UPDATED: The 2014 HPMA Write-In Nominees

Categories: HPMA, On the Road

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Graphics by Monica Fuentes
UPDATE (Monday, 2 p.m.): See new voting ballot info in third-to-last paragraph.

It's been an interesting week. Rocks Off would like to thank everyone who participated in last week's write-ins for the 2014 HPMA ballot. It says a lot that even after their favorite local artists were left off this year, fans cared enough to speak up for them and tell us we were wrong.

Of course we expected some criticism of our revised nominating process. But we still felt it was an improvement on the previous system, which sometimes rewarded acts as much for their self-promotion skills as the actual music they made, and excluded some deserving artists who were simply not interested in dancing to that particular tune.

That's why the people we asked to participate this year were the most knowledgeable about the local music scene that we could think of (and who wanted to participate; ultimately all but a couple of people we asked did). Furthermore, they are, in our opinion, all people capable of being as objective as possible about a survey that hinges on the use of the word "best." They will also all stay safely anonymous.

So that's our story and we're sticking to it. But like we said last week, it was never our intention for this whole thing to be a one-way street.


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The 20 Most Beautiful People at Electric Daisy Carnival 2014

Note: this article is a gift from our good friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly.

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All photos by Christopher Victorio
You thought only homely people went to Electric Daisy Carnival this past weekend? Think again! This year, per usual, the bold and the beautiful made their way to Las Vegas for parties that lasted all night long.

Here are the concertgoers, shot by Christopher Victorio, whom we found particularly enchanting.


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UPDATED: The Best and Worst Things at EDC Las Vegas 2014

Note: Our L.A. Weekly sister blog West Coast Sound sent a team to the Electric Daisy Carnival, this weekend's EDM extravaganza in Las Vegas. This article was written by Dennis Romero.

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Photos courtesy of LA Weekly
UPDATE (June 25, 1:45 p.m.): See correction at end. What's it like partying with 134,000 of your closest friends?

After a fourth year covering Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, the size and scope of America's largest electronic dance music festival (and, really, one of the country's largest music events, period) still just leaves us breathless.

This is the definition of massive. That this culture has gone from warehouse raves with one laser and a few hundred people to a 1,500-acre event so large that the only way to avoid an hour-plus worth of traffic is to arrive by helicopter is astonishing, especially if you were part of the scene in its early days.

What's not to like? We'll start with the worst:


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Planning That Perfectly Disaster-Free Summer Tour

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Photo by Daniel Torres
The Grizzly Band
It's summer. No 7 a.m. classes. You've saved your money. You've hoarded your vacation and sick days because you need those perks now.

You've made all these sacrifices and more to be able to team with your kindred spirits and take your band on the road. You've planned to go forth and conquer with all the precision and foresight of Alexander the Great. But before you can start weeping over no other worlds to conquer, are you ready for the battles you'll face on this particular roadie?

Two bands, one local getting ready to tour and the other just passing through, recently shared their best advice on this musical rite of passage.


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Raver's Death at EDC Vegas Under Investigation

Note: Our L.A. Weekly sister blog West Coast Sound sent a team to the Electric Daisy Carnival, this weekend's EDM extravaganza in Las Vegas. This article was written by Dennis Romero.

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Photos by Christopher Victorio/Courtesy of LA Weekly
The Clark County Coroner is investigating the death of a 24-year-old who collapsed outside Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas Saturday morning.

An autopsy was being conducted this weekend, but results aren't yet available to the media, an official at the coroner's office told us. If drug use is suspected, it's likely that a cause-of-death determination will be put off until investigators get their hands on toxicology test results.

The raver, who collapsed outside the three-day festival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was identified as Montgomery Tsang of San Leandro, Calif. He was pronounced dead at a University Hospital at 6:15 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.


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This Year's Electric Daisy Carnival Headliners Are Just Awful

Note: Rocks Off's L.A. sister blog West Coast Sound sent a team to the Electric Daisy Carnival, the annual EDM extravaganza in Las Vegas. This article was written by Dennis Romero.

