Lindsey Jordan Is Rock's Newest Star

Lindsey Jordan Is Rock's Newest Star

The indie-rock star of Snail Mail creates guitar anthems with a cool, lo-fi vibe.

The indie-rock star of Snail Mail creates guitar anthems with a cool, lo-fi vibe.

Photography: Marcus Mam

Styling: Marcell Rocha

Text: Nick Fulton

This interview appears in the pages of V113, The Music Issue, on newsstands now. Order your copy of the issue today at shop.vmagazine.com

Guitar music has lately found itself on the cultural outskirts as a generation of young people turn to the art of electronic production. Thankfully, Lindsey Jordan didn’t get the memo. The 18-year-old Baltimore-based artist, who performs as Snail Mail, began playing the guitar at age five, and this June will release her debut full-length album, Lush, with one of rock music’s most coveted independent labels, Matador Records. She was signed to the label last fall, fresh off her first EP, Habit, which she packed with a riff-heavy blend of ’90s grunge and emo-inspired rock and roll.

It’s a dream come true for Jordan, who grew up listening to Avril Lavigne and Liz Phair. “I’m really thankful to be involved with Matador; they have such a cool legacy,” she says, on the eve of a tour that will take her to play nine shows at SXSW, and then to Coachella, where she’ll share a stage with Beyoncé, David Byrne, and Cardi B. “I personally like touring, traveling, and writing.”

Jordan’s past year has been filled with all of those things. After touring back-to-back throughout the summer and fall of 2017 with fellow indie-rock artists Girlpool, Waxahatchee, and Beach Fossils, Jordan then had the challenge of writing songs for her forthcoming album. Despite the fluidity exhibited on Habit, she says writing lyrics is something she’s taken awhile to come around to. In her mid-teens, she says, “there wasn’t a lot of interest from me personally to be a songwriter. I just hoped that I could be a guitar player in someone else’s band.” But after several years of practice, she now loves the process and you can hear this confidence in her music. “At some point I started to pick it up and then I realized I kind of like songwriting,” she says. “It’s really developed now; it’s almost like a habit at this point.”

To write Lush, Jordan locked herself in her room and surrounded herself with literature and other forms of art. “I was reading crazy amounts,” she says. “I feel like it puts you into a different world.” She highlights Miriam Toews’s book All My Puny Sorrows, which she purchased during a two-month stint living in New York City, as having had a profound influence on her. “The book kind of changed my life,” she says. After several weeks of writing and completing what she calls “a really strong self-editing process,” she came away with 30 songs, 10 of which made the final cut. They find Jordan dissecting her life and looking to the future with a nervous but optimistic worldview—washing away the past, and redirecting the narrative through swooping melodies and bristling guitars.

LINDSEY WEARS JACKET KATE SPADE

Credits: Makeup Chris Colbeck (Art Department) for Dior Beauty, Hair David Von Cannon (The Wall Group), Photo assistant Vincenzo Dimino, Stylist assistant Kate Longarzo, Location ROOT BKN

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