Despite that title, get ready for something tasty.
Bobby Emmett, former organ/piano-bass player in the Sights, is streaming his new solo record in its entirety on his myspace page. The album is unabashed powerpop, withÂ big nodsÂ to Boston, the Raspberries and Sloan. Full of guitarmonies,Â handclaps and vocal gymnastics, the basic tracks were cut in Dave Cobb’s studio in LA, with Cobb on drums and Bobby on guitar, and overdubs were done by Bobby and pals Chuck Bartell and Matt Thibodeau at his house, strictly sticking to a vintage gear path and “no plugins.” He even had Jay Ferguson and Lyle Workman (who, despite being far more well known for other reasons, will always be known to me as one of the guys who playedÂ lead guitar on Spilt Milk) stop in for cameos.
Best Bobby quote from his recent Cribs and Rides article: “If the Beatles were around today some dumbass would be autotuning it.” So true. The charming personality of left-in flubs, like Paul saying “Oh fuck!” on the piano track of “Hey Jude,” would surely beÂ ”sorted out in Tools” these days. Not to say that this is a warts-and-all record by any means – no doubt Bobby worked hard to make everything as perfect as possible (and used Pro Tools to do so). ButÂ I appreciate (as Bobby notes on his myspace page) that he and Greg Gordon manually mixed the record using all four of their hands on the board, manually adjusting panning, volume,Â etc, adding one moreÂ human element so that even the mixÂ is aÂ performance. Listening to the unintentional disparities between the mono and stereo mixes of the recent Beatles reissues is a reminder ofÂ that element that’s since been lost in mostÂ automated modern mixing.
So kudos to Bobby for finishing the record and doing it his way. It takes some guts to bust out the credit card and make an uncompromising record of professional quality by yourself, especially a record that may never be performed live (since he’s now a touring member of Shooter Jennings’ bandÂ and the album is performed by a group of people that have never all been in the same roomÂ together). Despite all odds, the record is completed, soundingÂ fantasticÂ andÂ offered up for you to enjoy.