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  • Writer's pictureStephen Diamond

Not My Valentine

This is a story of love and heartbreak. It starts, as any good love story, with love at first sight - but this is more like love at first listen. It was 2018 when I first heard Lindsey Jordan's (a.k.a. Snail Mail) introductory LP, 'Lush'. It was the perfect introduction for me into the sad-melodramatic-angsty-indie-girl vibe, and I was smitten. Lindsey's voice, like the name of the album, is lush, but not in an endearing or comforting way. Rather, she croons and cuts through janky punk-driven guitar rhythms. It is pure and unadulterated, like young love. However, after three years without a second date the pressure was on for her sophomore album to keep us in love. Finally, 2021 came around and her new album 'Valentine' was released, but it was certainly not my valentine. While many swooned over its release, I was left heartbroken and disappointed. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations to experience the same excitement, energy, and ultimately sound in this new album - especially with Lindsey being a more mature adult than when she released 'Lush' at 18 years of age. I am willing to give Lindsey a chance at a third date, but in the meantime I am left exploring the other options in the sad-melodramatic-angsty-indie-girl talent pool. So, if you are like me and are one of the few that did not fall in love with, 'Valentine', then these other five albums released in 2021 are for you.

Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp by Lunar Vacation

This indie rock band led by the soulful vocals of Grace Repasky released their first LP, 'Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp' in October of 2021. The Atlanta-based band has a string of EP’s and singles with an easy listening electronic jazz sound, and a touch of heartbreak and sorrow. Older tunes like 'Unlucky' and 'Too Late, Colin' never fault getting stuck in my head - humming the melody of her crying vocals incessantly for the remainder of the day and night. Their new album is not absent of Grace's vocal presence, but this time backed with a rock and punk vibe. The series of songs in this track list are like mood swings of the average day - from longing, anxiety, to calm and serenity. It has something for everyone to relate to, and bound to make you catch more feelings than 'Valentine'.

Twin Plagues by Wednesday

Like the day of the week, the North Carolina based indie punk band, Wednesday, exudes the frustration and struggle we experience when we realize we are just halfway through the week. Their second album, 'Twin Plagues', was released in August of 2021, and begins with the crunchy guitar angst of waking up on a Monday morning for work after a full weekend of festivities. Lead singer Karly Hartzman utters few vocals in the starting album-titled track, like many of us when we have not had our first cup of coffee. As the album goes on, it ebbs and flows with anger and melancholy - such as the sweet slide guitar vibes on 'How Can You Live If You Can’t Love How Can You If You Do'. Well I will tell you - if you do, you can live, and will love this album more than 'Valentine'.

Welcome Break by Pip Blom

The Amsterdam-based, Pip Blom, has been perfecting her sound since she started releasing songs in 2016. Her second album, 'Welcome Break', which was released in November of 2021, is indeed a welcomed break from the doldrums of daily life. With upbeat and grungy power chords and her sweet soprano vocals, Pip will make your troubles seem a little lighter. It is hard not to tap your toes or dance down the street to tunes like 'Keep It Together' - even if your life is in pieces. With these collective 11 tunes, you will quickly fall in love with Pip’s vibe and want to check out all her material, because unlike Snail Mail, this young writer’s songs just get better and better.

Dandelion by The Greeting Committee

This three-piece indie rock group out of Kansas City is fronted by the energetic Addie Sartino. Since 2015, they have been releasing carefree rock tunes, and in 2021, they released their second full album, 'Dandelion'. In the 10 track LP, Addie cries out alongside kick drum driven rhythms, and the occasional melancholy tune supported solely by an acoustic guitar and piano. The songs deal with heartache and relationship frustrations, from the rocking 'So It Must Be True', followed by the slow 'Wrapped Inside of Your Arms'. While the songs are not quite as sad or dramatic as Snail Mail’s 'Lush', you will fall for Addie’s personality - which is at the forefront of each song.

Super Monster by Claud

As previously written, Claud's 'Super Monster' was one of my top 10 favorite albums of 2021 (see where it placed). This indie pop artist from Chicago popped onto the scene with a class of other self-made bedroom pop artists over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Claud's music is different from Snail Mail and the other alternatives mentioned above, it is an updated form to the sad-melodramatic-angsty-indie vibe. Despite being the same age as Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan, 'Super Monster' is Claud's first LP and embodies the same fresh feeling of heartbreak and anguish that 'Lush' did. In fact, the album even starts with the words, "I fell in love like a fool overnight". Claud dives right into those feelings of longing with a light and catchy gritty pop rhythm. Needless to say, you would be a fool not to fall in love overnight with Claud's expression of heartbreak, and pick 'Super Monster' to be your real valentine.

So, this Valentine's Day, fall in love with these ladies above. Share in their sadness, anger, and heartbreak the way that Snail Mail was unable to do (for me at least) in her new album 'Valentine'. If you are lusting for a new 'Lush', I hope these other albums from 2021 will help fill that void.

P.S. - I would be remise not to point out for the hard-core sad girl indie fans that some of the queens of the genre like Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker did also come out with new albums in 2021. Even popular newcomers like girl in red and chloe moriondo released records last year that could help fill that void. I just did not fall in love with their entire albums like I did for the ladies above, and if that hurts your feelings then go write a song about it =P

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