Music 311 – Stereolithic
Music 311 blends rock, rap and reggae into an eclectic and unique sound. The band has been able to sustain a career, with constant touring and selling out summer arena shows thanks to their massive grassroots fan base.
Nick Hexum, S.A. Martinez, Tim Mahoney and bassist P-Nut formed the group in Omaha, Nebraska. After signing to Capricorn Records, they released their 1993 debut, Music.
Often by the time an artist’s second or third album rolls around, they have a pretty good idea of who they are as a band. This is probably why so many bands choose to skip the distracting title and go straight for the self-titled route.
Featuring the wry Line-Up and the melodic Waking Up, this is a great debut from The Used that really showed off their songwriting capabilities. It paved the way for post-hardcore and screamo and cemented Bert McCracken as one of the few vocalists who can truly sing in a key.
A classic that rekindled a passion for music in people that had been smothered by pop songs. Lou delivers subverted pop ditties that were a danger to radio but were perfect for igniting a new fire of passion in rock.
311’s first studio album without producer Bob Rock since 1991’s Unity, Stereolithic features songs that are smooth and chill (“Sand Dollars” with its groovy guitar tone, “Friday Afternoon” with soothing melodies and a bit of rapping), hard and gritty (the throwback-sounding “The Great Divide”) and everything in between. The highlight is the aforementioned “Boom Shanka,” which has one of 311’s best guitar solos and a short, sharp scream from Hexum that takes the song to another level.
While Stereolithic retreads some of their old staples, including funky grooves married to metal riffs and Hexum’s crooning, the songs are much crisper and clearer than the Rock-manipulated Universal Pulse. 311 fans will appreciate the maturation of this group, even if it doesn’t quite transcend Grassroots-levels of excellence.
Four decades after they were launched weeks apart in 1977, Voyager 1 and 2 have revolutionized planetary astronomy. They’ve astonished researchers with close-up views of Jupiter and Saturn’s stormy moons, showing active volcanoes, fissured ice fields and other phenomena on worlds astronomers once thought would be inert and crater-pocked.
When the spacecraft eventually reach other stars, they’ll send back images and data. But they also carry a gold-plated “golden record” featuring 115 songs, including natural sounds (breaking surf and bird song), spoken greetings in 55 languages, an hour of brainwave recordings and music ranging from Beethoven to Johnny B. Goode.
Each probe is equipped with computer programming for autonomous fault protection, so it can operate on its own when round-trip communication time with Earth becomes hours or even days long. This will be essential when the Voyagers finally leave the solar system and enter a region of interstellar space that’s full of different types of cosmic rays.