Our Girl: Agnostic Purple Sweet Lovers with a Knack for Songwriting

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Euphoric, ethereal and pulsating, the sound of Our Girl oscillates through Stoke Newington’s Waiting Room like the boom and beck of a guiltless explosion. Washing over the crowd comes Soph Nathan’s raw purr and irresistible tempo-tastic riffs with the ebb and flow of Josh Tyler (bass) and Lauren Wilson’s (drums) rhythm section.

It’s evident even in the soundcheck that Our Girl are onto something special, and it’s intriguing as well as impressive to hear each member play and sing their part in isolation. Blended, the trio are a force to be reckoned with.

So enamoured are we with these soaring studies on personal relationships that, in a first for us at Flying Vinyl, we’re putting out not two, but three of their seductive tunes on one transparent orange-cast miniature EP.

“A sound that will fill you up from the inside like a tonic.”

Being Around, No Big Deal and new Ty Segall cover Hot Fuzz (a treat that the trio recorded for us) will be landing on your doormats this week, and we can’t wait for you to drop the needle on a sound that will fill you up from the inside like a tonic.

The unity of these musicians is palpable on stage, and off it, too, Soph, Josh and Lauren are a veritable gang.

For one, they’re all Hufflepuffs, though acceptance ranges from reluctant (Josh – “people say that I’m a Hufflepuff”) to proud (Soph – “I’m a total Hufflepuff!”)

To Lauren, being a member of the yellow-hued Hogwarts house means that “we’re nice and we like animals.”

True, when a pug/chihuahua cross comes into the Three Crowns, everyone’s ears prick up, and nice is, if I’m honest, a total understatement.

But what else make Our Girl tick? Our chat is extensive and far-reaching, so there’s plenty to report.

For one thing, all three of them favour the purple Skittle (“the citrus ones are shit”). For another, Soph recently felt grossed out by a fried chicken meal that was, she argues, “too chicken-y.”

From the low brow to the lofty, I can also tell you that not one of the trio are religious (what with the transcendence of that music, I had to ask.)

“The power is with us.”

“I feel spiritual but I don’t believe in God” says Lauren. Instead, she believes “in people and the connections between people…the power is with us.”

This energy of relationships is a gossamer thread, glistening at the heart of Our Girl’s tunes. It continues in brand new, addictively melodic Ty Segall cover Sad Fuzz, which Soph “couldn’t get out of [her] head for weeks.”

What with its rise and fall reminiscent of water, it’s an inspired choice for a first cover; an ideal companion to their similarly liquid original tunes.

Not for no reason does the Normally EP feature friend Mina submerged in the bath, or the video for No Big Deal see Soph, Lauren and Josh floating, thrashing and tumbling in an outdoor swimming pool in North London.

Water seems the ideal phenomenon to parallel these tunes, both Lauren and Soph coming to the idea of “having a view of the sky through water” independently of one another. And, as Josh insists: “swimming in clothes is very freeing.”

So there we have it: a trio of agnostic purple sweet-loving water babies with a knack for songwriting. Race you to the turntable.


A version of this article first appeared here on Flying Vinyl

 

Estrons: An Interview

Tali of Estrons is having none of my shit.

“It’s kind of a non-question” she says when I ask on her take on the refugee crisis, “it’s just fucked, isn’t it?”

She’s not fucking with my question about what makes someone ‘punk’ in 2017, either. “I’m so fed up of that word being thrown around. I just think it’s so easy to say ‘there’s a girl and she’s singing and not playing guitar, therefore it’s punk.’ But it’s actually just really heavy pop music.”

Honestly, it isn’t the music itself that makes “lazy journalists” box Estrons up as punk, it’s an attitude. It isn’t there in the riffs or the rhythm, or because of the female lead. It’s in the bubbling anger of the delivery. An Estrons song is a poisonous internal diatribe let loose like a shaken can of beer.

‘Refreshing’ is such a dull word, but for want of a better one, that’s exactly what Tali’s total lack of bullshit – both on and off stage – is. Case in point: cigarettes and alcohol are the things she’d choose to describe herself in a show-and-tell with an alien. “This is what I do to damage my liver [and] this is what I do to damage my lungs. We’re so miserable on the face of this planet that we just slowly commit suicide over the space of thirty years…if they lived here I guarantee they’d smoke as well.”

It’s this barefaced frankness that makes songs like 2015’s (Flying Vinyl B side) Make a Man and anti-fuck boy anthem I’m Not Your Girl as powerful as they are. Tali’s vitality is channeled through the whole band, fizzing from guitar to bass to drum kit and back again: mutinous, melodic and cathartic.

Out on the road, Estrons “want people to be…blown away by the songs.” This particular crowd certainly is, as crowd-surfing, mosh pit turbulence and general ecstasy peak during both new songs and ones that they already know all the words to.

“My son learnt to walk in a service station”

The crowd bay for EP opener Belfast, and Tali gives it to them, but only after debuting a slew of new tracks that take pop by the throat and thrust it into motorcycle boots.

As with any musician, there’s a softer side that doesn’t see the light of stage. As we discuss the “hours and hours of motorway travel” that make up a band’s existence, talk turns to Tali’s son who, I’m told, “learnt to walk in a service station.”

The M42 services, to be exact: “he kept trying to walk into the Over-18 gaming section: he wanted to gamble so much he actually walked himself there.”

Little Björn also went out on tour with Slaves, who he loved and who loved him: “they wear lots of jewellery in their ears so he was always going for their faces and tattoos,” she says, recalling the tour that took the band to some of the UK’s smaller, forgotten venues.

“The reason you do it in these towns is because big music doesn’t go there anymore,” Tali says of September’s Back in the Van Tour that took the two bands to Penzance and St Alban’s via Bridgend and Hebden Bridge, “we want to do another one.”

Before talk of a new road trip though, there’s the current headline tour to complete, the release of “a few singles over the next couple of months” and then an album, to be recorded “towards the end of the year.”

Through it all, Estrons will remain “not in any way manufactured.” Whether you think that Estrons’ music represents bitterness, frustration, feminism, no bullshit, ecstasy or all of the above, the fact of the matter is this: “I’m just representing myself.”


A version of this article first appeared here on Flying Vinyl