Bettie Serveert, Brain Tag

I got into conversation about a young rock prodigy today who named her band Snail Mail. She’s had a Tiny Desk concert, her new album comes out this week from Matador (a good label).

But Matador and journalists seems to be saying that Jordan Lindsay, the singer songwriter who is Snail Mail, is somehow someone body surfing in the legacy of Liz Phair. But this appears to be totally wrong. Maybe because Lindsay is only 18, and graduated high school like this week. She’s less than a sophomore. Right?

Apart from whatever virtues Snail Mail have, they exhibit none of the immediacy of Phair and any of her albums, including the challenged but actually overall okay Funstyle. I mean, Funstyle, once you excise track one and two, is pretty okay.

In any case, Liz Phair is a giant of plain speaking, rock making, self exposing, and none of that should be disregarded. Is it great art, great rock, great personal decisions are all good topics for discussion. But Liz Phair did this, and she didn’t have to.

In any case, this discussion reminded me of Bettie Serveert, who made a record I loved in the mid 90s, called Palomine, and another record I liked. The point here is that rock takes many shapes, but all should be judged on how far you push it.

Bettie Serveert pushed it modestly, but she rocked. It’s hard to know what to with the perfectly affable Snail Mail in that context. Like them? Maybe on Facebook.

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