Racking Up Plays: “Under the Gun” by Apex Manor

These are the posts where I gush about some song that I’ve got a huge crush on at the moment, and you put up with it and listen because you’re a good friend.

Apex Manor
We'll let Apex Manor's Ross Flournoy get away with the massive cliche of posing in front of a brick wall because a) he's not scowling, b) the bricks are vertical and c) "Under the Gun" is really, really good. (via Merge Records)

“Under the Gun,” Apex Manor

Among the playlists in my sprawling iTunes library is one devoted exclusively to songs with a four-on-the-floor beat. (Why do I have such a playlist, you ask? The same reason I have a banjo playlist: Um … I’m not sure.) Four-on-the-floor is the rhythmic figure characterized by emphasizing all four beats in 4/4 time. Wikipedia says this was popularized by disco (if you’ve ever gone “oonce oonce oonce oonce” to simulate a dance beat, then you’re familiar with the style), but I tend to associate it more with Pistol Allen cracking the snare on every beat of such Motown hits as “Uptight (Everything’s Alright).” In addition to that classic, my playlist features the drivng rhythm of such songs as “Live With Me” by The Rolling Stones, “This Year” by The Mountain Goats and “Kerosene” by Miranda Lambert.

The latest addition is “Under the Gun” by Apex Manor, a.k.a. Pasadena musician Ross Flournoy. After Flournoy’s well-regarded power-pop band The Broken West called it quits, he reportedly spent time on his porch drinking and staring down a nasty case of writer’s block until he turned to the institution that has inspired countless rock ‘n’ rollers: National Public Radio. He decided to accept NPR blogger Carrie Brownstein‘s challenge to write and record a song in one week. The result was “Under the Gun,” an oh-so-meta commentary on deadline pressure.

In addition to that relentless drum beat, the song features some gnarly guitar riffs and pop craftsmanship that would make Matthew Sweet proud.

[download it from KEXP]

Apex Manor is playing with Film School, Gregory and the Hawk and Melted Toys as part of Noise Pop 2011. The show is at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at Café du Nord, 2170 Market St., San Francisco. Tickets are $14. Call 415.861.5016 for details.

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