Month: July 2013

The Dead Daisies Added to Major U.S. Radio + Set to Confirm UK Tour Dates

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The Dead Daisies recently announced they’d be embarking on their first U.S. shows as part of this summer’s Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival. Now the band are set to release their self-titled debut album on August 13 via Spitfire Music. On top of this exciting news, the band is very close to confirming U.K. tour dates with Black Star Rider (Thin Lizzy), and their debut single, ‘Lock N’ Load’, has been added to the rotation of influential Phoenix radio station 93.3 KDKB.

Headlining the COLDCOCK Herbal Whiskey Showcase Stage powered by Ernie Ball the band will deliver their brand of catchy rock alongside Alice In ChainsJane’s AddictionCoheed and Cambria and Circa Survive. The touring outfit of The Dead Daisies is vocalist Jon Stevens (Noiseworks, INXS), lead guitarist Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy), rhythm guitarist David Lowy (Mink, The Angels), bassist Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake), drummer Alex Carapetis (Nine Inch Nails, Julian Casablancas) and keyboardist Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses).

93.3 KDKB is one of the U.S.’s longest running rock radio stations and is the first radio station to officially add ‘Lock N’ Load’ to their rotation. ‘Lock N’ Load’, was co-written by and features iconic guitarist Slash and is currently available at iTunes. Accompanying the track is a short film (with two different endings), produced by Melbourne-based production company, Oh Yeah Wow (Gotye, Clubfeet, Aloe Blacc).  Check out the “Live” and “Die” clips at their YouTube and feel free to post.


The Dead Daisies join the UPROAR Festival on the heels of their March Australian tour with ZZ Top and Australian and New Zealand dates with Aerosmith this past April. A free 4-song EP download, entitled Man Overboard (Spitfire Music) from The Dead Daisies is available now on the UPROAR website www.rockstaruproar.com/dead-daises-dl.
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Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival tour dates:
Fri 9-Aug – Scranton, PA – Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain
Sat 10-Aug – Hartford, CT – The Comcast Theatre
Sun 11-Aug – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Tue 13-Aug – Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Wed 14-Aug – Mansfield, MA – Comcast Center
Fri 16-Aug – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
Sat 17-Aug – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Sun 18-Aug – Wantagh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Tue 20-Aug – Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Thu 22-Aug – Tinley Park, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Fri 23-Aug – Noblesville, IN – Klipsch Music Center
Sat 24-Aug – Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theater
Wed 28-Aug – Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
Sat 31-Aug – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheatre
Sun 1-Sept – Denver, CO – Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
Mon 2-Sept – Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre
Thu 5-Sept – Nampa, ID – Idaho Center Amphitheater
Sat 7-Sept – George, WA – The Gorge
Sun 8-Sept – Ridgefield, WA – Sleep Country Amphitheater
Wed 11-Sept – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Fri 13-Sept – Irvine, CA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Sat 14-Sept – Phoenix, AZ – Desert Sky Pavilion
Sun 15-Sept – Chula Vista, CA – Sleep Train Amphitheatre



Website: http://www.thedeaddaisies.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thedeaddaisies
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedeaddaisies
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/thedeaddaisies
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/thedeaddaisies
Media Link:  http://www.thedeaddaisies.com/press/

“Animal Crossing: New Leaf” review

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Animal Crossing: New Leaf has been given  a warm welcome as indicated by the sales numbers and positive reviews. I have fond memories of the first instalment of this series, just named Animal Crossing, back on the Gamecube. My brother and I had the game during the summer holidays when we were kids, and we were both addicted to it. Whoever got out of bed first had the luxury of playing the game first, sometimes for hours at a time. It wasn’t just a game, it was a ritual. I owned the DS follow-up, Wild World, although I skipped the Wii version, Let’s Go to the City. New Leaf just came out for the 3DS, so I picked up my first AC game in approximately 7 years.

Animal Crossing is a game that I find is very hard to sell to people with words. Even the name of the series seems unmarketable. What the series represents is a fun life simulation experience that will last you a very long time. It’s not a game you play a few times with six hour sessions; it’s a game you play hopefully every day for under an hour at a time as there are gameplay mechanics that can only be done once or a few times a day or will take effect the next day (eg. new fossils every day, house expansions being built the next day). AC is a unique game experience that anyone can enjoy, but it’s not an experience that will strike everyone’s fancy.

