Working with Intelligentsia, Maps & Atlases is the latest in a series of indie musicians to delve into specialty coffee. The band is offering 12-ounce bags of single-origin Rwandan coffee with pre-orders of their second full-length album, Beware and Be Grateful, being released on Barsuk records.
According to numerous reports, several members of the band classify themselves as coffee lovers, and the Chicago-based group recently told Paste magazine that Intelligentsia is among their favorite roasters across the country. Others they noted were Blue Bottle in Oakland, Calif., Ritual in San Francisco, and Counter Culture in Durham, N.C.
For the album, the band ventured to Intelligentsia’s headquarters for a cupping to determine which coffee would be part of the pre-sale promotion. “They had us sit down and taught us how to officially taste coffee,” guitarist Erin Elders told Paste. “It’s called ‘cupping,’ I guess. We did blind cuppings at a rotating table and they had four different origins of coffee. So we blind tasted them and decided which one we liked best as a group and that’s what ended up being this coffee.”
In the indie music world, Maps & Atlases is not alone in its appreciation for good coffee. Within the past year, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Will Oldham (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Billie) have entered the specialty coffee game.
Jay Cunningham, a sales representative at Intelligentsia who helped work out the deal with Maps & Atlases told Paste that there are plenty of similarities between good, honest music and good, honest coffee.
“One of the reasons I think with Maps & Atlases that it makes a whole lot of sense to me philosophically, is that the music they make has this great simplicity to it and almost basic quality, where it’s accessible, but when you peel it back, it’s really complex,” Cunningham told the magazine. “It has layers, and there’s a lot going on. That’s one of the things I really love about working for Intelligentsia. Our coffee can be enjoyed on a very basic level; you can just sink back into a cup of it and drink it and not think about it at all and just enjoy it. But that same cup of coffee, you can open it up and peel away these layers and there’s all this nuance and complexity. So I like that universal quality of coffee, that democratic nature of coffee that’s able to reach all sorts of people. And I think that’s one of the exciting things about music. No one can quite figure out why people like it so much. People can enjoy it on so many different levels.”
The full story: Paste