Mainland is about as Bedford + Bowery as bands get: three of the guys used to work at the Bowery Hotel together, and the Brooklyn-based foursome has been known to cross back over the bridge for, say, the occasional residency at Elvis’s Guest House. If you’ve been to a show in the past few years, you’ve probably seen these workhorses at some point, opening for bands like Atlas Genius, Marianas Trench, and Drowners (whose work we’ve also premiered). But here’s something you definitely haven’t seen, because we’re sharing it with you exclusively here: the band recently stopped by the diner-themed set at YouTube’s wacky HQ and belted out “A Bit Out of Time,” off their third EP, Outcast, which came out in December.
According to 25-year-old frontman Jordan Topf, who like most of his bandmates is a California native, the song addresses the death of his dad in 2013. At the time, Topf said, “I lost my mind in a past relationship. I lost my job. I lost my sense of direction in life. This song was a reaction to that feeling. Displacement, loneliness, loss of the most important people in your life and not knowing how to cope with pain.”
Which should make for a downer dirge, but Mainland’s tunes tend to have a hopeful, hungover-but-itching-to-party-again feel (some say it’s Cali those posi vibes seeping into the Brooklyn sound). In the spirit of silver linings, 2013 was also when the band released their debut EP, Girls Unknown, and their profile has been rising ever since: their 2014 EP, Shiner, was produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno and their latest effort was recorded by Kevin Augunas (Cold War Kids, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros) at Fairfax Recordings (formerly the fabled Sound City). Their garage rock has a throwback twinge that was pretty well visualized in the ’80s-filtered video for “Leave the Lights On,” in which Topf skateboards around the Lower East Side and dangles off the Brooklyn Bridge.
Mainland is currently on tour with another B+B favorite, Jukebox the Ghost, and you’ll be able to catch the band at South by Southwest next month. But will it be as eventful as the SXSW where they ended up watching Macaulay Culkin get punched in the face at a dive bar?