The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Mission Creek Preview: Snail Mail

Snail Mail's Lindsay Jones holds up a hand covered with a thick, dark stubstance.

Snail Mail kicks off her 2023 tour at Mission Creek in Iowa City on Friday April 5th. Lindsay Jordan’s solo indie rock project started when she was 15 years old. By the time she was 18, Snail Mail’s first album “Lush” was met with critical acclaim. “Valentine”, released in 2021, featured a poppier sound without compromising her integrity.

Snail Mail’s 2018 release “Lush” is a great listen as spring slowly blossoms into summer. Jordan’s crisp yet thoughtful guitar rings through the album over bittersweet lyrics. Lines like “The morning bleeds into golden dream / Just like before” from the song “Golden Dream” wash over listeners like a cool night breeze over sunburnt shoulders from the beach. Tracks from “Lush” evoke a sense of nostalgia in listeners. Jordan writes with a clarity that evokes memories of late summer nights and lost love.

Snail Mail's Lindsay Jones poses over a lush green background
Photo: Josephina Santos

Armed with a jangling guitar in her first two albums, Jordan’s sound matured into a darker blend of synths, keyboards, and strings in her 2021 release “Valentine”. This shifted her from the Liz Phair comparisons but added depth to her songs. Intricate layering caused attentive listeners to pick up on new touches on tracks. On “Headlock”, synths emit a ghostly woo during the chorus. This project switches between songs adjacent to dream pop rooted with a driving guitar (“Valentine”, “Glory”) and somber reflective songs (“Mia”, “c. et. al.”) without compromise.

The “Valentine” music video depicts a queer revenge story set in a Victorian-era setting. The chorus “Why’d you wanna erase me?” soars over the track. Jordan gorges on cake to defy stuffy socialites and ends the video in a bloodbath reminiscent of “Carrie”. A golden retriever puppy steals the show in the “Ben Franklin” music video set in a New England home that matches the brighter poppy sounds of the track.

If you enjoyed Soccer Mommy’s set at last year’s Mission Creek, or artists such as boygenius and Japanese Breakfast, check out Snail Mail’s set. Artists bring an extra burst of energy on the start of their tours. Snail Mail performs on Friday, April 7th at the Englert Theatre. See Mission Creek’s website for tickets, schedules, and more.