"from Firefly Music Festival"

by Giliann Karon


"I haven’t been in America in so fucking long” Lindsey Jordan said as she tuned her guitar. Known as Snail Mail, 20-year-old Jordan finished her European tour just days ago, before which she was in Australia and New Zealand. And before that she was in Europe again (thanks Songkick), where I had the opportunity to see her at Pitchfork Paris.

She isn’t like most 20-year-olds. And she certainly shreds better than them, too. She exudes cool girl vibes and her music serves as a soundtrack for everything from the morning commute to the 1:04 am wine drunk cry. Her first EP, Habit, cinched a 7.7 rating from Pitchfork and her debut album Lush won Best New Music, catapulting her towards indie rock stardom.

She took the stage wearing a Wednesday Addams inspired outfit—a long black shirt over a white collared button down, even though it had been in the eighties all day. She began her 8:15 pm set with her signature opening jam before launching into “Heat Wave,” her most famous song, which recently hit 7 million plays on Spotify.

Lighters and bodies swayed as she moved seamlessly through songs, only stopping to tune her guitar and asked the sound technicians to adjust the audio settings. The girl next to me applauded the fact that she didn’t accept shoddy audio settings for the sake of being accommodating, which is something we need more of in the music scene and in general.

Her set radiated badass girl power and the crowd fed off her enthusiasm. Girls in the pit offered water to people they had never met and they moved so the person behind them could see. Everyone looked like a friend that would say “text me when you get home.” Her shows foster a sense of community because all of her fans are 20-somethings that understand heartbreak and isolation. Her songs capture these feelings and set it to a gnarly riff.

Most of her songs were from Habit, which she recently re-released. This was the third time I had seen Snail Mail and something I really appreciate is how she changes her set with each show. She always starts with an opening jam before effortlessly seguing into “Heat Wave” to get the crowd moving. But from then on, it’s Lindsey Jordan’s world and we’re just living in it.

The sun ducked behind the trees while she belted “Static Buzz.” At times, her voice sounded more like a gravelly shout, which is what makes her so unique and authentic. On stage, she’s unabashedly herself. She’s not afraid to dance, swear, and be vulnerable. Her lyrics narrate the young adult experience with a sense of maturity and eloquence far beyond her years.

She closed her set with a new song that she requested the audience not to record. “Deadass don’t record this,” she said. And the audience obliged. The rest of her band exited the stage and it was just her and the guitar. She sang some sad girl song that I’ll probably be crying to as soon as her next LP drops. Her raw voice, impressive guitar skills, and brutally honest stage presence will make her next album just as successful as Lush.