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Random Rules: Ben Gibbard

The shuffler: Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service. Death Cab will launch a co-headlining tour with Franz Ferdinand this April and will soon release videos for each of the songs on its latest disc, Plans.

Emitt Rhodes, "She's Such A Beauty"

Ben Gibbard: He was like a singer-songwriter guy—very, very, very Paul McCartney-esque, almost to the point where you go, "Are we listening to Paul McCartney?" It's pretty derivative, but at the same time, he dodged a lot of the showtunes-y elements of Wings. This song's on his… I think it's his first solo record, which is the really good one. Everything else I've heard by him has paled in comparison.

Jandek, "Message To The Clerk (Part 2)"

BG: My iPod's cooler than me right now! My intro to Jandek was through my girlfriend, Joan. They're both from Houston and I remember her at some point bringing up Jandek and me being like, "Who the hell is Jandek?" She gave me the whole backstory about this reclusive, secret singer-songwriter that makes these weird records. At some point a couple of years ago, I bought three Jandek records and realized at that point that I really only needed one.

Jack Kerouac, "The Sounds Of The Universe Coming In My Window"

BG: I guess for touring musicians… The urge to be on the road is inspired by the desire to share music as much as the romance of travel and wild friends in crazy places. I still kind of feel like doing punk-rock, indie-rock tours in the States—and it's obviously changed for us—is the closest thing to that Beat sense of being in constant motion. It's so fun to roll into Milwaukee and see the friends you only see once or twice a year, going out and getting drinks and catching up or whatever. Time stood still between the last time you saw them, and nobody complains, "Why haven't you called or written me an email?" To me, in my romantic mind, I associate that with the way travel was for the Beats in the '40s and '50s.

Pink Floyd, "A Saucerful Of Secrets"

BG: Continuing the hip trend… I hope the Third Eye Blind track on here doesn't pop up next, though actually that might be kind of cool. This is the real transitional record from Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd into the Dark Side Of The Moon era. Barrett's on like half the record; I think when they were recording was when they stopped picking him up for gigs, if I recall correctly. It's not my favorite Pink Floyd record, but it's certainly better than Atom Heart Mother.

One Be Lo, "Wake Up (Original)"

BG: My knowledge of hip-hop is pretty pathetic, but I saw this guy open for Blue Scholars, which is this Seattle-based hip-hop group that I like. I wouldn't be able to tell you what this track sounds like; it's been a while.

Guided By Voices, "Man Called Aerodynamics"

BG: This was the first Guided By Voices record that I bought. In college, Guided By Voices was a band that I would hear about… I think I just went out and bought Under The Bushes Under The Stars cold, thinking, "Well, people that like music that I do seem to like this band, maybe I'll go check them out." I think because it's the first one I heard, it's probably my favorite. They're now one of my favorite bands; you can't deny Guided By Voices.