Ask a 19-year-old what they do for fun, and you might hear something about hanging with friends, watching Netflix or playing Xbox. Lindsey Jordan will tell you the same thing, though “make critically acclaimed album and tour the world” would probably be somewhere in there too.
Jordan, who plays as the indie rock outfit Snail Mail, put out her debut LP “Lush” on Matador Records last summer to enthralled audiences, with critics deeming it among the best releases of the year. Across 10 songs, the Maryland native weaves together the complex feelings of melancholy and weariness that unfold in suburban adolescence, painted over bright, expansive instrumentals, the result evoking 2000s indie without the self-seriousness, ‘90s emo without the self-pity.
“I really wanted to express who I was and make something that I felt like was representative of the time period for me,” she says.
There is, in her words, certainly a lot of teenage melodrama on the album. But Jordan is wise beyond her years, as evidenced by her ability to funnel her despondence and defiance into catchy hooks that bounce around your head for weeks. She’s learning on the go, too, hitting one continent after the next as she belts those hooks to sold out crowds.
She admits that life on the road has a learning curve — she’s had to step up her “maturity and general life skills” — but she still feels confident in herself. “I don’t feel more disadvantaged than any of my older peers.” She pauses. “Other than buying alcohol.”
The one thing she hasn’t yet adjusted to is the lack of alone time, a hard commodity to come by in between all the routines of tour life, so she has to manufacture those moments of introspection for herself. She likes to put on white noise and bury her nose in a book — whether it’s “Giovanni’s Room” by James Baldwin, or a book on My Bloody Valentine’s seminal “Loveless” — or duck out of the concert venue and stroll to a cafe for a breath of fresh air.
At the same time, Jordan is outgoing and unabashedly her youthful self, her social media feeds littered with half-ironic musings and bathroom selfies. “I try to keep a charisma and attitude about myself where I feel like people don’t try to [expletive] with me,” she says, laughing.
But, more than anything else, Jordan knows what she wants. That’s more than most teenagers, or anyone else for that matter, can say. “I’m really just interested in making music and playing it the way I want to. Everything else to me is background noise.”
If you go: Snail Mail is performing Saturday at 8 p.m. at Madison Square Garden, 4 Penn Plaza, msg.com, $42.50-$85.