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Stereolithic

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Stereolithic
Stereolithic
Studio album by 311
Released March 11, 2014
Recorded August 2013 - November 2013 at The Hive in North Hollywood, California
Genre Alternative rock, reggae rock, rap rock
Length 58:00
Label 311 Records
Producer Scott Ralston
311 studio album chronology
Universal Pulse
(2011)
Stereolithic
(2014)

Stereolithic (stylized as STER3OL1TH1C) is the eleventh studio album by the American rock band 311, released on March 11, 2014. It is the band's first fully independent studio album release since 1991's Unity, this time being on their own label of 311 Records. Stereolithic is also 311's first album since 1999's Soundsystem to be produced by Scott Ralston, making this their first album since 2005's Don't Tread on Me not to be produced by Bob Rock.

BackgroundEdit

When asked about why the band was leaving the major labels in the music industry, band leader Nick Hexum said that "the label system is corrupt; they're so incompetent with their ability to bring any value to the table. It's just a rip-off."[1] After declaring themselves as an independent artist, 311 reunited with producer of Transistor and Soundsystem, Scott "Scotch" Ralston, to produce this Stereolithic. "We asked him to come back and run sound for us, and it really improved our live sound," Hexum explains. "The fans noticed that. Because he did the Transistor album, which is kind of our most beloved fan favorite because it's so eclectic and everything, there was a lot of excitement from the fans about that kind of creativity coming back in with him. So we started talking about new songs and he had so many ideas and just so much enthusiasm that it was like a steamroller of excitement. So we had to say yes to having him produce us. It turned out to be a great decision."[1]

The band built up suspense for the album's release via Twitter by presetting the release date to be March 11, 2014 (3-11 Day) over 200 days in advance. During the songwriting process, P-Nut informed Hear Magazine that the new album had "darker themes, even lyrically." To explain, he said "I think even more people will relate to this album. The positive thing is tough for a lot of people to swallow, for whatever reason. That is who we are, but I don’t know, it’s nice to kind of admit that in the world we live in, it’s pretty difficult for some people. It’s an endless source of both inspiration and frustration, so why not make music out of it? I’ve always felt that, at least in demo form, our music is darker than the philosophy behind the lyrics that can end up in the final product. I think my job in the room when we’re writing is to help shape that."[2]

With some additional interviews, fans received some descriptions of the innovative new sound the band was working on. "There are a lot of great rock riffs and Chad keeps mentioning that he wants it to be danceable, so that's what he's going for in his drum parts," Hexum said in an interview with Fuse. "There are a lot of harmonies and more rapping than there was on the previous record because that's what the riffs called for. There's definitely some retro-sounding moments, too."[3] The same article also described "crazy epic" dual-sweep arpeggio guitars that brought the band's experimentalism to a brand new level. Hexum also told Billboard magazine that "There’s a lot of riffs and really good high-energy stuff that’s going to be great for a live setting. I think there’s a good diversity of tempos and feels and arrangements, lots of distortion guitar and big rocking parts but then there’s some trippy, chill-out moments and even some hard rock, like dual leads that some might say could sound like some old classic rock."[4]

PromotionEdit

For the first time, the band utilized a promotion website to not only sell the album, but special merchandise as well. Through PledgeMusic, 311 made pre-ordering available on January 13. Those who pledged to buy any combination of CDs, vinyl and posters (some autographed) were put into a drawing to win a variety of prizes which include: Concert tickets, backstage passes, media photo passes, custom guitar picks from Nick and Tim, a pair of custom Vater drumsticks used by Chad Sexton during recording, GHS bass strings used by P-Nut during recording, a band-autographed drum head, hand-written lyrics by Nick and S.A. from a song of the winner's choice, a live Skype call from P-Nut, and as the grand prize, Tim Mahoney's autographed Paul Reed Smith SE guitar.[5]

SinglesEdit

Stereolithic's first single, "Five of Everything", was released on February 4, 2014. Regarding the song, Hexum stated "It's innovative and interesting and cool so I'm just excited for the world to hear it."[6] On February 19, a music video for the song premiered on Yahoo! Music.[7]

Commercial PerformanceEdit

The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 41,000. This marks the bands 8th consecutive top 10 debut.[8]

Track listingEdit

No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Ebb and Flow"  Nick Hexum, Doug "SA" Martinez, Chad Sexton, Aaron "P-Nut" Wills, Scott Ralston 3:24
2. "Five of Everything"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston 3:51
3. "Showdown"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston 3:48
4. "Revelation of the Year"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston, Tim Mahoney 4:11
5. "Sand Dollars"  Hexum, Ralston 3:19
6. "Boom Shanka"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston, Wills 3:05
7. "Make It Rough"  Hexum, Martinez 3:22
8. "The Great Divide"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston, Mahoney, Wills, Sexton 4:05
9. "Friday Afternoon"  Hexum, Gabriel Weiner 4:12
10. "Simple True"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston, Wills 4:12
11. "First Dimension"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston, Wills, Sexton 3:22
12. "Made in the Shade"  Hexum, Ralston, Wills, Sexton 3:23
13. "Existential Hero"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston, Wills, Sexton 4:00
14. "The Call"  Hexum, Martinez, Ralston, Tim Pagnotta 3:27
15. "Tranquility"  Hexum 3:48
16. "Hidden Track"    2:31
Total length:
58:00


Bonus tracksEdit



PersonnelEdit

ReferencesEdit

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