Viacom gets whiff of this rising trend called a “blog,” starts one, fills it with beyond thrilling press releases

Viacom gets whiff of this rising trend called a "blog," starts one, fills it with beyond thrilling press releases

Unable to figure out what Pinterest is about, Viacom has decided to take more directly narcissistic action and started a blog. Blog.viacom is a space where the media giant can let loose, giving its stars and leaders the opportunity to offer readers “behind-the-scenes exclusives and announcements,” like how the Facebook pages for some of their more ‘hip’ brands have switched over to the new Timeline format. Exciting stuff!

Basically, the ‘blog’ is a central hub aggregating stale press releases that Viacom’s various properties release. Wondering how MTV feels about Snooki getting pregnant? They’re happy for her! Want to know how many Oscars Viacom’s movie company, Paramount, picked up this year? 6! Interested in checking out all of the Viacom-sanctioned Twitter accounts in a single stream? The Overheard section is for you! Yes, it’s Denise Richards, Bjorn Rebney (?), and a bunch of intern-helmed network accounts all in one place! Make sure and bookmark the hottest new blog to hit the ‘net in ages now so you don’t miss a single important nugget of Viacom news!

• Blog.Viacom:

The Flaming Lips’ possibly depressing, possibly transcendent Yoshimi musical debuts this winter

Hey Flaming Lips fans! Here’s a light-hearted musical romp through the greatest hits of the Lips’ catalog, with a special focus on 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots OH MY GOD IT’S ABOUT WHAT????? I thought musicals were all supposed to be nauseating fever dreams with saccharine melodies and blondes who can lift their legs higher than humans frankly should be able to. Well, not this one, people. This one’s depressing! With the great Lips tunes — including tracks from The Soft Bulletin and At War with the Mystics, amongst others — that we all know and love! But come on, what else would you really expect from Wayne Coyne and his fearless freaks?

“There’s the real world and then there’s this fantastical world,” Coyne told Entertainment Weekly back in 2007. “This girl, the Yoshimi character, is dying of something. And these two guys are battling to come visit her in the hospital. And as one of the boyfriends envisions trying to save the girl, he enters this other dimension where Yoshimi is this Japanese warrior and the pink robots are an incarnation of her disease. It’s almost like the disease has to win in order for her soul to survive. Or something like that.” Yep, this musical will send you barreling down the tracks with a one-way ticket to Bummersville. Or Transcendenceville. Depending on how this thing works out.

Flavorpill is reporting that said musical, entitled Pink Robots, makes its world premiere this winter at California’s La Jolla Playhouse. Des McAnuff, whose credits include overseeing the current Broadway incarnation of both Jersey Boys and Jesus Christ Superstar, wrote and directed the whole robotic shebang. The Social Network genius Aaron Sorkin was attached to this thang back in 2007, but the LA Times has stated that his name is mysteeeeriously absent from the official press release.

• The Flaming Lips:
• La Jolla Playhouse:

Prurient releases double cassette Oxidation this week; Dominick Fernow makes you look unproductive

The President of Noise Dominick Fernow is hard at work as usual and is following up his Prurient project’s 7-inch Stun Gun (last month) and double 7-inch Wrapped in the Flame of Illusion, Masked in the Clay of Behavior (January) with a new double cassette release on his own Hospital Productions titled Oxidation. So for the months of 2012 so far, he’s three for three.

Oxidation is a straight-up noise assault that Fernow has mastered over his many years in the scene. Are these cacophonous compositions supposed to reflect the drug addictions of their song titles? History has taught us not to take Fernow too literally, as his concepts can stem from intricate and even sometimes personal foundations. But have fun assuming anyway!

Just in case you get bored with only getting to buy one new Prurient record each month, Fernow’s electronic project Vatican Shadow also has a new release called Kneel Before Religious Icons. The LP is Boomkat’s record of the week!

