Snail Mail: The Patron Saint of Modern Indie Guitar Rock

Sound and Vision: Snail Mail

Photography by Daniel Seung Lee. Styling by Michael Cook. Hair: Andrita Renee. Makeup: Justine Sweetman. Suit and shirt by Alice & Olivia

Lindsey Jordan’s music goes straight for the jugular. The Maryland native, who performs as Snail Mail, channels heartfelt self-reckoning and intimate queer desire into incisive, perfectly crafted guitar pop. Her new debut album, Lush, already feels like a classic.

“I’ve never put more of myself into something than this record,” says the 19-year-old artist. “I don’t feel comfortable finishing a song until I’ve ripped my heart out.”

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Jordan first connected with audiences with her 2016 EP, Habit, which she wrote at the age of 15. Her propulsive breakout track, “Thinning,” described a painful struggle with bronchitis, but now she’s honed her melodic instincts to explore knottier, more relatable terrain. Her recent single “Pristine” features the deadpan declaration: “It just feels like the same party every weekend.” It could be an anthem for suburban teen outcasts or anyone tired of trolling the bar scene. “I feel like some of my best work comes out of angst,” Jordan says. “It’s good to capture that — put a firefly into a jar.”

Snailmail

The singer grew up idolizing Paramore and Avril Lavigne, and first picked up a guitar after seeing Lindsay Lohan shred in Freaky Friday. She then joined a church band and started playing Green Day covers with boys from her neighborhood, eventually refining her skills with the help of her hero, punk icon Mary Timony (Helium, Ex Hex).

 

Though she sums up her coming-out experience as “weird,” having a liberal-minded family helped. And while she wouldn’t describe her music as having a political agenda, she’s settling into her status as a role model.

“I’m super happy to meet gay fans and be a beacon of representation,” Jordan says. “It’s nice to think that songs about my personal life could mean something to someone else. When I was younger, I would have been so psyched to have that.”

Lush is out June 8.

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