadelphia. When the Phillies won the World Series the images I remember are of people celebrating on Cottman Ave., not on Broad Street.” - Metro


Still working on that hot first release.



Philadelphia's electro-pop band, City Rain, is comprised of Ben Runyan (vocals, keys, guitar), Scott Cumpstone (vocals, guitar) and Ross Robey (drums). City Rain is known for its high-energy live performance, thoughtful lyrics and artistically shot music videos. The band experienced instant acclaim as the cinematic music video for their first single, "The Optimist," landed on VEVO's Indie Playlist. The song spawned a worldwide social media movement as fans submitted pictures of themselves through social media with the popular tag #theresanoptimistinme, to increase mental health awareness while creating a sense of optimistic camaraderie between fans and the band. City Rain describes "The Optimist" as a "journey of love, loss, lessons, and ultimately, acceptance, and the story of the way back." The track steamrolled through the new year when the video won mtvU's The Freshmen contest in February, placing it in regular rotation on the network. Most recently, City Rain teamed up with MTV again when the song was fittingly featured on MTV's popular reality TV show, Catfish.


City Rain followed up The Optimist with "Join The Human Race," a story driven by Ben’s childhood and his journey growing up. The expressive music video features a young kid (Ben) facing the challenges of fitting in and being accepted. Inspired by the track, Los Angeles based multi-faceted artist, Kofa Boyah, reshot the music video in black and white to the story of a child from another world. Boyah's JTHR video premiered on USA Today. The entire full length LP entitled 'Songs for a High School Dance' was released in May with a first-listen premiere on American Songwriter. Songs from the project have seen radio spins across the nation from stations such as WRFF (Philadelphia), RIFF (Detroit), KACV (Texas), YNOT (Baltimore), and KTCL (Denver). Familiar with City Rain's heavy presence in Philadelphia, Josh Landow of FMQB recognized the band's latest success stating, "it became clear that it was time to reach beyond the city of brotherly love."


City Rain closed out 2014 with their final video/single from the album entitled “Hearts,” shot and directed by Kofa. “Hearts” premiered on WXPN’s The Key with the outlet stating the video carried “City Rain’s signature balance of real life anxiety and overwhelming optimism.”


Currently, City Rain is working on new material for an upcoming project that was kicked off by an invitation to Converse’s Rubber Tracks studios in Brooklyn. Continuing as one of Noisetrade's top downloaded albums of 2014, you can download City Rain's 'Songs for a High School Dance' for free by visiting


Visit City Rain on Kings of A&R; -


Visit City Rain on VEVO -



WXPN Festival (Philly)

RedGorilla Music Festival

2014 NXNE Invite

2014 Austin/SXSW (West 6th Street Block Party)

CMJ World War Trading Company Showcase

CMJ Songtrust Showcase Featured Artist

Converse Rubber Tracks Studio

Sofar Sounds

Communion invite from Ben Lovett (Mumford and Sons)

SXSW 2015




School of Seven Bells

Capital Cities

Washed Out

Gemini Club

Brick & Mortar

Class Actress

Robert Delong

Sleeper Agent

Alvin Risk




City Rain Opening for Delorean @ Morgan's Pier

City Rain Press PDF

City Rain One Sheet

City Rain Press Image

Band Members