I loved the Smashing Pumpkins albums. Butch Vig’s work was been described as fine-tuned editing work, cutting and splicing tape to make intricate changes, and using many tracks to get the final result. All that studio work doesn’t imply that he’s a great drummer, though I don’t complain about Garbage’s drums. Garbage might also put out a new album soon, but I probably won’t get their album because I’m not really into their vocalist, Shirley Manson.
As for Steve Albini, well, I don’t recognize him although he’s done a lot of work. Maybe it’s because, as he said, “My actual work ethic is based on making things sound exactly as they are, with the intention of letting the artist’s technique and execution do the work.” That’s why In Utero sounded so raw.
For a band like Nirvana, I think that the raw kind of production done on In Utero, recording in only two weeks, was so well suited to the music. Nevermind was a great album too, but it was so slick that it was popular. I think you get what you put into it. If you want a great album that can sell lots of copies, call Butch Vig; for a real sound, try Steve Albini.
I guess too that that’s why everyone in the world has heard of Garbage, but Big Black never became the Rolling Stones. How about Steve Albini’s current band Shellac?