Archive for January, 2008

current listening 01/31

adrian belewoff-duty winter listening this week has included…

Adrian Belew: Side Four – Guitarist Belew burned it up on a snowy mid-February Saturday last year in Newport. The live Side Four was recorded the night before in Dayton. From the jittery drive of Writing on the Wall to the finale firestorm of King Crimson’s Thela Hun Ginjeet, Side Four lets Belew’s power trio funk, pop and roll run wild.

Peter Brotzman Chicago Tentet: Chicago Tentet at Molde 2007 – Saxophonist Brotzman, an elder free jazz visionary, reconvenes his new generation Chicago Tentet for music that is mediative, mysterious and, eventually, almost disturbing in its level of brute physicality. The opening Ten by Ten (all 39 minutes of it) is a volcano all unto itself. 

Fairport Convention: Many Ears to Please – A real discovery. Many Ears to Please unearths a February 1975 gig in Norway with fill-in drummer Paul Warren, the playful interplay of fidder Dave Swarbrick and guitarist Jerry Donahue and a repertoire that spotlights the gallant return of the great Sandy Denny.  

Gram Parsons: The Complete Reprise Sessions – Having soaked up the recent archival Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers live CD as well as Emmylou Harris’ sublime rendition of Parsons’ Grievous Angel recently at the Singletary Center, it was time to delve back into the early ’70s studio albums that made traditional honky tonk music seem psychedelic.

Anthony Phillips: Field Day – A veteran British guitarist (and co-founding member of Genesis), Phillips discards the more amibient keyboard trappings of his recent solo albums and offers a wealth of solo acoustic guitar/bouzouki instrumentals (61 tracks on two discs) that place the honest melancholy of his playing in a more organic light. A 2005 release. 

AMD Reports 4Q and Annual Results

Wireless News January 26, 2011

Wireless News 01-26-2011 AMD Reports 4Q and Annual Results Type: News

AMD announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2010 of $1.65 billion, net income of $375 million, or $0.50 per share, and operating income of $413 million.

In a release dated Jan. 20, the Company said it reported non- GAAP net income of $106 million, or $0.14 per share, and non-GAAP operating income of $141 million. The non-GAAP net income and non- GAAP operating income primarily excluded a net of tax gain of $236 million, and a pre-tax gain of $283 million, respectively, that the company recognized related to a patent license and legal settlement. go to site amd phenom ii

For the year ended December 25, AMD reported revenue of $6.49 billion, net income of $471 million, or $0.64 per share, and operating income of $848 million. Full year non-GAAP net income was $360 million, or $0.49 per share, and operating income was $553 million.

“AMD enters 2011 with significant momentum, amplified by the successful launch of our first Fusion APUs,” said Thomas Seifert, CFO and Interim CEO. “I am confident we can drive profitable growth based on the strength of new products we will bring to market. Our customers recognize that Fusion APUs are at the core of delivering the world’s most vivid digital experiences.”

Quarterly Summary

-Gross margin was 45 percent, down one percentage point sequentially primarily due to lower microprocessor average selling price (ASP).

-Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities balance at the end of the quarter was $1.79 billion.

-Computing Solutions segment revenue was flat both sequentially and year-over-year.

-Operating income was $91 million, compared with $164 million in Q3-10 and $161 million in Q4-09.

-Microprocessor ASP decreased sequentially and was flat year- over-year. The sequential decrease was due to lower notebook and server ASPs.

-AMD kicked off the next era of vivid computing with the launch of the industry’s first Accelerated Processing Units aimed at providing better experiences on the types of visual and data- intensive applications. Our first AMD Fusion APUs combine a low- power x86 microprocessor with DirectX11 capable graphics to deliver optimized mobile experiences.

-Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba plan to deliver thin and light mobile PCs based on the new APUs that offer full 1080P HD experiences and long battery life. in our site amd phenom ii

-Key software partners announced support for AMD Fusion APUs, including Adobe, ArcSoft, Corel, DivX and Microsoft.

-Notebooks powered by AMD’s new APU received nine innovation awards, including best innovation and editors’ choice awards.

