Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Shiner EP" by Mainland

This band has an interesting genesis. The singer, Jordan Topf, lost his father and needed to get away.

What would you do?

He bought a van and went on tour. Just try to imagine that. After the loss of your father, you then head off into the world? Loss of stability and he gives up all stability and everything he's ever known.

Well every good song and good album starts off with an even better story. Mainland set off to write their story. This is a very staggering idea to me. Over the weeks and months, seeing new faces, they wrote, they created and they met a fellow in Austin who's got a recording studio and they wrote as much as they could and picked out these four to put into their debut EP.

This short four song EP only clocks in at 13 minutes, but it's a strong quarter of an hour. As they would tell you, they're a garage rock band through and through, but they're somewhat polished.

Normally, I try to compare the sound or style of the bands I review to something similar that someone may have heard, but I cannot place this group and none of the bands in their if you like so and so list are remotely familiar to me.

The best case scenario is if you took a band like Bass Drum of Death, fleshed out the band to a full band instead of two dudes, made the lyrics intelligible, added a pop sheen and sensibility, and wrote the songs while being, at least less, drunk than those guys, and you'd begin to have an idea of what these guys are about.

The guitar and bass are crisp sounding and gritty enough to feel like the strings were broken in before the red light came on, but the amps have the right sound to keep things articulate and not a sonic mess. The drums play right along with everything. Though the record is thin on layers, it's full on sound.

The vocals are a bit strained, but not so strained as Soundgarden to be annoying, but like how old Chicago Bluesmen strained their amps to get just a little bit more out of them.

This group has great potential and we will watch their career with great interest.

Release date: 2/25/2014
Genre: Indie Rock
Running time: 13:00
Label: DIY
Facebook link

1) Savant
2) Shiner
3) Leave The Lights On
4) Heaven


  1. It's something that's a bit left of center. It's unique...and that's something that's worth more than gold in the music industry.