1811 14th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Lindsey Jordan is on the brink of something huge, and she’s only just graduated
high school. Her voice rises and falls with electricity throughout Lush, her debut
album as Snail Mail, spinning with bold excitement and new beginnings at every
“Is there any better feeling than coming clean?” sings the eighteen-year- old
guitarist and songwriter halfway through the sprawling anthem that is “Pristine,”
the album’s first single. You can’t help but agree with her. It’s a hook that
immediately sticks in your head—and a question she seems to be grappling with
throughout the record’s 10-songs of crystalline guitar pop.
Throughout Lush, Jordan’s clear and powerful voice, acute sense of pacing, and
razor-sharp writing cut through the chaos and messiness of growing up: the
passing trends, the awkward house parties, the sick-to- your-stomach crushes
and the heart wrenching breakups. Jordan’s most masterful skill is in crafting
tension, working with muted melodrama that builds and never quite breaks,
stretching out over moody rockers and soft-burning hooks, making for visceral
slow-releases that stick under the skin.
Lush feels at times like an emotional rollercoaster, only fitting for Jordan’s
explosive, dynamic personality. Growing up in Baltimore suburb Ellicot City,
Jordan began her classical guitar training at age five, and a decade later wrote
her first audacious songs as Snail Mail. Around that time, Jordan started
frequenting local shows in Baltimore, where she formed close friendships within
the local scene, the impetus for her to form a band. By the time she was sixteen,
she had already released her debut EP, Habit, on local punk label Sister Polygon
In the time that’s elapsed since Habit, Jordan has graduated high school, toured
the country, opened for the likes of Girlpool and Waxahatchee as well as selling
out her own headline shows, and participated in a round-table discussion for the
New York Times about women in punk -- giving her time to reflect and refine her
songwriting process by using tempered pacings and alternate tunings to create a
jawdropping debut both thoughtful and cathartic. Recorded with producer Jake
Aron and engineer Johnny Schenke, with contributions from touring bandmates
drummer Ray Brown and bassist Alex Bass as well, Lush sounds cinematic, yet
still perfectly homemade.
The songs on Lush often come close to the five-minute mark, making them long
enough to get lost in. The album’s more gauzy and meditative songs play out like
ideal end-of- the-night soundtracks, the kind that might score a 3am conversation
or a long drive home, from the finger-picking of “Speaking Terms” to the subtle,
sweeping harmonies and French horn on “Deep Sea.” It only makes sense that
Jordan wrote these songs late at night during a time when she was obsessively
reading Eileen Myles and listening to a lot of slowcore and folk songwriters.
“Heat Wave” is one of the album’s most devastating moments, a song that
wallows in a crumbling mid-summer relationship. “I broke it off, called out of my
shift, and just cried in my bathtub and wrote this song,” Jordan recalls. “I was just
so desperate to just get the way I was feeling out onto paper so that I could just
have it and be done with it. It was almost kind of painful. It was like puking onto
paper, and crying, ‘This girl hurt my feelings!’ Towards the end of writing the
record, I became better at dealing with my emotions.”
Jordan’s personal crown jewel of the album, “Let’s Find an Out,” puts her
childhood classical guitar training on display. It’s a road song of sorts, a nod to
feeling young and disoriented on her first ever tour: “I’d gotten knocked around a
lot by the process. I was scared. It’s sort of this love song about another person
who is going through the same thing.” “You’re always coming back a little older /
but it looks alright on you,” she belts over her intricate playing, on one of the
album’s most pensive and gorgeous moments. Lucky for us all, she doesn’t
sound scared anymore.
Bonny Doon emerged in 2014, its four members pivoting away from their punk origins to create something restrained and steeped in contemplation. Songwriters Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo expanded their ongoing collaboration to include drummer Jake Kmiecik and bassist Joshua Brooks. From there Bonny Doon took form, developing a sound indebted as much to musical touchstones like Neil Young and the Silver Jews as it was to the emotional landscapes of their always changing hometown of Detroit.
The group recorded what became a self-titled 7” in the summer of 2014, tracked by Fred Thomas in his living room. A tape of 4-track demos, “Classical Days and Jazzy Nights,” followed in 2015, before reenlisting Thomas to record their texturally dense debut LP, which melded their penchant for time-honored songcraft with production heavy on tape-delay and glowing, roomy sonics. The album was released on Salinas in early 2017, as the band was already deep into work on material for a follow-up. Working in a studio for the first time, they captured a more spare and vulnerable sound and signed on with Woodsist to release the resultant album, Longwave.