- G. Love & Special Sauce
Summer's the time for kicking back and letting the frosty layers of winter melt away like the ice in a margarita -- the type of carefree chilling out embodied by Philly trio G. Love & Special Sauce. Mashing together equal parts blues, soul-funk, and Beastie Boys-style playful raps, such albums as 1997's Yeah, It's That Easy and 2001's The Electric Mile are groovefests reliable for their eclectic nature and G. Love's tongue-twisting, b-boy-smooth delivery.
Expect Love's tourmates, the feel-good fivesome 311, to perpetuate the good vibrations. The Omaha, Nebraska natives are the cockroaches of the alt-rock community, surviving the turbulent last decade with surprisingly few missteps and a shitload of radio hits. Their latest disc, Evolver, features laid-back atmospheres built on rock-solid funk-metal flow, hip-hop vocal rhythms, and breezy reggae vibes. It makes 311 an enduring idol to nascent hippies, established potheads, and frat brothers all.
Appealing to the squeaky-clean younger siblings of those fans, the Orange County quintet Something Corporate manages to overcome its generic moniker with truly original tunes. Their sophisticated lyrics come off like high school hallway note-passing among the gifted kids, and vocalist-songwriter Andrew McMahon adds melodic piano accompaniment to the lightweight emo rock. This ensures that the barely legal band sounds more like the well-behaved pop protégés of Elton John and Billy Joel than rowdy, angst-ridden adolescents.