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Photos courtesy of L.A. Weekly
Big isn't always better. The fourth installment of Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas is drawing 100,000 people per night.

The challenge facing its L.A.-based promoter, Insomniac, is how to balance what has now become radio pop, with electronic dance music's underground roots.

In order to live so large, with one of the biggest festival stages in North America, the music has to be over-the-top. We're talking Steve Angello, Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Afrojack. Unfortunately this is often...


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Kanye West Always Soars Highest, Even at the X Games

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Photos by Marco Torres
It's not the fact that lots of people seem to hate Kanye West that's interesting, it's that they seem to hate him the most when he does what we all wish we could. I mean, if any of your friends spoke truth to power, called out the establishment on their bullshit, or married the girl of his or her dreams, you'd rightfully like that Facebook status. It was that last one that's had people in a frenzy lately, because how dare he have a badass wedding? Who does he think he is anyway?

You'd think by the amount of people sharing the New York Post's "hilarious" West/Kardashian wedding takedown that people must really, really hate Yeezus right now, so much so that no one would pay money to see him live. That's ludicrous, right?

Except that yeah, despite the amount of money ESPN spends on it and the amount of airtime they give it, this year's X Games were just a really long opening act to Kanye's first performance as a married man, one that had people risking bodily injury just to catch a glimpse of the man himself.

It's the kind of thing that's sure to infuriate someone.


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Making Magic on the Beach at Hangout Music Festival 2014

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photos by Marco Torres

"Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand. With an equal opportunity, for all to sing, dance and clap their hands."

-- Stevie Wonder

There is something absolutely incredible about music. The way it acts as a conduit of expression and celebration, attracting multitudes of people together in a united front of excitement and wonder, creating and releasing emotions from deep within the soul... it is nothing short of magical.

Those were the thoughts that I pondered as I walked along the white sandy beach of Gulf Shores, Alabama during the 2014 Hangout Music Festival this past weekend. With a cool breeze on my face and the sun at my back, there seemed to be a different vibe from what you normally find at a music festival.


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The Long, Strange Trip of Austin Psych Festival

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Photo by Pooneh Ghana/Courtesy of Austin Psych Fest
Christian Bland and the Revelators
When I woke up last Saturday morning in Houston deciding whether to attend Austin Psych Fest, I had barely wanted to go. When I got to the grounds near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, my worst fears were realized: the heat was unbearable, it was dusty, and I spent that afternoon wandering around like a Giacometti statue trying to figure out "Wat Se Fak?" (German for "WTF") I was doing there.

If you're looking for rest and relaxation, this festival might not be the vacation for you next spring. Although thankful for the lift, paying $5 for a chartered school bus to Carson Creek Ranch felt like something out of the commune scene in Easy Rider. Considerably more avant-garde than most music fests, APF was populated by bands with ambition. It's not a place for people to come lounge and luxuriate, but an environment for people who are really, really into music.

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45 Years on, Jazz Fest Remains an Irresistible Draw

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Photos by Rick Mitchell
Jermaine Hawkins and the Harvey Spirituals in Jazz Fest's Gospel Tent
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival wrapped up its 45th anniversary celebration this weekend with an announcement that Shell Oil will remain the festival's presenting sponsor for at least five more years, when it will turn 50. The seven-day event was blessed with near-perfect weather and played to huge crowds this past Saturday and Sunday, with New Orleans favorite son Trombone Shorty closing down the Acura Stage and John Fogerty headlining on the Samsung Galaxy Stage at the other end of the Fairgrounds racetrack.

In many ways, Jazz Fest is bigger and better than ever; it is, in my opinion, the best music festival in America, if not the world. What makes this growth all the more remarkable is that the festival almost died ten years ago, when torrential rains shut down the festival on both weekends. In survival mode, the nonprofit New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and Festival Productions formed a partnership with AEG Live, one of the two largest concert promoters in the country. This partnership enabled the festival to come back from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Shell signed on as presenting sponsor in 2006.


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