The main premise of all four games in the series is the same: your human player character has just moved into a rural town populated by talking animals. Once you have settled into your home, what you do from then on is essentially up to you. The twist in the 3DS instalment is that your character is mistaken for the town’s mayor, and your confused character ends up saying “ok sure” and runs with it. The game uses the 3DS’s real time clock to reflect the time of day and the seasons, which in turn leads to day/night, opening/closing hours for stores and events in game (some based on real world holidays).

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Something about the game that still annoys me is that the seasons are still only set to the Northern Hemisphere and can’t be set for the Southern Hemisphere. It’s not a big deal, but it also takes away from the experience a little when I’m playing the game in summer even though it’s winter in real life. Can it be that hard to swap? I’m sure nobody will mind if you keep the snow, or even a Christmas in July thing, but it’s disappointing that Nintendo doesn’t seem to think that Australia, New Zealand and South America deserve acknowledgement.

There is no ultimate goal in the game, but there’s so much room for activities and goals that you can work towards. The game only stops when you no longer feel any enjoyment out of it or perhaps when you feel like you’ve become too addicted to it.

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Part of the charm is your interaction with the townsfolk. You and the citizens can trade stuff, play hide and seek, send and receive letters, and you can run errands for them and change their catchphrases. The developers have made an effort to ensure that in New Leaf these virtual talking animals act more townsfolk-like than ever, allowing the town to (I hate to say it…) ‘come to life’. One thing that annoys me is you can’t just straight out ask them if they have any errands for you, like back in the Gamecube version. You may just randomly be given a job when you have a conversation with them, but I can’t see why I can’t just ask for a job when I want to do something or just chat when I can’t be arsed doing favours.

This franchise is renowned for its customisation, and New Leaf has an overwhelming arsenal of options. You name your player character and your town before you move in. You can reinvent yourself with clothes, hats and accessories. Being the town mayor gives you even more ways to adjust your town to your liking. Isabelle, your secretary, helps you with your mayoral duties and consulting her allows you to do such things like changing the town tune (heard when you talk to animals or when the bell rings each hour), find out the citizens’ satisfaction or even complain about problematic townsfolk. She can also help set up ordinances, allowing laws to be passed such as having shops opened earlier or later, keeping the town clean, or increasing the cost of everything (therefore allowing you to sell things at a larger profit). She also helps you set up development projects (mostly funded by you) towards the building of simple things like a garbage can and a street light, to much bigger investments such as a police station or expansion of the museum. Now this whole mayor system sounds all well and good, and it is, but it’s not as deep as it could have been.

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Another of the major goals of the game is to pay off your home loan to upgrade your house. You start with a tent and can work towards a multiple storey house with a number of rooms as well as a basement. Of course with the open ended free roaming nature of the game, you are never obliged to pay off the debt if you don’t want to, but if you want the extra room for more furniture in your house, you’ll have to. Infamous raccoon dog Tom Nook is the mastermind behind houses in your village, and he resides in his Nook’s Homes store to discuss expanding and exterior decorative options. To pay for all this, I guess you’ll have to make some money, and a ton of it.

The game’s currency is bells. Tom Nook’s nephews Tommy and Timmy run a store, and while you can also sell stuff there, you will make more bringing it to Re-Tail run by a pair of alpacas, who specialise in buying your old stuff. Another store is run by the Able Sisters, who specialise in fashion and also help you create your own clothing designs. Spending money at these stores as well as fulfilling other conditions leads to their expansions as well as new shops opening.

Another major building in the game is the museum run by Blathers the owl. When you move into your town, you’ll find that the museum is completely empty and Blathers relies on your donations. The museum accepts paintings, fossils, bugs, fish and other sea creatures. As you wander around your town, you can catch bugs and fish with a net and fishing rod respectively once you’ve acquired those tools. X marks the spot of fossils on the ground, and you can dig them up with a shovel.  A new feature to the game is the wet suit, which lets you swim in the ocean, where you can dive to catch sea creatures.  If you’ve already donated that fish, bug, fossil or painting, you can sell them for glorious bells. Walking through the museum and seeing your donated items feels like a great reward for your hard work, and everything inside the museum are real life dinosaurs, bugs and fish etc. They all have descriptions, which is a great way to add educational content to the game. Bugs, fish and sea creatures that can be caught depend on the location (river, beach, village or island) and the time of day as well as the season. This means it’ll take at least a year to catch ‘em all.

