Uncanney Valley—the first Dismemberment Plan album in more than 10 years—is out this week, and with it, no shortage of reviews and thinkpieces. The record is catchy and weird and delightfully imperfect -- just like all the band's albums -- and you don't need another article telling you whether or not to buy it. After all, you've already heard it and you already know what you think. Instead, let's talk beer!
As it turns out, Plan bassist Eric Axelson is a bit of a craft beer connoisseur. Working at a Whole Foods in the early '90s, fresh out of college, his pal, the store's beer buyer, would turn him onto stuff like Tupper's Hop Pocket Ale and selections from Anchor Brewing Company. Later, on tour, his taste blossomed in much the same way that the craft beer movement was exploding at the time, and he tried microbrews from Portland, California, and many more. While teaching high school in between band duties, he even did a little beer writing for Gothamist blog property, DCist.
Below, Axelson -- who was on a Virginia beer kick when he called up Hive -- chose all Old Dominion brews, with the exception of one from Washington, D.C., pairing each one with an Uncanney Valley track.
Sounds like our conversation got him thirsty, too. "I need to talk to our booking agent and see if we can put local beer on the rider," he told Hive, referring to the band's current tour. "We always get a half case or a case just for backstage. In the past, I've requested that. I did that with Maritime in Germany and it was fascinating."
"No One's Saying Nothing" paired with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery's Bourbon Sidamo Stout
I paired these together because that beer is 10.3% [alcohol-by-volume], and when you're done with it, you won't be able to say anything. It's one of the stronger beers they make. They make it with a locally roasted coffee, and then they age it in bourbon barrels. It's amazing. There's a lot going on—almost too much. They're pushing the limits. It's a small-pour beer. You can't do a pint of that.
"Invisible" paired with Devil's Backbone Brewing Company/DC Brau Brewing Company/The Brewer's Art collaboration beer, Beggars & Thieves Rye Lager
I picked this one partially because these three breweries are from the regions [Baltimore, Virginia, Washington, D.C.] where we all grew up. I liked the idea that there were three breweries working together. That song went through three or four pretty drastic changes. It's been all over the place, so there's a lot of different layers from different places. It's a rye pilsner, so it's got that kind of reddish-amber taste to it, and it's got a crisp finish. It's a really nice beer.
"Daddy Was a Real Good Dancer" paired with Devil's Backbone Brewing Company's Striped Bass Pale Ale
There's a lyric in there about a dad with a mustache, a tank top, and a beer, and I envisioned a dad in the backyard in the summertime. [Striped Bass is] a down-the-middle, American-style pale that comes in cans, and I had it on July 4th at my mom's house. It's the kind of beer you drink when it's hot outside. It's just an everyday beer, something you'd rather bring to a party than Budweiser.
"Let's Just Go to the Dogs" paired with Port City Brewing Company's Monumental India Pale Ale
The song's about being at a wedding, and I actually went to a wedding at Port City and I drank that beer at the wedding. It's almost a classic example of where IPAs are right now. It's kind of fruity in a West Coast way, but it still has that piney-ness to it as well.
"Lookin" paired with Strangeways Brewing's Wallonian Dawn Honey Saison
Strangeways is a brewery that just started out. I think it's a really pretty beer; it's really smooth. It's oddly complex, and there's a lot going on at the end. I feel like "Looking" is a really pretty song, a ballad. But there's a lot of complex samples and stuff beneath the surface. Underneath, if you look for it, there's a lot going on