-AMD introduced its fastest six- and dual-core processors with the AMD Phenom II X6 1100T and the AMD Phenom II X2 565 Black Edition processors.

-AMD continues to be adopted in the world’s highest performance computers. AMD technology powers more top 50 supercomputers than any other processor vendor in the latest Top500 Supercomputing list.

-Graphics segment revenue increased nine percent sequentially and was flat year-over-year. The sequential increase was driven by increased discrete graphics processor unit ASP and a seasonally strong increase in game console revenue.

-Operating income was $68 million, compared with $1 million in Q3- 10 and $50 million in Q4-09.

-AMD introduced its second generation of DirectX 11-capable graphics cards to acclaim and market reception, receiving more than 120 awards. The game performance, energy efficiency and unrivaled feature set drove 50 awards for the AMD Radeon HD 6900 series graphics alone. Popular Science magazine recognized the ATI Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 graphics card with the magazine’s ‘Best of What’s New 2010′ award.

Current Outlook

AMD’s outlook statement is based on current expectations. The following statement is forward looking, and actual results could differ materially depending on market conditions and the factors set forth under “Cautionary Statement” below.

AMD expects first quarter of 2011 revenue to be flat to slightly down sequentially.

For additional detail regarding AMD’s results and outlook please see the CFO commentary posted at quarterlyearnings.amd.com.

AMD is a provider of semiconductor design.

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

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a lil' dap'll do ya

sharon jonesThis is one of those shows where you’re simply not supposed to ask why.

Never heard of Sharon Jones? Don’t worry. You’ll love her. Not big on vintage soul music? Well, you should be. But the finger-popping, brass-happy, twang-hearty Dap Kings that have long served as Jones’ backup band will have you forgetting about labels, tags and genres. What this crew comes up with is R&B, blues and roots-inspired party music that bears an unavoidable retro slant and a huge contemporarary heart.

With three extraordinary indie albums to her credit, soul diva Jones is finally heading to Kentucky. She performs with the Dap Kings on Friday at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville.

The Georgia born, Brooklyn bred Jones’ newest album with the Dap Kings, 2007’s sublime 100 Days, 100 Nights , fortifies her sense of soul smarts with a vocal command that leans heavily on gospel. No surprise there. Jones started singing in church choirs. She shows off that inspiration directly with help from bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart and the Carolina Chocolate Drops on the dynamite soundtrack to The Great Debaters.

Now here is the crowning touch. You need to hit the road to Louisville early enough to hear the show-opening Ivan Milev band. Accordionist Milev has been a prime ambassador of Balkan and Bulgarian folk music for over three decades. While he resides in New York, his band still consists exclusively of Eastern European players. Among them is Milev’s apprentice, violinist Entcho Todorov. Together they create positively mad and boundlessly enthusiastic acoustic music. It’s a soul sound from, literally, another world. Check out these samples.

Louisville’s DJ Kim Sorise, co-host of the city’s famed Dirty Soul Party public radio program, will also be on hand. So Scrap whatever plans you have for tonight. You need to be at this show. It’s just that simple.

(above photo of Sharon Jones by Dulce Pinzon)

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Ivan Milev Band and DJ Kim Sorise perform at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Rd. in Louisville on Friday. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call (502) 584-8088.

Study data from University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center update knowledge of mantle cell lymphoma immunology. site mantle cell lymphoma

