Long before he attained world renown as the super producer of such alt-rock landmarks as Nirvana’s Nevermind and the first Garbage LP (where he also played drums), Butch Vig was one half of the Midwest outfit Fire Town, whose pair of Atlantic LPs are among the great lost treasures of late 80s college rock.
In 2009, Vig paid his worldwide acclaim forward by reuniting with his old partner Phil Davis, along with fellow Madison, WI, luminaries Frank and Peter Anderson, to form the Emperors of Wyoming. And nearly three years after it was released in Europe, the quartet’s eponymous debut is finally unveiled here in the States.
Thirteen tracks in all, this first EoW LP has been refurbished for 2014, all from the comfort of each member’s respective home studios through the wonderment of cloud computing. And as songs like “Bless the Weather”, “Avalanche Girl” and “Cornfield Palace” can attest, the band’s fluid virtual brew of Ry Cooder-style country noir, AOR folk and punk and hard-driving AAA comes across as naturally as if they were all standing in the same room together recording everything live to tape.
Needless to say, these Emperors’ new clothes fit them like a glove.
– Ron Hart