Random Rules: Ben Trokan of Robbers On High Street
The shuffler: Ben Trokan, the lead singer, guitarist, and keyboard player for sassy New York indie-pop group Robbers On High Street. The band releases its second album, Grand Animals, on July 24.
Cheap Trick, "Stiff Competition"
Ben Trokan: My friend said I should've just rigged it so it all comes up Gloria Estefan or something. Do people do that? I like Heaven Tonight, actually, but my favorite's probably In Color. But this is a good song. It's not my favorite. But Cheap Trick was the first band I ever saw live, so I still kind of like it.
The Stooges, "We Will Fall"
BT: This is the heroin song, right? I heard it's just like a total drone, but it's cool. I'm glad Iggy had really long, droning songs on his records. I wonder how this went over live. [Laughs.] I heard Lenny Kaye do a cover, and it's pretty much the same thing.
Scott Walker, "My Ship Is Coming In"
BT: I've only recently gotten into Scott Walker in the past couple of years, but I like this one. I wish I knew more of his albums, though—someone made me a large compilation CD. It's all very '60s in its production, but he's almost kind of a lounge singer.
Led Zeppelin, "Celebration Day"
BT: Wow, my iPod's playing the hits. Wow, what can you say? I'd probably be nowhere without John Bonham. I really actually like the lyrics for once, and the chorus of this song. Robert Plant's lyrics, I can't get behind them all. Mostly it was bad blues lyrics. And saying "baby" a lot. He can't stop talking about lovin'.
The Kinks, "Get Back In Line"
BT: I love this song. I think I actually covered this song once. I was playing by myself, which I never ever do. He's just singing about the little guy on most of this record [Lola Versus. Powerman And The MoneyGoRound, Part One]. But yeah, I like the lyrics, the lyrics are great—there's one part where you think [Ray Davies] is cursing, but he's really not. He has that odd way of pronouncing phrases, not just the English accent.
Elvis Costello, "Hand In Hand"
BT: Again, I probably wouldn't be playing music without him. This Year's Model was a great one. I don't know who the drummer was in The Attractions, but I love the drumming.
The Troggs, "From Home"
BT: I don't know if I know this song, actually. The Troggs were pretty cool. They had "Wild Thing" and they had "Wild Thing" two, "I Want You." It's just like "Wild Thing" with different lyrics. They had some cooler songs. Maybe "From Home" is one, but it's news to me.
David Bowie, "Moss Garden"
BT: That's on Heroes, which is not my favorite album, but I really like that record. But it's kinda from that era of Low. I think it's like a Berlin record. It was a Brian Eno record. [Station To Station is] probably my favorite. I don't know who it is, maybe it's Brian Eno, but some of the styles are sort of a bummer, and this is kind of a weird song.