Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan on overlooking the hype, fighting for what's worth it and more

She opens for Japanese Breakfast at Crowbar on April 7.

click to enlarge Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail, which plays Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on April 7, 2018. - Michael Lavine
Michael Lavine
Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail, which plays Crowbar in Ybor City, Florida on April 7, 2018.

There's a lot of hype surrounding Lindsey Jordan's band Snail Mail.

P4K wrote that "Jordan Is the Wisest Teenage Indie Rocker We Know." Fader called her "suburban slowcore" some of "right-now's most promising indie rock." Noisey resisted the urge to call her a "musical prodigy" or someone "blazing a trail for young women in music" on the way to eventually going with "Lindsey Jordan is fucking cool."

Jordan, 19, pretty much shrugs it off.

"Focus on your songs because everything else is trivial," she told CL of all of the attention. It started at SXSW last year where seemingly all the music writers, bloggers and label reps found themselves all up in her shit. These days, the exposure is circulating around the summertime release of her full-length debut Lush (due June 8 via Matador).

NPR is in love with the effort and has lauded its lead single, "Pristine," as an expected showcase of Jordan's guitar prowess, which she partly acquired under the tutelage of Helium and Ex Hex principal Mary Timony.

"[It] comes through in her complex chord voicings and spacious tunings, and in the distorted strums she unfurls in climactic moments," Mike Katzif wrote. "While producer with Jake Aron and engineer Johnny Shenka provide subtle instrumental adornments throughout Lush, 'Pristine' builds energized tension from her bandmates, drummer Ray Brown and bassist Alex Bass, giving Jordan's voice poignant weight as she sings, 'Who do you change for? Who's top of your world? And out of everyone, who's your type of girl?'"

Gush, gushy, McGusherson. It's all deserved, however, and we'll be front and center when Jordan opens for Japanese Breakfast on April 7, but the Baltimore teen knows what's really important.

"Hype goes away," she told CL, "but the feeling of producing material you don't care about for the sake of maintaining it doesn't!"

A walk around the brain of Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner

Sage advice, and we're excited to hear more of this album whose tracks didn't even have names until Snail Mail got to the mastering stage.

"In the beginning [of writing] I was kind of just being gay all the time, like, “I’m so gay.” Because I was openly gay but I wasn’t when I was writing [her last EP] Habit, so I was just going around and being gay, just like getting into all these relationships, or 'things,'" she told Stereogum.

"Some of those songs, like the first ones that got written for the record, are really melodramatic and directly about people. This is kind of douchey as fuck, but the songs didn’t have names until we mastered [the album] so, this is so fucked up, but when we would play them at shows the setlist just had girls’ names on it."

Does the wise one have any worries about these womenfinally figuring out which songs are about them when Lush finally comes out?

"Haa!," she said. "Not at all."

Read our short Q&A, listen to Habit, and get more information on the show below.

Japanese Breakfast w/Snail Mail
Sat. April 7, 7 p.m. Sold Out.
Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St., Ybor City.

I like your take on the SXSW experience last year where a bunch of motherfuckers were all up in your shit. I feel like your experience lends itself to you being able to give some advice to the next “rising” or “up-and-coming” band that finds itself in a situation where labels, journalists, etc. are all up in your business. What would you say to those bands or even that version of yourself that arrived in Texas in 2017 with that “I love music!” attitude?

Focus on your songs because everything else is trivial. Hype goes away, but the feeling of producing material you don't care about for the sake of maintaining it doesn't!

And that pressure of having to turn in an album for Matador — have you had a chance to think about how/if you would do the whole signing a deal, recording an album thing the next time around?

I haven't really thought about it. I'm siked about the work i've done with Matador and have had nothing but positive experiences working with them!

You had something like 30 songs written, and only 10 made the record — were the ones that didn’t make too personal/things you don’t want to play live (a la Habit where you never thought you’d be playing the songs for anyone)? Think we’ll ever hear those unreleased Lush songs?

No, not at all! It was more a matter of writing melodies/lyrics that I eventually got sick of and felt weren't worth fighting for.

You’re already writing for the new album though, and going back to some open tunings — this is weird to ask since the record isn’t even out yet, but what sounds are you going for on these post-Lush songs? Is it hard to write when you’re not at your parents’ place in Baltimore?

Not really sure yet. Just trying to progress and do what feels natural.

The song titles are obviously different than their names, but are you worried about that moment when all of the girls you wrote these Lush songs about finally figure it out?

Haa! Not at all.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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