The intersection between pop and punk can be a dangerous one. When done wrong, the results tend to be quite bad, or at the very least, embarrassing in retrospect. Most bands that find themselves in this "best of both worlds" realm tend to play it safe as they ride their sound into the sunset. While it's hard to blame them - no one wants to be one of those "I liked their first album better" bands - spending the next five or ten summers playing Warped Tour isn't exactly the pinnacle of success.
Brooklyn-based band Mainland is different. They live within this sweet spot of multiple genres and excitedly explore all corners of it. They take risks, and that's why they're well on their way to transcending into something greater. With that in mind, it should be no surprise to hear they're signed to Lyor Cohen's new record label 300 Entertainment - a record label that's prided themselves on taking risks since their inception a couple years back.
Mainland initially landed on my radar with a pair of lively singles entitled "Wasted" and "The Stroll" in 2013. Both of the songs were extremely reminiscent and nostalgic, but still managed to be refreshing. I later would realize the band often called on their inspirations to allow them to invoke stylings of many different eras of music. Respectably, they don't attempt to hide that. After all, those are the bands and that is the music they love - it's only right they're inspired by them. Eventually those two songs ("Wasted" and "The Stroll") became part of a four song EP called Girls Unknown which the band toured behind at the tail end of that year. Having noticed I covered the release, the band reached out to me and extended an invite to their Chicago show taking place at Township in Logan Square. Watching that set, one thing was clear: these guys were born to do this. Frontman Jordan Topf literally illuminates 'lead singer', guitarist Corey Mullee's charm is contagious, and bassist Alex Pitta embodies the cool guy persona that every musician hopes to be.
The guys followed up in 2014 with the release of another EP named Shiner, which was produced by Jim Eno of Spoon. While it was much different than Girls Unknown, it's quality was undeniable and would eventually be what allowed them the deal with 300. Since then, everything has been on the up and up for Mainland. They returned to California, where most of the band has roots, and paired up with decorated producer Kevin Augunas to craft their debut album Night Trails. The fruits of that labor have already begun to come to fruition. Thus far two tracks have been shared from the forthcoming album including the lead single "Outcast" and recently released anthem for anyone looking to escape an evil ex, "Not As Cool As Me." With the album finished, and the 300 Entertainment-backed rollout in progress, we're really excited to see what the future holds for our neighbors Mainland.