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You can hold a ton of items in your locker, which can be accessed from any wardrobe, dresser etc in your house as well as at the train station, even in other towns, which is really convenient. However, the game still has a frustrating low number of inventory spaces, which becomes more annoying when you fill it with all the tools and have even less room. This makes catching fish and bugs more annoying as you make frequent trips to Re-Tail or your storage to sell or store items.

The multiplayer and online functions have expanded from Wild World. You can visit the towns of your friends both through local and online communications to help them out or to wreck havoc if you’re a bad friend. All towns have a local fruit, so if you visit a friend with different local fruit, you can bring it back to your town and plant to create a fruit tree as foreign fruit sells for much higher at your local store. Streetpass is also put to excellent use here as 3DS owners can send and receive ‘copies’ of their houses, so you can see other AC players’ houses, which is very cool and an unprecedented number of 3DS owners I Streetpassed have New Leaf.

There was an island you could visit in the original Animal Crossing with Game Boy Advance/Gamecube connectivity, but Nintendo has created an island you can visit anytime you want (once it’s ‘unlocked’) in New Leaf. It’s also a great source of multiplayer fun as you can play mini-games together to win medals that act as a currency on the island. My friends and I enjoyed these multiplayer options, and it’s a great selling point for the game.

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The AC series represents two characteristics I’ve noticed about Nintendo. The first one is that undeniable mass appeal that inhabits their games. The Sims tries to be realistic, and Harvest Moon also mostly involves human characters. Rare’s Viva Pinata series about pinata animals gardening is an exception, probably being the most out there concept on any Xbox console line. The usual Nintendo charm and creativity is all over the game with the vibrant graphics, the happy music and the cartoony characters. Only Nintendo would have a mole named Mr. Resetti tell you off when you reset the game without saving; only Nintendo would have you draw a face on a faceless cat named Bianca; and of course only Nintendo would make a life sim game where the characters are animals.

The other Nintendo characteristic that New Leaf presents is the company’s reliance on releasing follow-up instalments in franchises while not incoporating enough core gameplay changes. Only Nintendo can release the same games and get away with it. All of Nintendo’s consoles lately (including handhelds) have had a new Mario Kart, a ‘new’ New Super Mario Bros. game and a new Animal Crossing game, but most of these new instalments don’t have enough new stuff. I say this with experience; after I played the hell out of the Gamecube version of AC, I felt that Wild World on the DS was just more of the same, despite a few noticeable additions.  I did not get nearly the same enjoyment out of it, not just because it felt so samey, but because I had to start from scratch after completely paying off my debt and filling out the museum in the GC version. I skipped the Wii version purposely because of this reason, plus I also noticed it was criticised for feeling so much like the DS one. In New Leaf, much of my time has been spent once again paying off my debt and filling the museum AGAIN.

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Nintendo may have been aware of these criticisms and added a ton of new stuff for New Leaf, but it’s still not enough for me to shake the feeling that I’ve been here before. I was going to skip New Leaf just like the Wii one, but when I discovered that my friends were getting it and saw the very positive reviews, I caved. I can see that it’s easily the best one I’ve played, but obviously doesn’t have the same impact of the GC version. After I put 35 hours into it, I decided to give the game a rest because despite the sameyness of it, I still was addicted and played it nearly every day and well…university holidays just finished. So it’s a compliment to the game that I had to stop myself playing, and it’s not the game’s fault I’ve grown up with less time for games.

I must say that the New Leaf subtitle did not quite gel with me because while you indeed have to start a new life with a new job as a mayor, the game feels very familiar nonetheless and having to do the same stuff again is annoying. This is something I don’t think future instalments of this game can ever shake off. The new additions are great, but the game needs a change for the inevitable Wii U version (which I bet they just started developing). This series is much better suited as a handheld game anyway as it’s easier to find time to play it.

