“Epic” gets thrown a lot, but when hearing something like Destroyer’s “Bay Of Pigs,” I feel the need to go back in time and choose my words differently. The almost 14-minute “ambient disco” track takes up the entire Side A of Dan Bejar’s forthcoming limited-edition Bay Of Pigs EP. Ostensibly it tackles the 1961 invasion of Cuba of the same name, but like most of Bejar’s work, there are dozens of threads (and amazing lines delivered with tossed-off cool) running through it. For instance, “Magnolia’s a girl, her heart’s made of wood / as apocalypses go that’s pretty good — sha la la — wouldn’t you say?” And: “Love is a political beast with jaws for a mouth, / I don’t care.” We’re told to remove our spurs and our antlers, reminded that the tide comes in and the tide goes away (all the time), and learn about a vomitous walk in an English Garden, a girl named Christine who throws our narrator into rages, a guy who was born in the South with a father from the North, etc. Bejar presents the details over a mostly electro backdrop, complete with strums and layered voices. Sit down and really listen to this one. It’s his Savage Detectives, or something.

The Bay Of Pigs EP is out 8/18 via Merge. It’s being printed in a limited edition of 1,000 (and will come with a digital download code). Side B is “Ravers,” which was played completely on analog synthesizer. And, as Merge puts it:

It explores some of the more meditative realms of 20th Century classical composition. The song itself is a casual rumination on parties, political parties, madness and suffering (for one’s art).

Maybe you can ask Dan about it at one of these live outings:

07/29 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
07/30 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
07/31 – Boston, MA @ Paradise
08/02 – Sackville, NB @ Sackville United Church
10/02 – Montreal, QC @ Ukrainian Federation
10/03 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern

The lyrics, so you can sing along:

Listen, I’ve been drinking, as our house lies in ruin. I don’t know what I’m doing: alone, in the dark, at the park or at the pier, watching ships disappear in the rain.

1) The world’s just bones. The world is black stones dressed up in the rain with no place to go but home, just like Nancy! On a night like this, why, she’s pro stars! pro sky!

2) All lit up and sick of fighting beneath the diseased lighting of the discotheque at night, it don’t mean a thing, it never means a thing, it don’t meant, it never means a thing. It’s got that swing…

3) I’ve seen it all … I’ve seen it all. Magnolia’s a girl. Her heart’s made of wood. As apocalypses go that’s pretty good, wouldn’t you say? Sha la la…

4) Please remove your spurs. Come to think of it, remove your antlers. Haven’t seen you
for ages. I still fly into rages at the mention of your name: Christine White! I think about you often, off in the desert, laughing your head off in the forests of the night. Say a prayer for the light…

5) So now I live well. I live in the mine. I’m still slinging mud at the towers all the time. I took a walk … And threw up in an English garden…

6) I was born in the north, but my father’s from the south. Love is a political beast with jaws for a mouth, I don’t care. You’re upset and have every right to be. Regretfully you decline. Every night was a waste of time. Every night, Every night, Every night…

7) You were on the side of good. I was inside of the sea’s guts: a crumbling beauty trapped in a river of ice. A crumbling beauty trapped in paradise. Oh, it was paradise.

8) The tide comes in and the tide goes out again. I suppose this is the kind of thing we see every day. The tide comes in; the tide goes away. Oh the tide comes in, yeah the tide! Yes, the tide…

9) A ransom note written on the night sky above remind’s me what, in particular, about this wine I love. Like a punctured beast better off dead, compliments going to my head… la da da la da da!

10) And speaking of my mind, the sunflower. And speaking of a world turning sour on you. I was 20 years old in 1992. I was bathed in golden sunlight, alright!!

11) I was ripped on dope, you were a ray of sunshine. I was a hopeless romantic, you were swine. You got to spend money to make money. You got to stop calling me “honey”…

12) Oh world!, you fucking explosion that turns us around. The searchlight slumps over, it’s so sick of the night and the kids on the boats, busted in the shipyard, going down down down down down down down…

13) You travel light, all night ,every night, to arrive at the conclusion of the world’s inutterable secret … And you shut your mouth…

Free and easy, gentle, gentle … The wind through the trees makes you mental for me … Nancy, in a state of crisis, on a cloud…

Comments (60)
  1. vlad  |   Posted on Aug 4th, 2009 +1

    just when indie music is getting super boring, along comes Dan Bejar with a 14-minute ambient disco track about the 1961 invasion of Cuba.

    the song’s great, by the way. fractured storytelling reminiscent of Lou Reed with a gentle electro pulse that recalls Power, Corruption and Lies-era New Order.

