Snail Mail’s show at Music Hall of Williamsburg during Brooklyn’s Northside Festival has been sold out for months. This, however, should not come as a surprise. Since selling out their first headlining show at Brooklyn Bazaar back in January, Snail Mail has been on everybody’s radar here in New York (and everywhere, really, stretching from the stages at SXSW to opening for bands like Girlpool and Waxahatchee)–and this almighty buzz can all be credited to a six-song EP called Habit released in 2016.
Since then, Snail Mail’s angsty leading lady, Lindsey Jordan, has graduated from high school, turned eighteen, and has been pouring herself into the band’s first full-length album called Lush (whose release date was scheduled mere hours after their show at Northside on June 8th).
The band’s label, Matador Records, has been their cheerleader for months now, posting all over social media about their indie darling who doesn’t care at all about being mainstream–but instead slays the scene with her unassuming stature and radiantly self-aware lyrics, writing about love and life and all its revelations (that most fully-discovered adults don’t even have the introspective capacity for). She’s the singer with roots and bleached hair, wearing an oversized white tee-shirt and sneakers, singing her guts out like a true suburban adolescent who is endearingly innocent yet feels everything. It’s a bent sound that goes right for the jugular but isn’t entitled–songs that feel like they’ve been written and practiced in a humid garage on a night where not much is happening–notes flattened with heartache, guitars pulsing trying to prove a point.
The show at Music Hall of Williamsburg opens with two bands: Corridor and Lionlimb. And while these acts performed in a whirl of blue and red lights (exactly like the cover art of Lush that’s decorated in those exact primary shades) you could feel the crowd getting excited. They wanted Snail Mail. They wanted to succumb to this puppy-eyed introvert spilling her heart out on stage. They wanted to know if what everyone was saying about her was true. Is she the next big thing in indie-rock? Will her new album be as good as her singles like “Pristine” and “Heat Wave” suggest?
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A girl in the crowd mentions to a friend that she knew Lindsey from high school in Maryland. “But she’s seriously so much cooler than me now,” the girl said. But Lindsey Jordan just doesn’t seem like the type to ever think that she’s cooler than anyone.
The show starts with some new songs. The crowd is in awe, attentively watching the ever-so-curious yet startlingly aware singer devote herself to the microphone and to her cherry-red Fender, before shyly announcing the anticipated release of Lush, followed by an unbelievable “What the fuck?!” She sings old favorites like “Slug” and “Thinning”–songs that get the crowd cheering because these are the songs that they first discovered and fell in love with from this band–full of quotable lyrics that surely make most people question their incomparable sense of maturity from their late teens. “I could’ve waited my whole life to know the difference,” she sings, “but I should’ve known better than that.” For such straightforward lyrics, that are raging with emotion and cracking with vulnerability without being overkill (which you’ll hear in all of her songs), it’s a very sharp punch. What other teenage musician can you say that about these days?
The band then disappears backstage, leaving Lindsey to take over on her own, as she begins to play the appropriately-titled first song off of Lush called “Intro.” Afterwords, as the lonely poetic feeling of the song lingers heavily among the crowd, she then runs off the stage, almost as though she’s riddled with embarrassment or late for practice after school. The crowd keeps cheering. They want more. And then the whole band returns to the stage for a much-craved encore and begin to play “Static Buzz” from their EP. It’s an “old” familiar song that leaves the crowd yearning for all that’s next to love on Lush, so they can sing along just as loud exactly like that next time.