311

Biography

Omaha's 311 take their name from the city's police code for indecent exposure, but amateur numerologists will have a field day parsing their identifying digits in different ways. Subtracting 311 from 1990 returns a "Does not compute" error, for instance: the band was simply too crucial to the sound of that decade. After the provisional success of the funk-rock group's first two albums, 1995's 311 wedged itself forcefully into the alt-rock zeitgeist, going to No. 12 on the album charts. Mixing up rapping, grunge riffs, vinyl scratching and mosh-able choruses, it perfectly summed up the Lollapalooza generation's smorgasbord-like approach to musical styles. With 1997's Transistor, 311 had both beefed up the guitars and dialed up the dub effects, perfecting a contrast between RATM-style rap-rock and festival-friendly reggae jams that would define the following year's live album. While alternative tastes eventually moved on, 311 continued to ply their polymorphous funk and positive lyrics; they returned in 2009 with Uplifter, their ninth album.
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