    • Chris  |   Posted on Aug 5th, 2009 0

      Alright, I’ll probably get a lot of downvotes for questioning “The Great Dan Bejar”, but what exactly is it that makes this song good? The instrumentation isn’t that complicated, the lyrics sound cool but are pretty indecipherable. If I made a long electro-ambient sound collage in Garageband, speak-sang cryptic lyrics about women, europe, philosophy and politics and made reference to pop culture, what would separate me from Destroyer?

      Basically, I like his music a lot, but I don’t understand why people call him “the most important man in indie rock”, or “light-years ahead of whtever the rest of the music world is doing”.

      • tyler  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 0

        what separates dan bejar from you chris is that he created a song like this and you did not. not being on board is one thing, but saying “If I made a long electro-ambient sound collage in Garageband, speak-sang cryptic lyrics about women, europe, philosophy and politics and made reference to pop culture, what would separate me from Destroyer” is ridiculous. it’s a bogus argument that could be made for any piece of art after viewing / hearing it.

      • rob  |   Posted on Aug 31st, 2009 0

        if it’s so easy why don’t you do it? this track is amazing man, ravers on the EP is beautiful too.

  2. Mcjiggy00  |   Posted on Aug 4th, 2009 0

    Sha la la, a reference to Lou Reed’s “Street Hassle?”

  3. nameless  |   Posted on Aug 4th, 2009 0


  4. Miles  |   Posted on Aug 4th, 2009 0

    I was deeply unsure about this but it’s actually amazing. Works both as a Destroyer song and an electronic music piece.

  5. Marcella  |   Posted on Aug 4th, 2009 0

    Balls in your court U2…

  6. Lea  |   Posted on Aug 4th, 2009 0

    Um, that kind of made my life.

  7. Evan  |   Posted on Aug 4th, 2009 0

    I almost didn’t make it through that first 5 minutes. Honestly the pay off is not worth the build up and anticipation. Cut off about 4 minutes and you have a decent song.

    as it is it’s.. okay.

    • Grand  |   Posted on Aug 6th, 2009 0

      No offense, but if you were looking for a build up/payoff song, you probably should have gone elsewhere at the sight of “ambient disco”.

  8. Wow, very cool, a nice change of pace from Destroyer’s usual thing (not that he isn’t always doing something pretty cool anyhow).

  9. Awesome. Reminds me of “Your Blues” and the glory days of 2004. “I was 20 years old in [2004]” etc.

    • Some quick math reveals that mike is now 24, and a long listen reveals that Destroyer is still the best part of the New Pornographers.

  10. This is magnificent!

  11. Magnificent indeed. Destroyer is best.

  12. Very cool. I can also feel the Bolano “Savage Detectives”/”2666″ vibes here.

    • Christian  |   Posted on Aug 5th, 2009 0

      What is it about this song that reminds you of Bolaño? I didn’t hear any references to madness, literature, or mescal in the whole song.

  13. Truly epic.

  14. I’ve been so eager to listen to this for months now. I’m finally glad I’ll be able to hear one-half of it.

  15. Wow, amazing.
    And nice Bolaño ref, Brandon.

  16. The most important man in indie rock? Yes.

    • i was trying to give you more up votes but alas, only one. i’m in agreement with that broad statement- destroyer’s light years ahead of whatever the rest of the music world is doing. what a nice way to start the day…

  17. i really enjoyed the first five minutes of that. so minimal, damn.
    then the middle section was some of the best music ive heard all year.
    the last couple of minutes are a nice denouement but sort of a waste,
    but it reflects back on the beginning so its sensible to be there.
    very, very good song.

  18. steelydwill  |   Posted on Aug 5th, 2009 0

    do you ever read Stereogum comments to a new song, get really excited expecting to be blown away, and then listen to it and feel bamboozled? Not going to try to sway the court of opinion, but this was an absolute misfire in my book.

  19. Ryan  |   Posted on Aug 5th, 2009 0

    Absolutely essential!
    This is easily Dan’s best work since Your Blues.
    I was blissfully hyperventilating for fourteen straight minutes.

  20. dave   |   Posted on Aug 6th, 2009 0

    I’d say that captures the experience fairly accurately.

