Chicago Singles Club

August 2016

The Runnies

There's a power in simplicity, and the Runnies have mastered the art of the powerfully simple song. A garage rock power trio heavily influenced by Nuggets-era psych and protopunk, they write dynamic, emotionally resonant songs with nothing more than a verse, chorus, and bridge. They've got a deceptively wide range in their songwriting; while they've written plenty of fantastic raucous uptempo tracks, where they shine the most is in their melancholy, slow-burning songs.

Anchoring the Runnies sound is Mary McKane's Farfisa organ - once common in rock bands when the genre was in its infancy, it now confers the band an unusual aesthetic. Playing organ allows Mary to hold down the basslines of the songs as well as comp chords, while Russ Calderwood plays lead riffs and occasionally explodes into a fuzzy, tape-delay addled solo. Drummer Brett Swinney tends to make more use of his toms than his cymbals, giving his beats a propulsive and primal quality.

Above all that, Mary sings with one of the most unique voices in Chicago. She's got some grit when singing more tuneful melodies, but she can switch on a Bob-Dylan-by-way-of-Lou-Reed style of speak-singing, and on rare occasion she'll conjure up a blistering scream.

The Runnies have been a favorite of ours for a long while and we're ecstatic to present two songs of theirs that have not been released previously.

The Runnies is

Mary McKane
Organ, Vocals
Russ Calderwood
Brett Swinney

Exclusive CSC Single

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Video Interview

  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Director / Interviewer Iris Lin
  • Videographer Kelsie Hardison
  • Photographer & Videographer Kerri Hacker
  • Assistant Engineer Kevin Claxton