What's Butch Vig up to these days? The formerly Madison-based producer/ drummer/ rock star is living in L.A., 18 months into raising his first child, daughter Bo Violet. And he recently produced the major-label debut of Gainsville punk rockers Against Me!
New Wave is fresh evidence that Vig's talents can change a band's sound. A scuffed-up hodgepodge of styles defined Against Me! on their first three albums. Like a lot of punk rock, there's nothing nuanced about the instrumentation. Think musical dogpile.
Vig's brilliance remains his capacity to sort and showcase the instrumental components of punk. Against Me! are full of polish, even brightness, this time out. Their chanting lyrics and thundering guitars sound ready for WJJO-style "active rock" radio. Still, Against Me! brim with punk resistance, despite their refreshing willingness to reflect on their own imperfections. On "Americans Abroad," frontman Tom Gabel howls about "profit-driven expansion into foreign markets."
"And while I hope I'm not like them," he reflects, "I'm not so sure."