Los Angeles duo Ex-Poets, known for “introspective music for twilight times,” return “Bay of Pigs,” with a new single about the risks of blind loyalty and staying true to one’s self under pressure.
Stream: “Bay of Pigs” – Ex-Poets
The 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba isn’t exactly typical fodder for a song, or for much of anything outside of historical reading, but it’s that unexpected approach that makes the new single from Ex-poets stand out memorably.
Jordan Brooks and Colin Killalea have taken a dual-fold approach once again to crafting music together, Brooks channeling his time playing in bands as a sideman for the likes of Albert Hammond Jr., and Killalea stepping up to the mic (literally) as the duo’s lead vocalist (most of the time, that is).
What began as a recording project in 2017 evolved into playlist spots on Spotify’s coveted “New Music Friday” and elsewhere, leading up to this year’s new album, Dust. The partnership between the duo stretches back much further than that – try more than a decade, when Brooks and Killalea met in New York City through The New School.
Already, the new record (soon to be released on Text Me Records) has yielded a smash single, “Romantix,” currently making waves on Spotify.
The duo has put its considerable experience (they’ve also worked alongside Lee Fields and Natalie Prass, to name but two) through a unique filter that takes that unlikely historical inspiration and turns it into a song only Ex-poets could dream up.
“Bay of Pigs” owes its unlikely origins to a beat from producer and artist Tae Beast – from there, Colin dreamed up the backbone of the song in a matter of hours.
The track is funky and groovy in equal measure, with a simmering slow burn and distinctive drums that build into something larger than its relatively simple origins.
“I sent Colin these simple bass chords and a bass line over Tae’s drum beat and he wrote and recorded an entire song over it in like four hours and sent it back,” Brooks says.
Chet Faker drummer and Ex-poets friend Robby Sinclair added live drums (recorded virtually from his home in Paris – a fitting pandemic-era touch), and Killalea later mixed the song and added what the duo calls “stark fuzzy guitar.”
Death, I know
is the answer to ego
I have knelt before you now
I’ve submitted, I’m committed
Blazed on the deck
Might get enough respect
For to buy back the boat
In a way
It’s a mesmerizing blend brought to life virtually, much like the rest of the forthcoming album from Ex-poets – Brooks and Killalea recorded it between Los Angeles and Virginia, passing files back and forth in a reflection of these times.
Brooks and Killalea are well aware of what this current era means for their music and for the duo’s creative focus, Brooks says. If the rest of the album carries forth the same sonic DNA as “Bay of Pigs,” it seems nearly assured to become one of the most creative records of the pandemic era.
“Dust is about the idea that from where we came, we will eventually all return; and that there is a beautiful common humanity and substance humming beneath the surface of all beings on this planet,” Brooks says. “So let’s not take our time here for granted, for it is short and precious.”
Stream: “Bay of Pigs” – Ex-Poets
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