ABOVE: MAINLAND. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA LEE.
When Mainland made their entrance onto the New York music scene four years ago, the band described their sound to us as "something you can shake your hair to really crazy"—which is perhaps most true of their latest, peppy release "Dummy Test," premiering exclusively here as our track of the week.
"Dummy Test" departs from the three-piece's earlier, gentler tracks with a rough-and-ready sense of urgency. Mainland's frontman, Jordan Topf, describes this new sound as a collage, "cut, torn, and pieced together." Accordingly, "Dummy Test" was written by Mainland in layers. "We started with those angular guitar stabs," Topf explains, "and the lyrics came naturally afterwards." The result is rowdy and playful; a jolty guitar undercuts Topf's vocals, punctuated by a spiky drumbeat.
The lyrics are just as aggressive and carefree, and tell a story of liberation. "You reach a point when you realize you have one life to live, and you're not going to waste it being another person's experiment, romantic or otherwise," Topf tells us. "So you give 'em the middle finger."
This message—that to be free you have to take control of your life—says a lot about how the band sees itself. Mainland recorded "Dummy Test" on their own: the vocals were completed in a closet and the guitars in a bedroom of an apartment north of San Francisco. "Mainland's sound has evolved by doing it all ourselves," says Topf. "The shows have been rawer and sweatier, the releasing process more rapid-fire. 2017 should be fun."
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