On Friday, December 8th, I caught the R train to Park Slope's bocce ball n' books haunt, Union Hall, for an evening with Scratchie/New Line Records bands OFFICE and Robbers On High Street.
The groups played in the venue's basement - which vaguely resembled my grandparents' living room with its low ceiling, vintage wooden wall panels and night stand lamps scattered across the stage - adding an adorably delinquent "Hey, keep it down or you'll wake my parents" air to the bands' sets.
Chicago-chic OFFICE had a collective random energy and dance party zest that certainly pumped me up for more show. Once headliner Robbers On High Street casually found their way to the stage, the subdued force of singer/guitarist Ben Trokan's voice prevailed and the night-on-the-town swankiness of diddies such as "Married Young" and "The Fatalist," from their 2006 EP The Fatalist and Friends, had Manhattanites and Brooklyn dwellers groovin' in their boots. Soothing vocals contrasted by sparse guitar grunts and piano-driven poshness had Robbers striking the balance between easy indie listening and city slick rock & roll.
So, what can fans expect from the rockin' Robbers moving forward?
"Our new album (Grand Animals) that's going to come out isn't as synthesized as our last record. I'd definitely like to make a bit of an effort to kind of switch it up (our sound) and do something different. Change the way in which I write. Try a collective sort of writing with the band, maybe," Trokan said during our phone interview. "Our lyrics come from what I'm listening to. What I'm reading, even. I'm kinda fascinated by gross pop culture, too, as (strange) as it sounds. Fox News. Bloggers. Our lyrics tend to be about people and places. More about the external."
Robbers On High Street's full-length album, Grand Animals will be released in Spring 2007.
Stay tuned, Tripwire readers. These Scartchie/New Line Records bands are moving up and on, I tell ya...
by Jamie Lee
photos by Dorothy Hong