“Been a long time coming to be the man I want / Been a long time coming to see what I have won,” sings Jordan Topf on “Savant” -- the feverish opening track on Mainland’s EP, Shiner. It’s a straight-forward line, sure, but one that hints at the uncertainty of youth, and the trials and errors that ultimately make us who we are when we get over the hump. And for Topf, it’s a line that touches upon the unfathomable toll of losing his father too soon. Luckily, the singer and guitarist used that heartache as motivation to get out of New York City, hit the road with the band, and write new songs that became this new EP.
Produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno at his Public Hi-Fi studio in Austin, Texas, Shiner is a short but sweet joint crammed with taut proto-punk bangers (“Savant”) and singable power pop choruses (“Heaven”). It’s a familiar yet appealing sound, recalling both 1970’s New York bands like Television, and sunnier glam pop of bands like T. Rex -- or more recently, Smith Westerns -- with energetic guitar melodies, a steady chugging pulse, and sneering yet catchy vocals. In only four songs, Mainland’s Shiner the result of a young band bursting with new confidence. It will be fascinating to hear where they go next as they figure it all out.