Like Green Day, Rancid was once reviled as a band of poseurs by much of the punk-rock intelligentsia but is now seen as a standard-bearer for the genre — and sheer persistence is a big reason. Early discs such as 1995's And Out Come the Wolves were so derivative of the Clash and Britain's early-'80s Two Tone movement that they verged on copyright infringement, and subsequent material didn't exactly qualify as wholly original. Still, Tim Armstrong, Lars Fredericksen, and their brethren proved to be true believers in the punk code, and their brand of integrity, combined with enthusiasm and good taste, eventually softened all but a handful of critics. After a hiatus through much of 2004 and 2005, the band has returned with a slightly retooled lineup, with Branden Steineckert replacing Brett Reed on drums. A new album of material, the band's first since 2003, is forthcoming this summer on Hellcat Records.

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