This English sextet with a Hispanic name has defied current conventions to transcend Brit-pop, charm the jam-band crowd and win the respect of alt-rock snobs. How do they do it? Great, imaginative and original rock ’n’ roll, plain and simple. Formed in Leeds in 1996, Gomez’s demos sparked a bidding war, and their debut long-player, Bring It On, proved them well worth the hubbub when it won the 1998 Mercury Music Prize for best album. Frequent Stateside visits, four more impressive studio releases and a live two-fer album have secured Gomez a legion of U.S. fans, the ranks of which will surely swell after the May release of How We Operate, which finds the group brilliantly retooling their sound and taking it to greater heights.