Lyrics from Holy RollerWhen his former band The Broken West broke up in 2009, frontman Ross Flournoy relocated to Pasadena, California, but suffered a bad case of writer's block. However, an online songwriting contest for NPR's Monitor Mix drove Flournoy out of his rut. The contest, started by blogger/guitarist/Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein, challenged participants to write, record, and upload an original song over the course of one weekend. Flournoy came up with the song “Under the Gun,” and started to put together a new band (which included former Broken West bassist Brian Whelan). More than 25 songs were written, with nearly a third co-written by Flournoy's friend and studio engineer Adam Vine. The name “Apex Manor” came about from the nickname of Vine's apartment. Eventually they went on to record the album entitled The Year of Magical Drinking, which was recorded at three different studios around LA and produced by Dan Long (Film School, Local Natives) and Brian Whelan. The album was released on Merge Records in January of 2011.