Health & Medicine Week May 26, 2008 Researchers detail in ‘A severe combined immunodeficient-hu in vivo mouse model of human primary mantle cell lymphoma,’ new data in mantle cell lymphoma. In this recently published study, investigators in the United States conducted a study “To establish a severe combined immunodeficient (SCID)-hu in vivo mouse model of human primary mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) for the study of the biology and novel therapy of human MCL. Primary MCL cells were isolated from spleen, lymph node, bone marrow aspirates, or peripheral blood of six different patients and injected respectively into human bone chips, which had been s.c. implanted in SCID-hu.” “Circulating human beta(2)-microglobulin in mouse serum was used to monitor the engraftment and growth of patient’s MCL cells. H & E staining and immunohistochemical staining with anti-human CD20 and cyclin D1 antibodies were used to confirm the tumor growth and migration. Increasing levels of circulating human beta(2)-microglobulin in mouse serum indicated that the patient’s MCL cells were engrafted successfully into human bone chip of SCID-hu mice. The engraftment and growth of patient’s MCL cells were dependent on human bone marrow microenvironment. Immunohistochemical staining with anti-human CD20 and cyclin D1 antibodies confirmed that patient’s MCL cells were able to not only survive and propagate in the bone marrow microenvironment of the human fetal bone chips, but also similar to the human disease, migrate to lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, and gastrointestinal tract of host mice. Treatment of MCL-bearing SCID-hu mice with atiprimod, a novel antitumor compound against the protection of bone marrow stromal cells, induced tumor regression,” wrote M. Wang and colleagues, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (see also Mantle Cell Lymphoma Immunology). here mantle cell lymphoma

The researchers concluded: “This is the first human primary MCL animal model that should be useful for the biological and therapeutic research on MCL.” Wang and colleagues published their study in Clinical Cancer Research (A severe combined immunodeficient-hu in vivo mouse model of human primary mantle cell lymphoma. Clinical Cancer Research, 2008;14(7):2154-60).

For additional information, contact M. Wang, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, Division of Cancer Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030 USA..

The publisher of the journal Clinical Cancer Research can be contacted at: American Association Cancer Research, 615 Chestnut St., 17TH Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106-4404, USA.

critic’s pick 4

let’s go everywhereTwo trios. Two recordings. Two seemingly different schools of jazz intent. Yet what bonds new albums by Pat Metheny and Medeski Martin & Wood is their mutual lightness. There is accomplished group interplay throughout both records and a durable ensemble spirit that instrumental combos – whether they favor jazz or not – simply cannot function without. But listen close to these grooves and you’ll discover a disarming, if not altogether surprising level of animation.

For guitar star Metheny, Day Trip represents a further evolution of his take on the trio format. Discounting a 1975 debut album, Bright Size Life, most of Metheny’s trio works have been with esteemed jazz elders such as Dave Holland, Roy Haynes, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins. 1999’s Trio 99>00 (and the subsequent Trio Live) offered generational equals like Bill Stewart and Larry Grenadier and a tone that was more in line with the broad lyricism of the fusion savvy Pat Metheny Group.

The players get younger and the sound gets sweeter on Day Trip. Teamed now with bass celebrity Christian McBride and current PMG drummer Antonio Sanchez, Metheny offers one of his most streamlined efforts. That might come as a surprise to those who saw the trio in action last November in Louisville, where the dimension of its repertoire and the dynamics of its playing were considerably broader.

Day Trip is a leaner, sharper, quieter and ultimately safer affair. While tunes like Let’s Move recall the faster and slightly cloudier sway of Bright Size Life, Metheny mostly plays with the kind of clean lyricism he could probably summon in his sleep. But when he wraps it around a more engaging melody, like the wide, looping blues groove of When We Were Free (which McBride keeps in simple, soulful motion) or the jagged The Red One (where Metheny briefly gets rockish and encroaches on the tart electric turf usually associated with John Scofield), Day Trip becomes a swiftly paced jaunt..

Even the thematically dark Is This America? (Katrina 2005) brushes off any suggestion of harshness or hurt. Like much of Day Trip, it’s a soulful but studied affirmation.

Jam band Medeski Martin & Wood, a unit that knows how to weave a seriously terse and funky groove, switches its mood mightily on Let’s Go Everywhere. This is a children’s record by definition with a slightly off-center and darkly cartoonish feel. In other words, it’s more Tom Waits than Tom & Jerry.

Let’s Go Everywhere is also the first MMW album to work extensively with vocals. Tim Ingham leads the album’s title track, a funny, funky variation of the Johnny Cash hit I’ve Been Everywhere (“We’ll go to Bombay, Tapei, Mandalay, Bora Bora, Deauville, Louisville, Whoville, Glocca Morra”). Hey, keyboardist John Medeski was born in Louisville, so the Kentucky reference is apt. Bassist Chris Wood’s brother, singer Oliver Wood, leads the New Orleans charge of The Train Song while Pirates Don’t Take Baths (again with Ingham) may be the first ode to personal hygiene set to barroom piano.

