It's hard to believe 311 has been at it for 20-plus years, especially after listening to the band's recently released 12th album, Uplifter. (Well, it's actually the 15th, if you count three early indie records that were later compiled to form Omaha Sessions in 1998.) The new disc more than lives up to its name and finds the group seemingly light-years removed from its humble beginnings as a struggling reggae/hip-hop fusion act in Nebraska. Now based in Los Angeles, the multiplatinum-selling band still draws hordes of fervent fans to amphitheaters on every tour and performs with the same zeal and dedication it's shown since 1991. That, combined with the band's mellow message of unity, is a big reason for the fans' rabidity. Another reason is, of course, the music. And whether you get the side of 311 with grinding, hard-rocking guitars and churning bass lines, or the side with the noodling, reggae-ska vibe, it'll always kick ass.

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Christopher Lopez