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The 3D effect compliments the visuals nicely, especially when you are looking at your donations in the museum, but I decided to leave it off for most of this game because AC is a game to just sit back, relax and do nothing, and not stress about holding the 3DS in the perfect spot for the 3D effect. Plus the 3DS battery life is rather short so I’d leave the 3D off.

If you’ve never played an Animal Crossing game before and own a Nintendo 3DS, I can highly recommend this game as it’s perfect for newcomers. Now, there’s a ton of new additions to the series to entice veterans to come back, but I would only recommend it if said veterans had friends to play with. Only hardcore fans of the series would enjoy a single player only experience as it’s more of the same.

From a critical standpoint, New Leaf is easily the best Animal Crossing game in the series. It’s a charming, relaxing and involving experience that can easily become an addiction. Newcomers should buy it immediately, and veterans should think over how they feel about starting over to enjoy the new features.

Rating: 4/5.

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Do you guys agree with this review? What’s your experience with the game?

New Leaf has been selling like crazy, so Nintendo probably has greenleafed a new instalment for the struggling Wii U. What new gameplay mechanics do you think Nintendo should add to the game?

Would love to hear your comments below!

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Baby Animals are Back with a Brand New National Tour in 2013 “Feed the Birds”

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BABY ANIMALS ARE BACK

WITH A BRAND NEW NATIONAL TOUR IN 2013

“FEED THE BIRDS”

    

Hot off the success of their first studio album release in 20 years, This Is Not The End, and its Top 20 ARIA Album Chart debut, iconic Aussie rockers Baby Animals are thrilled to announce a new national Australian tour in 2013.

Presented by Social Family Records and The Harbour Agency, the “Feed The Birds” tour will begin in Newcastle on Saturday 12th October, followed by dates in Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Geelong, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

 Tickets are now on sale from various outlets listed below.

“Feed the Birds” will be a landmark event for the Baby Animals. The tour will be filmed for the band’s first ever live DVD, Feed the Birds (Live). Fans can pre-order the DVD, or grab a limited release bundle that includes a ticket to the show and a signed copy of the DVD upon its release for Christmas, from www.thebabyanimals.com.

Fronted by Suzie DeMarchi, Baby Animals strike a familiar pose with guitarist Dave Leslie returning for action, Dario Bortolin on bass and Mick Skelton on drums. The “Feed The Birds” tour named after the infamous Baby Animals tradition of pouring red wine into the mouth of fans in the front row – from Suzie’s own!

Feeding the birds? It’s just us giving something back!” says Suzie DeMarchi.

The “Feed The Birds” tour follows a more intimate Baby Animals East Coast tour last month to launch This Is Not The End and the band is raring to go again!

We can’t wait to hit the road and introduce more of our fans around the country to the new album,” says Suzie.

Since exploding onto the scene in 1991 with the release of their first single, Early Warning, Baby Animals have become one of Australia’s most successful rock outfits. Their eponymous album spent six weeks at No. 1 in Australia, going eight times platinum and becoming the highest-selling debut Australian rock album until the release of Jet’s album 12 years later. The band toured internationally and struck up friendships with music legends Van Halen, Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers, and Bryan Adams.

This Is Not The End, the band’s first full-length release since 1993, marked a return to the charts. It made its debut at number 19 on the ARIA Album Chart and number three on the Australian Album Chart when released last month.

Baby Animals’ special guest on the “Feed The Birds” tour is Steve Balbi. Steve played bass in the hit-making Australian band Noiseworks, which produced four Australian top ten albums. He went on to form psychedelic pop group Electric Hippies with Noiseworks bandmate, Justin Stanley.

Tickets for the “Feed The Birds” tour, exclusive fan bundles and copies of This Is Not The End and Feed the Birds (Live) are available from www.thebabyanimals.com.

This Is Not The End is also available now from iTunes.