The kicker, though, is Where’s the Music? Here, the MMW trio serves up its trademark organ-fueled funk in musical chairs fashion. The music stops and kids scream for the groove to return. And for as much as a 40 minute CD will allow, it always does.

   

what a rocker

lee rockerOn one of the many highlight tunes from his new Black Cat Bone album, bassist Lee Rocker retraces, in a little over three minutes, the beginnings of a rockabilly-based career that has extends nearly three decades.Titled String Bass, Guitar and a Drum after the core elements of the roots music he is devoted to, the song is one of the few instances where Rocker affords himself the luxury of looking back. It details a time at the dawn of the ‘80s when he, along with a pair of fellow Long Island teens, moved to London to experience a pop music world in rapid flux.

Punk was everywhere. The Clash ruled the airwaves. Two-tone ska bands were the rage. And into this fiery scene, Rocker and his chums – guitarist Brian Setzer and drummer Slim Jim Phantom – threw a revivalistic rockabilly sound. Audiences flocked to it. Eventually, so did crowds back home in America. Thus began the reign of the Stray Cats.

“I would say that what we did back then worked, but that would infer there was a plan to it all,” said Rocker, who performs twice in Lexington this week. “We were just dumb kids grabbing a guitar, bass and drums going, ‘Let’s go see if we can play some gigs.’

“I’m not very good at analyzing exactly why all this happened, except to say that the band always connected with an audience. We did know that.”

While the Stray Cats still occasionally reunite for tours (the most recent being last summer), the bassist has spent the better part of the past two decades defining his own musical personality and finding a place where his brand of rockabilly music can be viewed as something other than just a party-savvy retro attraction.

“People seem to think of rockabilly as ‘50s music,” Rocker said. “I don’t see it that way at all. I think rockabilly is a style, a certain sound and a certain feel. I definitely don’t like to think that it’s stuck in a time warp.”

Take a listen to Black Cat Bone and you’ll better understand his reasoning. The Wall of Death blurs rockabilly tradition with bits of blues and surf references. Free Bass is a fascinating, unaccompanied acoustic bass groove full of percussive funk, folkish melody and jazzy suggestion. Most telling of all is a cover of Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline nugget One More Night, which sounds more like a joust between Buddy Holly and Richie Valens than the country serenade it was designed as.

“I’m a little skeptical when it comes to covers,” Rocker said. “My test in playing other people’s music is to see if I can put my own stamp on it, if I can do something original with it. I don’t want to just recreate stuff. That’s pretty pointless.”

Take a look at Rocker’s professional life before and after the Stray Cats and you get an even better idea of the expansive inspirations that fuel his rockabilly sound.

He began taking cello lessons at the age of eight, but Rocker soon became fascinated by the larger stand-up bass. One of his initial influences didn’t come from rockabilly or rock ‘n’ roll. It was veteran jazz bassist Ray Brown, who performed extensively with Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson and scores of others.

“Without a doubt, Ray Brown was my favorite bass player,” Rocker said. “I grew up taking classical music lessons and learning to read and write music. But I listened to all kinds of things. I’m a jazz fan. I’m an Americana fan. So Ray’s playing, the way he would wind his way through the chords always intrigued me.”

Flash forward to the late ‘80s, when Rocker recorded, performed and befriended one of his idols: rockabilly great (and Blue Suede Shoes composer) Carl Perkins. Bringing rockabilly to the top of the charts with the Stray Cats was one thing. But working and becoming pals with one of the chief architects of the music remains one of Rocker’s biggest career thrills.

“This was just after the Stray Cats years. Working with Carl Perkins just a lit a fire in me, Even when you leave the music he wrote and played out of the equation, he was a great, generous human being and a true gentleman.”

