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Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees Announced

It’s that time again! Time to review the candidates, do your research, and start voting!

We’re not talking politics here, this is straight up rock and roll, and for the first time in their history the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is giving fans a say in which of the newly announced 2013 nominees will be inducted.

Among this year’s first time nominees are Rush, N.W.A and Public Enemy, while returning nominees include Donna Summer, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and The Meters. Artists must have released their first recording no later than 1987 in order to be eligible. It’s a tight race people, but someone has to decide on these artist’s hall of fame fate!

Now through Dec. 5, you can vote at Rockhall.com and CNN.com and give your favorite artists a shot at becoming inducted. Winners will be revealed the same month, with the 28th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony taking place April 18 in Los Angeles, and broadcast on HBO at a later date.

View the full list here and get voting!

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Fans, Help Intel Find The Next Canadian Superstars

From Rush, to Leonard Cohen, to Neil Young, Canada has turned out some incredible musicians over the years.  At least, enough to let us forgive them for also producing Nickelback, Justin Bieber, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Who’ll be the new batch of real unsigned talent?  Help us decide by judging in the Intel® “Canadian Superstars” Competition! Judge Canadian artists across seven genres including electronic, singer-songwriter, urban, pop, rock, country and Francophone, and you’ll have the chance to win an awesome prize pack of a Fender® Modern PlayerTelecaster® Plus and a Fender® Mustang II 40 Watt Guitar Combo Amp.

Who knows? With those tools in hand, you might just be the next Canadian superstar!

Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Rockin' Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is supposed to appeal to all of our finer instincts as sentient earthlings ”at least that’s the idea that’s been inculcated in us practically since birth. So why is its annual arrival commonly greeted with the kind of dull-eyed existential dread otherwise reserved for tax audits, traffic court and other such frivolities? Maybe it’s because of the stress that comes along with finding just the right gifts for all the loved ones on our lists. After all, some folks are a snap”another Xbox game, Scotch bottle or sweater, and they’re set”but everyone’s holiday shopping list always contains at least one or two of the type we’ll term “The Difficult Ones.” Their tastes are micro-specific, and they usually seem to want nothing, already have everything or both. With that in mind, in the interest of sucking some of the stress out of the season, here are a few humble holiday gift suggestions for “The Difficult Ones” in your own life, conveniently organized by personality type.

The Classic Rockers


Jimi Hendrix – Winterland

Do you have a dude in your life”and in this context, “dude” couldn’t be a more appropriate designation”whose idea of extreme sports is playing air guitar to Bachman-Turner Overdrive while pedaling his exercise bike? Someone whose TV remote has somehow been programmed to never depart from the VH1 Classic channel? He may already have every classic-rock reissue, remaster and repackaging you could conceive of, but he hasn’t gotten around to this one yet”five live discs featuring Jimi Hendrix in his prime at the legendary Winterland Ballroom. Iit’ll send any card-carrying Classic Rocker into a state of six-string ecstasy.

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Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Geddy Lee Revs Up Rush's 'Time Machine'

It was thirty years ago that Moving Pictures bumped Rush up from successful journeymen with a respectable following to full-fledged rock stars. While its predecessor (Permanent Waves) was the Canadian power trio’s first commercial breakthrough in the US, Moving Pictures was the album that found Rush moving from the prog-rock extravaganzas of the past to a more concise approach, and reaching out in new directions” incorporating everything from New Wave to reggae in their stylistic mix. Since then, the alienation anthem Limelight and the video-game synthesizer riffs and octopus-on-speed drum fills of Tom Sawyer have soundtracked the teen travails of a few different generations, with countless air guitars raised aloft in tribute to the staying power of this crowning moment in Rush’s career.

Earlier this year, Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson decided to throw Moving Pictures a moving birthday party, taking the album in its entirety to stages all over the world, and Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland documents the occasion on both CD and DVD.  Examining the motivations behind this kind of full-album tour, singer/bass player Lee says, I think it’s born out of two things: you’ve got an older fanbase that love those particular albums, and love the idea of hearing them in their entirety, and there is a younger fanbase¦they’ve been handed down those songs without ever having the experience of seeing them played live. So when a band like ourselves plays something like that in its entirety it draws from both those areas.

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Rolling In The Deep Cuts

The Feens

Whatever it is about the late ˜60s era of rock and roll, we just can’t seem to shake it out of our collective psyche. Bands like Cream and Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath have endured beyond their years, inspiring endless bands in their wake. The Feens, from Hamburg, Pennsylvania, are one of such bands. Their bluesy, psychedelic rock is bottom heavy with reverb-drenched harmonies to give it lift. Potent stuff. Space Van lures the listener into a heady brew of guttural guitars and psychedelic vocals. Strange kicks off with ropy guitars, settling into a bluesy groove, while Find Another Love adds a funk element into the mix. The Feen’s most ambitious track is probably the dark and stormy Nebula, where guitars gallop helter skelter over scales. It’s RUSH meets Cream”groove-centric prog that takes you someplace you’ve never known. That is, unless you lived through the ˜60s.

Scene & Heard: Toronto, ON

Although Canada is shares the North American continent with the US, the Canadian music scene has a personality all it’s own. And while the many different markets in the US all offer they’re own unique flavor, Canada seems to be a more united artist community. Toronto’s music scene in particular seems to support this community vibe. The Toronto scene is a pretty small one, sort of like a close knit family in a big city, comments OurStage folk/pop act, and this week’s Scene & Heard ambassadors, Madison Violet. It’s an incredibly supportive community.

