The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa City princess-punk band Early Girl makes music for all

Power trio aims to share their identities through their sound
Ava Neumaier
The band Early Girl performs at Gabe’s on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023. They played songs from their 2023 album “Lovers Out To Pasture,” as well as their new song, “Evil Head.”

Texas-born artist Aaron Longoria missed out on an “angsty-punk-teen” phase in their adolescence, but Iowa City’s live music scene led them to create the princess-punk band, Early Girl.

During their time as a student at the University of Iowa, Longoria found inspiration in the many local live shows they attended and began teaching themself guitar. After graduating in 2019, they started doing professional freelance multimedia work and sound design.

Longoria wrote their first song under their solo alias, Tomatoboy, right before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this alias, Longoria’s sound was primarily soft and acoustic.

However, the pandemic brought a new era of work for Longoria.

“This incredibly emotionally distressing thing happened to everyone,” Longoria said. “The seal was broken for me and so much started pouring out.”

Starring in a production of the rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” last summer diverted Longoria’s creative direction toward a hard-rock sound.

“It was a pivotal moment in my creative identity. It was like a rock star boot camp,” Longoria said. “I was just thrown out there, vulnerable. It was super demanding.”

Throughout the course of rehearsals for the show, Longoria was able to build up enough confidence to scream into a microphone with a full band blasting behind them. From then on, they were eager to switch gears.

After asking friends for a bassist or drummer contact, Longoria was introduced to partners Talera Jensen and August Jensen. The two would later become the band’s bassist and drummer, respectively, with Longoria as the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist.

Talera Jensen, a graduate of the UI College of Law, was traditionally a jazz pianist. Upon introduction to Longoria, however, they picked up bass guitar to earn a spot in the original formation of Early Girl.

“I did the law thing to pay the bills, but this musician thing is getting kind of serious now,” Talera Jensen said.

The city’s live music scene embraces musicians — especially those who feel excluded or unrepresented onstage, Longoria said.

“I wanted the band to be very community-minded because, being in the audience so long myself, I saw a lot of things I didn’t like,” Longoria said. “As a young, brown queer person, there was no representation of me.”

RELATED: IC Singers and Songwriters Collective changes the tune of local aspiring artists

Early Girl’s newest single, “Evil Head,” inspired by Longoria’s education in cinema, will be released on all major streaming platforms on Oct. 13.

“A lot of horror media is super misogynistic. There’s so much violence around women and tropes putting women in harm’s way to further a man’s plot development,” Longoria said, speaking to the themes paralleled in the single. “And as much as I love ‘Evil Dead,’ that’s the formula.”

The single parodies the horror genre with a prominent electric guitar and screamable lyrics.

The band is going through some lineup changes, with the current drummer being Mike Garza. Longoria writes most of the music, but over time has grown more comfortable being more collaborative.

“[The bandmembers and I] will all record something simple in GarageBand — I personally would record my screams on my phone driving home from work — then listen together what we can make out of our stuff,” Talera Jensen said.

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About the Contributors
Zhenya Loughney
Zhenya Loughney, Arts Reporter
Zhenya is a fourth year theatre design and journalism double major at UI. They are passionate about artistry and creativity. They are from Lebanon, KY.
Ava Neumaier
Ava Neumaier, Photojournalist
Ava Neumaier is a first-year student at the University of Iowa, majoring in English & Creative Writing. She was the Editor-in-Chief of her high school yearbook in New York, and has interned for a New York Times photographer. She enjoys taking pictures of performances and student life.