Sound Advice: gobbinjr with Knotts and Molly Sullivan at The Hub (June 29)

A solo effort in the studio and full band on stage, Emma Witmer's Indie Pop project explores the "power in vulnerability."

Jun 26, 2018 at 10:10 am

click to enlarge gobbinjr - Photo: Sonya Belakhlef
Photo: Sonya Belakhlef
gobbinjr’s latest album, ocala wick, opens with this confession from Emma Witmer: “I’m going to work high/I’m sitting at work high/I’m smoking at work high/Nice to meet you.”

Witmer (who records as gobbinjr solo but is joined by a band for live performances) projects these sentiments via a modest, almost childlike voice and an equally unassuming musical backdrop that resembles the raw, eccentric folksiness of The Moldy Peaches. The song is called “Afraid of Me,” and it’s the perfect primer for what’s to follow — 10 more vignettes that ride on Witmer’s unabashedly vulnerable lyrics, rudimentary sonics and whimsically oddball vibe. On Facebook, “mean pop” is how she fills out the “genre” tab.

“Fake Bitch” commences with another vivid opening salvo: “I felt you press your dick against my thigh when we hugged/I didn’t ask for it/You’re not the one I want/’Cause you’re a fake bitch and you know it.” Acoustic guitar, a steady beat and keyboards back Witmer’s tale of a music club encounter gone bad, a seemingly ramshackle combination that, by the song’s shimmering finale, brings to mind Grandaddy fronted by Sarah Vowell.

Witmer moved to Brooklyn from Wisconsin to attend college a few years back, and a Midwestern modesty permeates the thoughts of a woman who isn’t afraid to reveal her flaws or yearnings.

“One thing this project has shown me is that there is so much power in vulnerability,” Witmer told Noisey in a recent interview. “Once you take down your defenses, no one can harm you. It seems like kind of faulty logic, but there’s sort of an inner armor that vulnerability provides. It’s one that doesn’t shut out criticisms on your work but considers it, embraces it and lets it go.”

Click here for more on this free show at The Hub in Over-the-Rhine.