Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Colorado Springs-based indie band Tiny Tomboy hadn’t released a single song.
After forming in 2019, the band made up of five Colorado College students was busy playing shows nearly every weekend at fraternity parties and elsewhere around campus.
On the night before spring break in March, lead singer Eliza Neiman-Golden remembers being excited about having just set up a professional photo shoot for the group. Then she and other students learned they wouldn’t be returning to campus. Which meant no photo shoot.
That didn’t mean no music.
While quarantining in separate communities, from Minturn to Denver to Washington, D.C., the musicians recorded vocals and mixed percussion and guitar from afar. In June, Tiny Tomboy released its debut single, “Someone Else.” The band pledged its revenues to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
And in late November came the band’s second single, called “Midnight Launderette.”
This one, also made in isolation, mostly comes from the mind of Neiman-Golden. She decided to take the fall semester off from school and go back when in-person classes return, so she’s spent the past few months at home in New York City.
While she says the time at home has been “super creative,” it’s also been marked by a familiar struggle for her: insomnia.
“It will literally be 8 a.m. and I haven’t fallen asleep yet,” she said. “It’s very demoralizing.”
Neiman-Golden has tried to put that feeling into lyrics before. It finally clicked while listening to a meditation that was set inside a laundromat. It might not have helped her fall asleep, but it helped her write a song. In it, she sings about “wasting hours staring at ceilings,” and Benadryl or Sleepytime Tea not being strong enough.
The song’s darker lyrics, such as “I’ve convinced life has no meaning” and “I’ve never been so alone, soothed by the glow of my phone,” worried some listeners, including Neiman-Golden’s mother.
“She definitely came into my room and was like, ‘Are you sure you’re OK?’” Neiman-Golden said.
The singer said her mother’s reaction made her laugh, especially because she felt so happy to have made the song.
“To me, I’m definitely used to hearing angsty music,” she said. “You listen to a song so many times in the process of making it that the words just become sounds.”
The 21-year-old has long been inspired by emo music and lately has taken after the styles of Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker.
“Anything that can make you feel emotions intensely is just more powerful,” Neiman-Golden says. “It leaves a bigger impression.”
She started playing the guitar when she was 8 and wrote her first song as a high school senior.
“When I got into college, I dove into it,” she said.
At Colorado College, where she’s studying music and computer science, she met the members of Tiny Tomboy.
The band’s name comes from two traits of Neiman-Golden. When she was younger, she and a best friend “went through a big phase” of wearing camouflage pants and trying to learn how to skateboard.
“I don’t think I ever left the tomboy phase,” she said.
She’s also 4 feet, 10 inches tall. But her height hasn’t stopped her from commanding a stage. Tiny Tomboy shows have been known to inspire some occasional crowd surfing.
“It’s a little different seeing us live, versus just listening to our music,” she said. “Our shows are definitely pretty loud.”
Neiman-Golden said she hopes to bring Tiny Tomboy shows back when it’s safe to do so. She also says an album is on the way in 2021. Being part of the band — and making music during quarantine — has solidified something for the soon-to-be college grad.
She wants to be a full-time musician.
“That’s the dream,” she said. “But we’ll see how things work out.”
This content was originally published here.