Bands & Cans

Words by Stephen Mullaney
Photos by Christine Fantini

Durham is a city that has produced amazing art, theater, and music. The people who make your coffee, fix your computer, serve your beer, and believe it or not, teach your kids are producing some of the best music in the country.

Music has been fueling Durham since forever. Its makers are as diverse as the sounds they create and are a major part of what makes Durham a haven for creators.

There are so many bands in Durham you haven’t heard of, while there are others who have been adopted as hometown heroes only after they have exploded beyond the Bull City.

In the not too distant past, Durham was producer of tobacco products and carcinogens that were inhaled internationally. While for some this may not necessarily be something to be proud of, the tobacco industry did construct many buildings in Durham while employing countless people and keeping those families in homes and eating.

Nowadays it is livers everywhere that we are sending products to… beer, cider, and distilled products are now a major industry and export of our Durham city and North Carolina home. As so many of you are aware, alcohol and music can sometimes make for a beautiful match that will lead you into the deepest corners of hell or the farthest reaches of heaven.

As summer weather pushed us into Fall, and now Fall into Winter, I chose IPA’s to ease the pain. In the spirit of pairing alcohol and beer, here is a look at three bands and three cans that go well together.

Let’s go take a ride! Strap on a helmet, hold on tight and enjoy!

The Band

The Muslims
Whatever you choose to drink while listening to The Muslims, here is what I suggest: Honor the music. Pull out the first can or bottle and spill or smash it on the ground. Maybe knock a lamp over. If this is going to be an outdoor experience, then go sit on the tracks or perhaps gather a few friends and pull down a monument to racism and intolerance!

This band’s talent runs deep… The music, the lyrics, the delivery… So Fucking Good!

The Muslims hit hard, channeling the energies reminiscent of late 80’s punk. Take it to the edge of falling apart only to tighten up and hit again. Pixies? No punches pulled, in your face. The Stooges? You tell me.

A David Barrett-like production is spot on, bringing out the talent without taking away from the live energy.

My plan: stick a can in the water bottle holder of my bike, make my way to a rooftop and celebrate the music.

The Can

“Something so Sincere” by Casita Cerveceria. Double IPA, not a sneak up and get you IPA. You know your shit is getting shook when you crack the can. Amazing flavor, brewed in Farmville by the same people who bring you Duck Rabbit beers. Load up the van with The Muslims, a trunk full of “Something so Sincere”, and storm the white house.

The Band

Cosmic Punk
Happy, bike riding, lay in the grass on a warm Fall day. Take a walk or go for a ride while listening to Cosmic Punk. No matter what is going on in the world, you feel it will all be all right. At times, the music feels like rollercoaster ride, up and down, and then slides seamlessly back to dreamy pop.

I found a live performance of Cosmic Punk that altered my bleary-eyed Sunday.

The Can

Burial “Surf Wax” IPA. The can reads “the human spirit is still alive” and that spirit is what binds the beer and the band. That and the surfy/pop/summer vibe. Burial says each cans label art is a story of the beer.


The Band

The Tan and Sober Gentlemen
It would be easy to dismiss the songs of Tan and Sober Gentlemen as Pogues or Dropkick Murphys-like music. The ability to play this style, “backcountry Celtic”, with a high level of expertise and emotion is hard as hell.

Fast, free, NC Celtic that would be right at home in the streets of Boston. We need a band like this in our state. The music can deliver fun and send a message. Working class music is still alive and well even if many forget the working class is what keeps our everyday running smoothly.

The Can

“Trophy Wife” by Trophy Brewing. This is a crisp, clean, fast drinking IPA that can be enjoyed by the can or by the dozen. I want to see The Tan and Sober Gentlemen share the stage with a mariachi band on the streets of Durham during the Pride Parade. Then I will feel like, for a blink of an eye, all is well in the world.