• Hospital:

Panabrite inserts his colored peg and illuminates with Soft Terminal (or, his name reminds me of that one toy I had as a child)

Without spending too much time invoking the work of an artist whose name in acronym form is “OPN,” it’s extremely refreshing to come across any musician who readily embraces the synth, instead of masking its sound with an excessive number of patches or through the utilization of additional instruments. This isn’t to say that bands who incorporate the synthesizer are necessarily deserving of scorn for doing the latter — just that they’d be totally more worthy of a listen if members decided to relinquish their guitars, drum kits, violins, didgeridoos, etc., and grab a vintage ARP 2600 or Korg MS-20 instead. You know New Order? As powerfully seductive as Bernard Sumner’s vocals and Peter Hook’s bass-lines were/are, I frankly would’ve been fine had they decided to go all-synth. Okay, that’s a complete lie, and the majority of this paragraph has been a serious exercise in hyperbole, but I stand by my initial point — the organic sound of a synthesizer is a beautiful thing, and unfortunately, we’ve strayed from the infatuation that we, as a culture, had for it during the 1970s and 80s.

For his part, Panabrite a.k.a. Noah Chambers is apparently one of the few that we can count on to lead a resurgence of all that synthy deliciousness. After numerous cassette releases and a recent 12-inch on Aguirre, he released his first “proper” LP, Soft Terminal on March 1 via Digitalis. A press release notes, “Some will be quick to chalk Soft Terminal up as another ‘synth record,’ but that’s just the surface dressing. There is something deeper and much more complex happening here. Vivid, liquid dreams are sculpted into intricate fantasy landscapes, each layer revealing what a wizard Chambers is.” So on and so forth. Short of suggesting that Chambers has magical powers, I will say that what I’ve sampled of his work is quite immersive. Oh yes, Panabrite, take me on a journey via cloud to a time when pubic hair was unkempt, and computers were room-sized…

• Panabrite:
• Digitalis:

Bob Mould and Merge Records, now making beautiful music together

Former Hüsker Dü/Sugar frontman, solo artist, and memoirist Bob Mould has left ANTI- and signed with Merge. Together, the label and the man will make beautiful music together, starting this fall when Mould’s new album is scheduled for release. Details about the album are scant, but the mysterious soon-to-be-work-of-art was recorded with bandmates Jason Narducy (Telekinesis, ex-Verbow) and WFMU funny guy/Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.

When not in the studio, the punk rock legend has been wowing audiences with his take on the whole “Hey superfans, I’m playing A WHOLE DAMN ALBUM” phenomenon. Mould recently performed Sugar’s 1992 debut album Copper Blue in its entirety for audiences at San Francisco’s 20th-annual Noise Pop Festival at the end of February (TMT report), and will be taking the Copper Blue show on the road throughout Europe this summer. For stateside fans, the only currently posted opportunities to get Blue happen at SXSW, where Mould will be cranking out the Sugar hits on March 17. Mould is also slated to perform at Merge Records’ showcase on March 16.

• Bob Mould:
• Merge:

Major labels get hard for at SXSW, the social music site that allows users to take turns DJing, announced at a SXSW panel on the future of the service yesterday (March 13) that they had secured licensing agreements with all four major labels. Co-founders Billy Chasen and Seth Goldstein explained to Billboard, “This feels like an all-time record speed launch - when we launched we really didn’t come at this from the music industry, it was all new to us.” Given the ongoing battles between major labels and other music streaming services such as Grooveshark, it’s pretty commendable that they were able to lock down these deals after being in business for less than a full year.

So why the eagerness by the major labels to get on board with a service that has a fraction of the number of users of Spotify and Pandora? Well, the majors are apparently getting hip to this whole social media gaming trend and see Turntable as a natural extension of the Zynga culture that Facebook has wrought upon us. In addition to just joining a room and queueing up tunes, allows participants to rate other users DJ abilities, granting them style points that can be accrued and redeemed for upgraded avatars.

In the near future, the plan is to expand what users can use their points toward to include more target market-oriented branded material. Not only will you be able to look like a snazzy Pete Fowler-esque character, but maybe you could look like a Lady Gaga cartoon holding a can of Pepsi! Since Turntable plans on continuing to avoid traditional banner ad advertising on its site, they’ll instead focus on these types of interactive and immersive branding experiments in order to produce revenue, meaning the possibilities for corporate synergy are truly mind boggling. Hence the tingly feeling (a.k.a. boners) the major label execs got as they rushed to license their music to