A lot has changed for Lindsey Jordan since she played her first show in 2015, assembling an ad hoc crew to open for Priests and Sheer Mag at a festival. Snail Mail’s
jangly, introspective sound—layered with the Ellicot City, Maryland native’s carefully constructed lyrics—belies the band’s spontaneous origins. In a little under three years, they’ve released an EP on Priest’s Sister Polygon
label, toured the United States, and signed to a major indie—all while Lindsey was finishing up high school. Ahead of Snail Mail’s debut studio album, which is due out on Matador
this summer, she spoke to us about being a feminist musician, balancing schoolwork with touring, and growing up.
What inspired you to start playing music?
I don't know—it's just a hobby. I started playing guitar when I was five, and I didn't start writing songs until I was 12 or 13. I recorded an EP on Apple Garageband a really long time ago that's not on the internet anymore, and I formed a live band to play this one show—just for fun. Then we recorded the EP, Habit
, because we had some friends that were willing to help us with it. Originally, our goal was to do these five or six songs, or whatever. I mean, I never really intended for it to go well, you know?
What's the scene like in Baltimore? Was there any particular show or band or space that was really inspiring to you?
I hung out a lot at Black Cat in DC. I saw a lot of punk bands there, and I feel like that world was pretty encouraging as far as starting your own band. I don't know about now, but there are a lot of really great record stores in Baltimore. Celebrated Summer in Hampden is where I discovered a lot of the punk music I really love now.
DC is a really big place for punk. It's a really big creative hub, with a lot of DIY spaces, and there are a lot of young people doing awesome stuff. I have some friends who play in punk bands in Baltimore. I think [Baltimore has] got a culture of people who work really hard and think outside the box.
For the past half-decade, Priests have been an anchor of their native-D.C.’s music community, releasing music by local or otherwise likeminded bands like Snail Mail, Downtown Boys, as well as Priests-related side projects including Flasher and Gauche, via their label Sister Polygon. After releasing their excellent Bodies and Control and Money and Power with Don Giovanni, the band is gearing up to release their debut full-length, Nothing Feels Natural through their own label. The album’s title track channels the urgency that’s characterized their previous music through a dizzying melodic arc to create a bracing anthem about the struggle to realize yourself against seemingly irresistible forces.
Listen to “Nothing Feels Natural” below. The record is due out January 27 via Sister Polygon Records. Priests will be kicking off a tour in support of the record with an anti-fascist benefit concert in DC on the day of the inauguration. They’ll be performing in New York with Snail Mail at Brooklyn Night Bazaar on January 28.