  21. saganaw  |   Posted on Aug 8th, 2009 0

    the lyrics and sound has such deep vision. he is leagues apart from any other songwriter making a go of it today.

  22. andrew  |   Posted on Aug 8th, 2009 0

    It’s like “His Bathrobe pockets stuffed with notes” meets Santa Esmeralda’s version of “Don’t let me be misunderstood”

  23. Daniel Lawther  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 0

    This has really made my day. Seems to hit an emotion I often feel but don’t know the name of. Which is nice.

  24. What is up with the “foray into ambient disco market” promo copy? It makes it sound like this is Gillette introducing a new hand-cream. And come on, this is pleasant (AT BEST, & I love Destroyer), but I am really, really having a hard time believing that anyone was “blissfully hyperventilating” throughout this. I like the production, I like the sound, but if you’re in for that kind of re-vamped Klaus Schulze, Jeremy of Sinoia Caves (who probably had something to do with this, actually) put out a great & underappreciated album full of the stuff.

    But you know, if this helps more art school kids get into minimalist 20th century composition, that can’t be a bad thing. Can it?

  25. Damon  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 0

    The lyrics are incorrect.

    Check out the Wiki:

  26. Anonymous  |   Posted on Aug 10th, 2009 0

    i’ve got a lot of marc almond records that are better than this.

  27. As an aside, I love that cover photo.

  28. oceanRain  |   Posted on Aug 11th, 2009 0

    Push comes to shove I’d give the nod to Dan Bejar > David Berman in the lyrics competition. And for those of you keeping score, I have ‘The Chosen Few’ in my Top 5 tracks of the decade. ‘Bay of Pigs’ is pure class.

  29. dru  |   Posted on Aug 11th, 2009 0

    That album artwork is flawless.

  30. andrew  |   Posted on Aug 11th, 2009 0

    I wouldn’t say that he’s “miles ahead of the music” (paraphrasing), but he is a fucking awesome lyricist. Personally i think he’s much better than DC Berman, but I’m not willing to fight about it.

  31. I’ve been a destroyer fan for roughly about 8 years and I really can’t get into this. Lyrically, it’s wonderful, but since Trouble in Dreams, I really think Bejar is over this whole thing. I don’t know, it’s just not there for me.

  32. Tray  |   Posted on Aug 26th, 2009 0

    This song, this music…most – even ‘die-hard’ fans – are lost in his seemingly mysterious, dark lyrics. Why…you ask? There’s no mystery in his words…the mystery is buried in yourself, layer after layer. society…YOU have built this and continue to call ‘this’ home. Now, tear it down – just as Dan has. Welcome home, Dan.

  33. This is poop. Yawn-inducing poop. It has promise, but turns from promise to poop before the 4-minute mark. I don’t even like the Junior Boys that much and they do this much better than Bejar, and this whole disco/electro/synth-rock thing that has taken over indie rock is ridiculous. If people would stop pretending to be into whatever Pitchfork or Stereogum tells them to, they’d realize a lot of what they’re supposedly “into” is the same as the shitty 80s pop music that fostered a relevant underground scene in response in the late 80s and early 90s. Tell me how this is different than the Pet Shop Boys and how Bejar’s songwriting could accurately be placed in the same category as Dylan’s. I can’t wait until indie rock returns to its 90s roots, stops shopping at Urban Outfitters and rids itself of hipster turds who are too consumed with being cool to actually listen to how bad indie music has become.

  34. I do art for me and nobody else. If someone else likes it and enjoys it, cool. If not, oh well. That’s Dan.

  35. Joe C  |   Posted on Oct 31st, 2009 0

    Lets not get so nasty nor ahead of ourselves. I enjoyed it pure & simple.

  36. bakercorey  |   Posted on Nov 23rd, 2009 0

    I’ve long been a fan of Mr. Behar. “Bay of Pigs” is no exception. What, to myself, is most remarkable about this tune is how much the music resembles later period Prefab Sprout??! and Paddy MacAloon’s solo Orchestral/Synth dabblings. The singing and lyrics are of course standard Dan Behar. I wouldn’t hold it up as his finest achievement, but it is lovely and relaxing.

  37. Listening to this and the leaked ‘Kaputt’ and ‘Chinatown’ tracks pretty much nonstop until the new album drops in a week or so.

    Bejar: still the best lyricist this side of Malice and Pusha-T

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