The Love I Had Before is a mixtape made for a friend who was not at all into Valentine’s Day. This mix will not pump you up. It’s best listened to when laying alone in the dark.
The Love I Had Before 01| Keep Yourself Warm by Frightened Rabbit
02| 50 Ways by Telekinesis
03| Bring It On by The Gaslight Anthem
04| Madder Red by Yeasayer
05| My My Mind by Apex Manor
06| Signs by Bloc Party
07| Go Home by Bad Veins
08| Heart Skipped a Beat by the xx
09| When I’m Small by Phantogram
10| Kettering by The Antlers
11| Blood Bank by Bon Iver
12| Metal Heart by Cat Power
13| I Would Be Sad by The Avett Brothers
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So, what happens when you have a band (The Broken West), it breaks up, you move to the suburbs (Pasadena), your car breaks down, you’re stuck both literally and creatively, and your days largely consist of porch-sitting and tallboy-drinking? You enter NPR’s songwriting contest, clearly.
With lyrics tackling the songwriting process itself, Ross Flournoy penned “Under the Gun”, a headstrong march through his creative lockup that cleared the way for what became Apex Manor and The Year of Magical Drinking. The final result is a meld of indie pop and 90s alt-radio rock, written in collaboration with Adam Vine and rounded out by Brian Whelan and Andy Creighton.
The Year of Magical Drinking is cohesive and arranged well, but features a diversity of sound: the crunchy guitar of “Southern Decline” opposes the wheels-on-rails propulsion of “Holy Roller”; the aggressively poppy “Teenage Blood” and cut-and-shimmy melody of “Elemental Ways of Speaking” temper the bare-bones instrumentals that showcase the super-sexy vocal delivery of “My My Mind”. The one rogue piece to the puzzle is “Burn Me Alive” – while still likable, it becomes increasingly clear over the course of the song that sum is lesser than its parts. One place Apex Manor doesn’t falter, though, is the lyrics. While never revelatory, they have a certain way of hitting the ear that warrants paying attention.
The Year of Magical Drinking drops 01/25/11.
Download their mp3 “Under the Gun“.