But what of Rocker the solo artist? Excluding reunion tours, the Stray Cats’ working life lasted roughly five years. Rocker’s solo career is well into its second decade. Whittle away the concert records, cover collections and anthologies from their catalogue, and you are left with perhaps five studio albums of Stray Cats material. Rocker has recorded eight as a solo artist. The Stray Cats spent 11 days making its 1981 self-titled, British-issued debut album. Rocker spent a year working on Black Cat Bone with recording sessions alternating with touring so that both remained fresh.

Given how much time he worked under his own name, is Rocker at all irked that many fans still view him first and foremost as a Stray Cat?

“I really don’t think about that,” he said. “I just try to focus on my music. I do my best work, put it out there and let the chips fall. My history with the Stray Cats I’m real proud of. I love the guys. We made great records. And there are probably some people out there for whom it is difficult to look beyond that.

“But I’ve also seen fantastic growth out there for what I’ve done with my own band. There’s still a lot of enthusiasm. I’m overjoyed by it.”

Lee Rocker performs Jan. 28 at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main St. for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour with Meg Hutchinson, and Feb. 2 at The Dame, 156 W. Main St. with Crown Electric. Showtime each night is 7 p.m. Tickets for each performance are $10. Call (859) 252-8888 for the WoodSongs show and (859) 226-9005 for the Dame performance.

in performance: halfway to forecastle featuring tyler ramsey/noizejoi/early day miners

tyler ramsey “You want to dance? Well, you can try,” said Band of Horses guitarist and solo songsmith Tyler Ramsey (above) during the mammoth Halfway to Forecastle celebration last night at Louisville’s Headliners Music Hall.

Admittedly, Ramsey’s contemplative psychedelic folk didn’t send folks bolting to the dance floor at the onset of the 10 act, 11 hour mini festival (sadly, we were only able to catch Ramey at an unaccompanied late afternoon set, not at his evening show with Band of Horses). But tunes from Ramsey’s debut A Long Dream about Swimming Across the Sea, already one of the finer albums in a very young 2008, were full of alluring pop references (the White Album-era Beatles accent on A Long Dream) and gentle, moody surprises (the acoustic based Ships, which was rewired for solo electric Stratocaster). A familiar but fun cover of the ‘80s Jules Shear/Cyndi Lauper hit All Through the Night nicely complimented the performance.

Bowling Green’s Noizejoi followed with a bright, modestly retro pop-soul sound and a frontline of three female vocalists led by Lauren Cunningham. A strong, intuitive singer who effortlessly ignited a commanding soul/blues chill for Slow Down and Lady Luck, Cunningham’s performance stance revealed what a young band Noizejoi still is. The singer spent most of her centerstage time with her hands shoved in her pockets looking like she was waiting for a bus. (Noizejoi will perform locally at The Dame on Feb.28 with Cincinnati’s IsWhat?!)

Bloomington’s Early Day Miners offered a very streamlined set of new material (at least it sounded that way when compared to the electric chamber colors and rockish minimalism of the band’s 2006 album Offshore). Singer/guitarist/keyboardist Daniel Burton compacted the Miners’ dense, expansive music and polished the percussion edge into lean ‘80s-style grooves that could have played by a drum machine. While a tad static at times, the Miners’ nonetheless amped up the evening nicely and put this lengthy Forecastle preview on solid electric ground.

current listening 1/26

haynes trioa few items that have earned some spins this week: 

* Roy Haynes/Phineas Newborn/Paul Chambers: We Three – A reissue of a brilliant 1958 piano trio session by three soon-to-be giants with still-formative jazz voices. The ultimate Sunday afternoon album.

* Chris Arduser: Hapless – Mainstay of The Bears and Cincinnati’s Graveblankets, drummer/guitarist/mandolinist Arduser serves up a third helping of crisp, infectious pop that doesn’t shy away from a creepy storyline.

* Martin Carthy/Dave Swarbrick: Straws in the Wind – The latest by England’s finest acoustic duo. Carthy’s rustic voice and the light, giddy sway of Swarbrick’s fiddle combine to create living folk history.

