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gobbinjr, Addison Christmas, Colin Edwin

  • Communication 2645 Milwaukee Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)

Former Madisonian Emma Witmer, aka gobbinjr, makes exceptionally balanced indie-pop. Info

Photo by Sonya Belakhlef.

Photo by Sonya Belakhlef.

The music Emma Witmer makes as gobbinjr music stands out in the overflowing Brooklyn music scene for its intimate lyrics, soothing melodies and masterful control of multiple instruments, including Witmer's vocal delivery. Witmer can impress by herself, with just a keyboard and drum machine, yet still deliver intensely personal moments when she plays with a full band.

Witmer grew up around Madison and left to attend NYU's music school, then dropped out to write, produce and perform her melancholy indie-pop. Some traceable influence of Witmer's remains in her Madison, as she'd helped write songs when she founded Modern Mod, who continued to perform those tunes as a mainstay in town for years, before themselves splitting up and sending members into the likes of Dash Hounds and Slow Pulp.

I was first struck by gobbinjr when I heard the song "bb gurl" from the project's debut album, 2015's ManalangThe first line hits the gut: "Last night I dreamt your girlfriend died / You should have cried, but you didn't." On her latest album, this year's Ocala Wick, Witmer has opens more emotional windows into her life as her songwriting develops into an upbeat counterweight to the possibility of crushing cynicism. Witmer sometimes refers to her music as "mean-pop," but the punches she throws come with gloves on, in the form of dreamy synthesizers and minimalist drum-machine taps that could support lullabies. The balancing of the good parts of life with calling out what's wrong is a constant battle throughout the album, but she's winning that battle, as each song sounds like its own victory. Addison Christmas opens, featuring Abby Sherman from Trophy Dad, with similarly sad, yet forward-looking bedroom rock, along with the solo artist Colin Edwin. —Reid Kukerewicz