Toronto has a lot to offer in terms of style and genre. To begin, there’s a really diverse classical/chamber scene in Toronto. Like any flourishing classical market, there needs to be a conservatory. In this case, it’s the Royal Conservatory of Music. Without even mentioning the caliber of musician that graduates from their programs, the school has hosted eclectic concerts from The Bacon Bro’s to Yo-Yo Ma to Clark Terry.

Of course, we have to talk about Toronto’s impressive lineup of indie, rock and even hip hop artists that have hailed from this market”Rush, Barenaked Ladies, Anvil, Metric, Sum 41, k-os and K’naan. Obviously these are some of the most iconic Canadian artists, and they all seem to come from the same area. Whether it’s the indie/hip hop scene”which garners really interesting collaborations with pop/rock acts such as Metric”or the rock scene” who all seem to identify with each other regardless of their branch of rock,”Toronto has an impressive track record and plenty to offer

Madison Violet are a singer/songwriter duo made up of Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac whose music lies somewhere between the genres of indie/pop and roots/folk songs. Being the winners of countless awards/nominations including many from ECMA as well as the Canadian Folk Awards and The John Legend Songwriting competition, the industry is clearly taking notice. The duo has performed with Brian Eno, Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Sexsmith before. Beyond numerous Canadian productions, they have also been featured on CMT during various shows and title segments.

Madison Violet was able to give us a little insight on the local scene, particularly in regards to what venues are good examples of the Toronto roots/indie scene. We both think that Hugh’s Room is the place to play for roots music, said guitarist/vocalist  MacEachern. It’s more of a sit down dinner theatre vibe. It’s a good sized venue, but smaller than a theatre. Plus, the sound is good, which is very important!

If you’re looking for a more rock-oriented set, a venue like The Opera House will deliver. This old converted opera house kept the 1900s décor but books an eclectic lineup of indie, rock and pop artists. Madison Violet would also like to direct you to The Dakota Tavern. It’s like walking downstairs into an old Country & Western movie.

Check out Madison Violet’s OurStage profile as the band is currently planning a tour of Germany and Switzerland. Be sure to check out Toronto to hear some really high caliber acts like Madison Violet.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Rockstar gamers rejoice! Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock was finally released today.

The game includes over 90 songs from the likes of KISS, Black Sabbath, Rush, Muse, Queen and Megadeth. In addition, it is the first Guitar Hero game to feature a story mode, known as Quest Mode. Narrated by KISS’ Gene Simmons, players will complete songs to move further in their quest to save rock ‘n’ roll.

Warriors of Rock: Here is your brand new axe!

Players can also engage in Party Play and Quickplay+ mode, which offers 13 gameplay challenges for each disc track and many downloadable songs from Guitar Hero World Tour.

As in previous releases, players can choose to play guitar, drums or sing vocals. An exciting new addition to this game is the updated guitar controller, which is now “shredding”-enabled and complete with a swappable body for custom designs.

Saving rock one track at a time!

Guitar Hero is also breaking new ground by collaborating with Soundgarden to release the first video game/album bundle. Soundgarden’s new compilation album Telephantasm is bundled with the first one million Warriors of Rock games. In addition, you can download the entire album to play on Warriors of Rock.

Below is the trailer for the game, for those of you who are still in the dark. If you can tear yourself away from this epic rock adventure, let us know what your favorite songs and game features are!

iRock: The Anix

For many the future of music is a topic up for debate” whether it’ll sink like a stone or be saved by those artists with raw, born-with-it talent. During the past decade, the music industry found salvation in pop and hip hop more so than they have in the past thanks to the Top 40 charts being man-handled by the likes of Lady Gaga, Nickelback, Drake, Flo Rida, Taylor Swift, Ke$ha and the like. Many people today think the true meaning behind music is lost in the waterfall of contracts, dollar signs and sponsorships.

However, now is the perfect time for the underground music scene to make their mark and give the people the raw talent that we were brought up on (remember the 90’s alt rock movement? I sure do). Luckily, I recently found a band that meshes the elements of synth pop and industrial music with the alternative rock sound that has been fading since the birth of autotune. Hailing from the city of angels in California is this week’s iRock artist, The Anix.

The Anix beautifully implements an electronic sound that not many can perfect (especially at this stage) while offering a rock edge jam-packed with strong, cutting vocals and crunchy guitar riffs. In September 2009, the group joined Apoptygma Berzerk on their tour through US, Canada and South America (shameless plug for label attention * cough cough *). With an industry-ready music video for Half The World Away (embedded below) and  write-ups on Absolute Punk and in both Billboard Magazine and Revolver Magazine, this unsigned trio shows potential to hit the rock scene harder than most”and with a polished sound like this, there’s no limit to how far they can go.

The Anix is fronted by Brandon Smith (vocals/guitar) who, along with drummer Logan Smith and keyboardist Greg Nabours, deliver solid performances on each track they put out. Building on influences from The Police, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Queen and Rush, the band proves there are still real musicians out there who can write solid songs with perfect hooks that will keep listeners on the edge of their seat. Check out the playlist below to hear “Resident One,” “The Ghost Of Me And You,” “Half The World Away” and “Bullets Without A Gun.”

Without further ado meet my new rock fix: The Anix.