* Various artists: The Great Debaters – The hottest soundtrack album of the winter with expert gospel and blues by Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sharon Jones and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

* The Thrills: Teenager – Chiming folk rhythms, layers of echoing guitars and vocals full of edgy, tentative joy make up this third album by Ireland’s Thrills. One of 2007’s great neglected records.

bass-ic mcbride

christian mcbrideThere’s nothing like staying busy exploring one’s craft.

Last year, bassist, bandleader and composer Christian McBride occupied himself with three wildly varied jazz trio projects. The first was an instrumental recording by Bruce Hornsby. Titled Camp Meeting, the album teamed the pop pianist with McBride and veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette for compositions by Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman.

In the fall, he was off to New York to play with two titans: saxophonist Sonny Rollins and drummer Roy Haynes at Carnegie Hall. The performance marked the 50th anniversary of Rollins’ Carnegie debut. McBride concluded the year with a tour as bassist for the Pat Metheny Trio. The band’s beautifully streamlined debut disc, Day Trip, arrives in stories on Tuesday.

Is it any wonder then that McBride is itching to be his own boss again? On Saturday, the bassist heads to Muntz Hall of the University of Cincinnati’s Raymond Walters College in Blue Ash, Ohio. And this time, he will be promoting his own band and his own sound.

If Live at Tonic, a mammoth three-disc album pulled from January 2005 performances at the now-defunct New York music club, is any indication, McBride plugs in big time when he is charge. The acoustic double bass is still his weapon of choice. But the music employs hints of ‘70s fusion and funk as its foundation. That means jam band fans are likely to get hip to the music as much as jazz die-hards.

Either way, this is a prime road trip pick for those favoring some instrumental fun that moves to a different, but very substantial groove.

Tickets for Saturday’s 8 p.m. performance are $15, although discounts are available for students and seniors. For more ticket information, call (513) 745-5705 or go to http://www.rwc.uc.edu/.

in performance: natalie macmaster

natalie macmasterTo broadly paraphrase an old cliché, you can take the fiddler out of Cape Breton, but you can pretty much  forget about the reverse.

For the majority of her highly physical sold-out performance last night at the Bomhard Theatre of the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, Canadian fiddler MacMaster upheld the spry, Scottish-bred stride of the music indigenous to her home : Cape Breton Island on Nova Scotia. Of course, that tradition was put through the stylistic ringer while the instrumentation supplied by her five-member band regularly shifted.

When she played off a remarkable 13 year old cellist named Nathaniel Smith, the resulting string sound became brightly animated. When MacMaster, who is also an accomplished step dancer, matched wits with Shania Twain drummer J.D. Blair, the gap between folk tradition and pop widened. At one point, MacMaster essentially clogged off of percussive funk grooves. But when she teamed with pianist Mac Morin on the playful Flea as a Bird and the lovely Johsefin’s Waltz, the glow of Cape Breton music was very much at hand.

Then there was Matt MacIsaac. Aside from adding to the lyrical color of the music on whistle and flute, as well as to its more Americanized rhythmic sway on banjo, MacIsaac detonated the evening’s most musical weapon of mass destruction: amplified bagpipes. They actually sounded quite at home in MacMaster’s cordial Cape Breton variations. But one had to wonder if audiences at the Kentucky Center’s downstairs Whitney Hall, where Phantom of the Opera was performing, appreciated the racket.

Think a subterranean ghoul is scary? That’s nothing compared to an electric Scotsman.

(photo of Natalie MacMaster by Richard Beland)

Nintendo Introduces Glasses-Free 3D Gaming, and Unleashes the Industry’s Best Franchises in Entirely New Ways.

Electronics Newsweekly June 30, 2010 Nintendo is raising the bar – again.

Nintendo changed the world of video games with touch-screen gaming on the Nintendo DS™ in 2004. Nintendo then pioneered the motion-controlled gaming revolution with the Wii™ console and the Wii Remote™ controller back in 2006. Today the company unveils an even more immersive gaming experience: Nintendo 3DS™.

At the E3 Expo today, Nintendo gave the world the first look at a portable system that lets people view games in 3D, without the need for special glasses. Nintendo also announced a substantial list of upcoming games for Nintendo 3DS, the Wii console and the Nintendo DS family of systems – a lineup that reads like a who’s who of some of the greatest franchises in video game history with a completely new look and feel.