BABY ANIMALS “FEED THE BIRDS” TOUR DATES

 

Saturday, 12 October
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Tix: http://www.bigtix.com.au

Friday, 18 October
The Zoo, Brisbane
Tix: http://www.oztix.com.au

Saturday, 19 October
The Zoo, Brisbane
Tix: http://oztix.com.au

Thursday, 24 October
Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide
Tix: http://moshtix.com.au

Saturday, 26 October
ANU Bar, Canberra
Tix: http://www.ticketek.com.au

Wednesday, 30 October
The Wool Exchange, Geelong
Tix: http://www.oztix.com.au

Thursday, 31 October
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Tix: http://www.cornerhotel.com

Saturday, 2 November
Astor Theatre, Perth
Tix: http://showticketing.com.au

Saturday, 9 November
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Tix: http://www.metrotheatre.com.au

For further press information please contact:                  

Flourish PR

Kasey Glazebrook

Email: kasey@flourishpr.com

Phone: 03 9092 8446

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‘LittleBigPlanet Karting’ review

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With a “new” Mario Kart instalment speeding through Nintentown every single home and handheld console cycle, one must wonder if there is any other arcade racing game on the market, preferably one that can compete with the polish that the MK series has mastered over several rehashes. Well, LittleBigPlanet Karting is a step on the accelerator in the right direction.

Unlike Mario Kart, you don’t play through the single player by playing through the grand prix three or four times on progressing difficulty. There’s a story this time. Basically an evil entity called The Hoard has been taking all the creativity from the LBP universe, which is the most awful thing as LBP’s staple is creativity. The story is told through cutscenes before various levels in the game, but most of it didn’t make sense to me so I eventually started skipping them.

I liked the variety in the story mode. Like Diddy Kong Racing (a game I fondly remember from my childhood), the racing levels are broken up by battle arenas and other challenges. Unlike Diddy Kong Racing however, there’s no hub world, which was nice in that game but isn’t something I’d call essential. LittleBigPlanet universe works well for a karting game. As you’d expect, there are weapons and items based on the games, as well as a superb line-up of aesthetic customisation for your Sack character and kart. The levels often have prizes in the form of extra customisation that the player can pick up on the track during the races/challenges, as well as earning them by winning the races. The track design is up to LBP’s usual high standards and I had heaps of fun playing them. They are thematically varied and are stuffed with obstacles, gadgets and alternative routes. Most, if not all of the story can be played with up to four players, and there are a handful of levels that require multiple players (but these seem to be based on single player levels).

As for the actual racing itself, it succeeds! The controls feel less heavy than Mario Kart, which isn’t a compliment or a criticism, it’s just different. This makes the karts a bit easier to control, especially in the air. The game does feel slower than Mario Kart, which may annoy some, but it wasn’t a big deal for me. This speed allows players to manoeuvre flips in midair to get boosts when you land and there’s also the fun grappling hook from the main games that allow you to swing across pits and reach distant paths and prizes.

The drifting is a mix between Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing. Like the more recent Mario Kart’s, you get a boost for holding the drift button around corners for a set period of time, and like CTR, you can get multiple boosts (up to four in LBPK).

There’s a good selection of weapons, and I liked that it’s quite simple to use them defensively too. However, sometimes it seemed like they glitch a bit, like that boxing glove that you ride had more than once led to me falling into a pit.

True to the LBP spirit is a level editor. I’m never any good at these things, but designing a simple track is easy enough. The designs by the community indicate that it’s very possible to make a very detailed and colourful track to compete with the game designers. Many of the most popular levels are based on Mario Kart tracks, but my favourite one would have to be the design based on Green Hill Zone from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The music in these levels can be chosen and even the look of the weapons can be customised, so I actually ran into ‘? Blocks’ on these Mario Kart clone stages.

The online mode works most of the time, but I’ve had some odd problems with it. When you do get a game going, the online multiplayer racing is incredibly fun and I hadn’t had any problems mid-race. The voting system for levels to play is flawed; you can’t just pick any level, you have to pick from a selection. This random card game kept coming up this one time and that’s when I stopped playing because it was really annoying.

The racing mechanics feel polished, but not up to the same standard of Mario Kart, but in fairness Mario Kart has had seven games to do so. A LBPK sequel on the PS4 (there’s nothing announced, I’m just hoping) has the potential to fix all the issues that I’ve talked about. I had plenty of fun with LittleBigPlanet Karting, and I think almost anyone can. It’s full of charm and creativity, even if much of the actual gameplay has been seen before.

Rating: 4/5.

P.S. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mario Kart series, but none of the recent games have been a worthy step up for the series since Mario Kart DS. I don’t think this will change with Mario Kart 8; it will most likely be Mario Kart Wii with high definition visuals and an anti-gravity feature with little else.