Artist of the Month is an accolade given to an up-and-coming artist or group who is poised for the big time. For May 2022, we’re celebrating Jordana and her irresistible new album Face the Wall.
There was a moment of Tumblr fandom around 2013 where indie was more than just a record label status or music style. It was a cherished aesthetic, a place for young people to collect images and stories of untouchable cool, and, most of all, a place to bask in the stylish iconography of bands like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, The Neighbourhood, and The 1975.
Now that we’re in 2022 and in the midst of a supposed “comeback” of the indie sleaze aesthetics, those fans have grown up and begun music careers of their own; Jordana, Consequence‘s May Artist of the Month, is one of them. Her musical background extends far beyond her internet days, busking on the boardwalk of her Maryland hometown with a violin at 13 and self-identifying as a band kid.
But it wasn’t until her (healthy) obsession with Julian Casablancas and The Strokes that she began to write music on guitar and thrust herself into the indie community, cementing once and for all that she is indeed a singular artist, and one who could hold her own with some of the biggest rock bands around.
“I swear I’m not weird… but my Tumblr username was ‘thestrokesarcticweekend,'” she tells Consequence, “I was a 13, 14 year old girl obsessed with a band… of course I’m going to take a deep dive into their tour photos. Like, I’m going to do that.” She may have been running a Strokes fan account back then, but deep inside was a truly authentic voice that deserves to be celebrated.
Several years and EP releases later, Jordana is gearing up to release her first proper studio album, Face the Wall (out Friday, May 20th). Whereas her previous EPs — including the excellent collaborative EP Summer’s Over with TV Girl — found a lo-fi, bedroom-oriented indie rock palate, Face the Wall is much more ambitious, vividly produced, and brimming with confidence.
Her voice spans across each dynamic like a waterfall, finding softer moments of intimacy amidst powerful passages of crystalline rock, always ebbing and flowing. And beneath it all is precise and catchy indie rock, with pounding drums, some groovy guitar, and a good helping of energy.
At the core of Face the Wall, in Jordana’s opinion, is “self growth.” It’s clear in the album’s confident sound and lyrics, but it’s also clear in Jordana’s grounded and authentic personality. This is an artist who lives and breathes music, is passionate about new artists, and has no interest in hiding behind an online persona to celebrate what she loves. She may still identify as a “stan” for her indie rock favorites, but that passion has now manifested itself into an exciting career through and through.
It’s not just indie rock for Jordana, either — having grown up playing the violin, she also cites Lindsay Sterling as a big inspiration. “I was obsessed with her,” she says, “my mom made me a binder of the sheet music. I wanted every song on sheet music.”
Jordana confesses that before switching to guitar, she was playing violin “all the time,” frequently busking on the Chesapeake Beach Boardwalk and beyond. She says she even joined a few bluegrass jams; after dark, she’d walk over to “The Wheel clothing store” where it was “all these old people playing bluegrass on the porch.” Jordana would join, of course, but she knew she still had a lot to learn. “They were old, but they were crazy fucking talented.”
From there, Jordana began her quest to learn guitar and write songs, thanks to her friend and fellow busker Anna (as well as YouTube). She initially tried her hand at ukulele before learning songs by Jake Bugg and Shakey Graves on the guitar — and eventually, songs by her heroes The Strokes and Grizzly Bear. The latter band particularly stood out to Jordana when she was learning how to write songs; she confesses later that Grizzly Bear’s Shields was an album that completely changed her life. “I guess I want to be as cool as them,” she tells us. “They’re just so effortlessly cool.”
Luckily, that sense of cool is intuitive to Jordana. Face the Wall‘s songs never drag or meander; the production is slick and precise; her guitar tones are rich and full of character. One listen to “Catch My Drift” and it’s easy to see both Jordana’s past and her future — her nostalgic, alt-rock backdrop meeting her vibrant, blissful indie pop sensibilities in real time.
When asked what she would do if she were given the opportunity to open for The Strokes, Jordana says, in a supremely hyperbolic way, that she would “shit herself and cry of happiness.” If that seems a bit extreme, it’s because her passion runs deep and defines her relationship to music. That passion and earnestness is always welcome and much needed in today’s hyper saturated world of pop, and Jordana wears it well.
In between geeking out about Vampire Weekend’s debut and her favorite NYC artists, Jordana has an air of cool for our interview. She’s certainly excited for the release of her album, but there’s a feeling of confidence and pride in her work that few 21 year old artists possess. Not only that, she’s just embarked on her biggest tour yet, opening for Wallows across America and playing some truly massive venues.
It all comes naturally for Jordana, and Face the Wall proves she’s one of the most exciting new voices in indie rock. With luck, she’ll be opening for her heroes The Strokes any day now.
Watch the full interview with our May Artist of the Month Jordana in the player above. You can also catch her on tour; tickets to her upcoming shows are available via Ticketmaster.