“The additional dimension of depth in 3D makes it easier for players to judge distances while giving developers a new tool to create games and experiences that play with both height and depth,” said Nintendo video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who pioneered the fully rendered 3D video game world with Super Mario 64™. papermario3ds.org paper mario 3ds

Nintendo 3DS comes with a 3.53-inch top screen and a 3.02-inch bottom touch screen. It has three cameras – one inner and two outer – to deliver the 3D effect and take 3D pictures. It includes a motion sensor, a gyro sensor and even a Slide Pad that allows 360-degree analog input. At the E3 Expo, Nintendo showed attendees a range of games and applications for Nintendo 3DS that reinvent some of the industry’s most beloved franchises. These include: Kid Icarus™: Uprising, the long-awaited franchise follow-up to the NES™ classic. Mario Kart™, which shows off the potential of driving and tossing bananas in 3D. nintendogs™ + cats, a new version of the best-selling nintendogs franchise that lets players interact even more with their virtual puppies – and kittens! PilotWings Resort™, a flying simulation that lets players soar above Wuhu Island. Animal Crossing™, a new installment of the charming community-building franchise. StarFox 64™ 3D, a game that demonstrates the true distance and depth of outer space using Nintendo’s well-known franchise. Steel Diver™, a new submarine-navigation game from Nintendo. Paper Mario™, which brings paper-based 2D environments to life.

Nintendo 3DS also comes to market with the strongest third-party support of any video game system in Nintendo history. Games on display at the Nintendo booth at the E3 Expo include: DJ Hero[R] 3D from Activision RESIDENT EVIL[R] REVELATIONS from Capcom The Sims™ 3 from Electronic Arts HIDEO KOJIMA’S METAL GEAR SOLID SNAKE EATER 3D “The Naked Sample” from Konami Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracles (name not final) from LEVEL-5 RIDGE RACER[R] (name not final) from Namco Bandai Games KINGDOM HEARTS franchise game from Square Enix DEAD OR ALIVE[R] 3D (name not final) from Tecmo Koei Games SAMURAI WARRIORS[R] 3D from Tecmo Koei Games Battle of Giants™: Dinosaur Strike from Ubisoft Hollywood 61 (name not final) from Ubisoft A sampling of other Nintendo 3DS games already in planning includes SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV 3D Edition (name not final) from Capcom; Madden NFL and FIFA Soccer games from Electronic Arts; CODENAME: Chocobo Racing[R] 3D and a FINAL FANTASY [R] franchise game and from Square Enix; a NINJA GAIDEN[R] (name not final) game from Tecmo Koei Games; Saint’s Row: Drive By from THQ; Assassin’s Creed™Lost Legacy, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon™ and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory™ from Ubisoft; and a Batman game from Warner Bros. Additional games are in development by Atlus, AQ Interactive, Disney Interactive Studios, Harmonix, Hudson Soft, Majesco, Marvelous Entertainment, Rocket, SEGA, Takara Tommy and Take-Two Interactive. see here paper mario 3ds

Nintendo also announced a substantial slate of games on the way for its Wii console and Nintendo DS family of systems, with a list of characters and franchises that appeal to all types of gamers.

big fresh forever

big fresh foreverAs seasonal pick-me-ups go, few sounds are guaranteed to keep Old Man Winter at bay better than the bright charge of Lexington’s own Big Fresh. Shoot, slip on any sound from the band’s new album, B.F.F. (Big Fresh Forever) – be it the ‘80s synth bop of WTO, the electronica soul of International Dateline (which sounds like Isaac Hayes with a looped groove) or the neo-New Wave raver Entertainment – and you can sense the spring thaw is at hand.

“We’re all big music nerds,” said Big Fresh guitarist/vocalist John Ferguson, who spent much of the past year on the road as a member of The Apples in Stereo. “We listen to anything and everything. We just love music, all genres of it, so much that the music we make comes out as a hodgepodge. There’s a lot of pop in there. A lot of soundtrack, Ennio Morricone-type stuff is in there. We all like jazz as well. We love all the ‘70s R&B stuff.”

