Mainland often draw comparisons to the wave of post-punk revivalists that dominated the early aughts. Maybe it’s the disaffected cool of vocalist Jordan Topf or the pop melodies that always seem to drive straight toward the logical conclusion of a soaring, cathartic chorus. But this New York City quartet has more tricks up their sleeves than a bit of Strokes worship. A case in point: The band has just covered Elliott Smith’s classic Either/Or in its entirety. Even better, they’re giving it away as a holiday present for their fans.
The surprise cover album follows fast on the heels of Mainland’s Outcast EP, and it’s definitely a change of pace from their typically bouncy sound. All in all, the 12-song set is an extremely faithful tribute to one of the preeminent singer-songwriters of the 1990s, with few flourishes that might be considered disrespectful or in bad taste.
So, how did this record come about? Quite naturally, it turns out. “After we released ‘Outcast’ as a single,” explains Topf, “I was itching to start another recording project… and to occupy my creative energy, I was encouraged to record covers at home in Brooklyn.” The tools he used were in complete harmony with Smith’s lo-fi aesthetic; they included a “cheap pawn shop microphone, an old Casio synth, [and] a duct-taped tambourine.”
“In high school, we all were devout Elliott Smith fans,” Topf continues. “His music resonates with all of us in different ways. It even inspired our bassist Alex Pitta’s first tattoo, a rendition of the cover of Figure 8.”
Listen to the cover album in its entirety below (if you only have time for a couple of songs, we recommend the stripped-down “Angeles” and, of course, “Say Yes”). To download it for yourself, click the shopping cart icon to be taken to a free download page, or click here.
If you like what you hear, Mainland’s Outcast EP is now available via 300 Entertainment.