Photo by Henri Groux-Holt
Following the death of his father, singer/guitarist Jordan Topf decided to get out of New York and hit the open road. He and his band, Mainland, set out on a cross-country tour where they workshopped new songs each night in front of a new crowd. While in Austin, the quartet met Jim Eno—drummer/producer for Spoon and owner of Public Hi-Fi recording studio–and set up some dates to capture their fresh material. Mainland returned to Public Hi-Fi a few months later with just four songs, but the tight focus meant no distractions.
The result is Shiner, Mainland’s new EP out February 25. As is his M.O., Eno captured the band live in the studio, to great effect. The songs burst with a punk-like energy, and the melodies shine through with a touch of grit. Despite the simple approach, Mainland approached the EP with a concentrated effort to ensure it was nothing less than perfect. “Savant” took some serious work to get just right, but it was fun nonetheless. Topf states that the song “was the result of a 14-hour recording day fueled by many fresh pots of coffee, bourbon in the vocal booth, and a few runs to Tacodeli to keep up the energy in the studio.” Sounds like a great recipe.