B.F.F. also serves as the debut release on the Lexington-based Garden Gate Records, a label spearheaded by Marcie Schneider. She’s the wife of Ferguson’s Apples in Stereo mate, Robert Schneider, who helped with the mastering of B.F.F.

“We’re open and willing for anyone to listen to it,” Ferguson said, indicating copies of B.F.F. will be sent to national indie labels to see if any interest exists in larger scale distribution. “But we’re also super excited anyone would want to listen to it.”

The album will enter the world full force on Thursday with a Big Fresh performance at The Icehouse, 412 Cross St. Robert Schneider will open with a solo set. Zavala kicks off the evening. (8 p.m., $5). Call (859) 536-5568.

We’ll explore the world of Big Fresh in more detail in the Feb. 2 edition of Weekender, just in time for the band’s performance that night at WUKY-FM’s annual wine-and-music soiree Heard it Through the Grapevine at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Stay tuned.

critic’s pick 3

shelby lynneWe have here two new recordings that reference, in varying degrees, the pop generation that preceded them.

In the case of Americana renegade Shelby Lynne and her new tribute album to Dusty Springfield, Just a Little Lovin’, the retro romancing borders on the obsessive, even though the resulting music is far from an act of imitation. I Am Lightning, the North American recording debut of Liam Finn, lets the son of Crowded House founder/leader Neil Finn glance back at generational elders. But since Dad is part of the record, such reverence is unavoidable.

Just a Little Lovin’ is a high-risk affair from the word go. It rightfully gives credit where credit is due on the front cover with the subtitle “Inspired by Dusty Springfield.” Then it kicks off with the album’s title tune, a reverie of romantic bliss that also began Dusty in Memphis, the iconic merger of mainstream pop of white Southern soul that hit stores 39 years ago this month. 

The calculation pays off because we also get to quickly note the stylistic diversions in these idol/disciple renditions. Springfield’s Just a Little Lovin’ set the pace for nearly all of Dusty in Memphis as husky vocals swelled over string and brass arrangements by Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin. Lynne also ties the vastly more subdued cool of her album to Just a Little Lovin’. Her take is slower, softer and decidedly bluesier.

The album doesn’t reflect the blues in any real Southern sense, although light country acoustics lighten the Lynne original Pretend as well as her barnyard ramble reading of Tony Joe White’s Willie and Laura Mae Jones (also cut by Springfield as a single in 1969). Instead, the feel opts for a sleepier mood. Springfield, on her masterwork, sounded serenely soulful. Lynne sounds blue and, at times, a little blasted. That her record achieves such fascinating reserve with veteran pop producer Phil Ramone -hardly anyone’s embodiment of Mr. Soul – is all the more remarkable.

With Finn, the connection to his father’s expert pop instincts – and, to a lesser extent, the more extravagant stylistic leanings of his uncle, Split Enz’ Tim Finn – are obvious. That familiar, high and richly emotive vocal clarity leaps to life on the album-opening Better to Be and then tilts and warps the album’s expectations to his advantage. 

The lyrical but unvarnished melodies of Gather at the Chapel and Wide Awake on the Voyage Home recall less of Crowded House and more of the unsettled pop Father Neil designed on a pair of overlooked solo records cut after his band’s initial mid-90s breakup. Son Liam jumps on these rougher edges readily for the lean power pop charge of This Place is Killing Me and Energy Spent. The homemade air pervading the rest of the album comes naturally, as well. As he often works as a one man band of sorts in concert, Finn plays the majority of the album’s instruments. Dad adds bass to I’ll Be Lightning‘s title tune, while assorted drum, bass and autoharp duties are similarly farmed out. 

Still, I’ll Be Lightning, for all its family-style inspiration, is the product of a very singular pop intellect. The guitars glisten and chatter, the grooves quake with modest beats and the singing, hand-me-down as it may seem, is a welcoming, conversational device. You quickly sense that Finn has little want of shunning his artistic heritage even though his own pop voice moved out on its own long ago.

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