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In the span of one year, everything changed for Lindsey Jordan. The artist, who is the founder of the band Snail Mail, released her debut EP Habit last year on Sister Polygon Records, and the fevered acclaim surrounding the record has yet to settle. Fans now have another chance to fall in love, as Sister Polygon is re-releasing the six-song EP on vinyl, enlivening the sounds of adolescent growing pains once again.
Habit is six-tracks of swirling indie-pop, led by Jordan’s languid but defiant vocals. Joined by band members Shawn Durham and Ryan Viera, the record is one of confessional, hushed force. From the admittance of feeling unwell against the steady, fuzzy strum of “Thinning” or finding companionship in a garden slug on the swaying “Slug,” Habit is a collection of breezy youthful memories. The innocence of teenage laments and wondering are captured with effortless and unforgettable ease.
Jordan wrote the record while still in high school, balancing the requirements of turning in parental permission slips for touring with preparing to graduate and applying to colleges. The gradual success of Snail Mail was unexpected for Jordan, and looking back on it a year after Habit’s release, she no longer identifies with the period in her life that the record represents.
“Our old material feels so irrelevant to me,” Jordan said. “Our new, upcoming songs are so much more calculated. Habit is from when I was 15 and performing it each night on tour is like kicking up old dust.”
Underneath the kicked-up dust, Habit is Jordan’s personal reflections on growing up, including the most painful and wonderful parts. She approached her songwriting for the debut from a personal perspective, exploring what a then-adolescent Jordan saw for the future, and what she once hoped Snail Mail would become. Despite her age at the time, Jordan is overjoyed and appreciative that listeners of all ages can establish their own connection with the material.
As listeners continue to connect with that material and change the future for Snail Mail, including the addition of new tour dates and this decision to re-release, Jordan is deciding what will come next for her in her personal life. As she begins to contemplate that, she’s found Habit is really just a peek into the past, and not a look into what she wants for the future.
“We’re playing these songs from the EP every night, but I’m having new experiences and I don’t feel like I can relate to that material,” Jordan said. “I’ve matured so much since it came out, and I’m so much less emotional.”
The new experiences Jordan speaks of have been an ongoing process, since she started exploring music while still in grade school. Her first forays into performance were playing guitar in a church band and participating in school musicals. It was around the time she was in middle school that Jordan had a revelation, and decided she wanted to further pursue songwriting.
Initially, she wanted to emulate the sounds of the bands she loved, but as she grew and started learning what she liked about music she discovered something—she didn’t want for her music to sound or be like anyone else.
“I had no intention of what I wanted from Snail Mail or what I wanted in music,” she said. “I kind of knew what I wanted with Snail, but had no direct plans made.”
Making it up as she goes along is no longer the case for Jordan. As Snail Mail begins work on a new release, Jordan admits that it’s forced the band to start planning and there’s “no foreseeable end” to life on the road. While it’s hard for Jordan to find time to write between shows, she tries to use spare moments on the road or infrequent periods at home to work. For an artist who was once tentative to plan and unsure of what may come next, Jordan is already dreaming of the next big thing for Snail Mail.
“I’m so excited to do the next record and to really make a record that sounds like what Snail Mail should be,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead.”
Lauren Rearick is a freelance writer for Teen Vogue, the Huffington Post and more. She's also the founder of a purple music blog called The Grey Estates.