Interview: Illy – Channel [V]

If you ever want to feel like you’ve achieved jack shit in the past five years of your life, simply sit down for a chat with indefatigable Aussie hip hop phenomenon Illy, a lesson Mitch Feltscheer learnt recently when he caught up with the man also known as Al Murray.

Although self-described as “normally a really lazy individual,” Murray is about to see the release of his fourth full-length studio album since 2009, a fact which seems to refute this self-diagnosis. Pointing the blame at the people he surrounds himself with, the Melbourne based artist says he is now simply used to the steady cycle of writing, producing and releasing and that his music is the one thing that brings the workaholic out of him.

As a figurehead in the new wave of Aussie hip-hop which has over those five years not only seen a shift towards a more genre-inclusive sound but also a much larger presence in the mainstream music conscious, Murray humbly talks down his input in this resurgence and talks up the work of his colleagues. “I wouldn’t even say I’m a veteran just yet, I guess I’m getting close to there,” he says. “But in my generation, I’m seeing dudes like 360, Pez, Seth [Sentry] and Horrorshow, plus a whole lot of dudes who are coming up and making music with a very different style to it, a lot more modern I think and really putting their own sort of identity on it, which has been really cool to see. As far as the reach, I mean the last five years has gone crazy compared to what it was when I started.”

The impressive output of music over the past five years hasn’t been without its ups and downs, however, with the road to his new album Cinematic seeing criticism from opposing camps within the industry. Whereas his first two albums received disapproval from purists who accused Murray of diverging too far from the core hip hop sound, his 2012 release Bring it Back found itself the target of early fans who felt alienated by the lack of his earlier pop sensibilities. With his newest work though, Murray seems to have given the finger to haters across the board. “It is impossible to please everyone and it’s a waste of time trying to make everyone happy,” explains Murray. “It doesn’t really affect my writing anymore. I’m really comfortable with who I am.”

Once again aligning with long-time collaborator and best bud M-Phazes, Murray says the two had a strong idea of what they wanted the album to sound like, locked themselves away and simply laid down what they wanted. With their brotherly closeness (Phazes accompanies Illy on tour as his DJ) and having worked together successfully in the past, Murray reckons they’ve got the process locked down. “We pretty much annoy the shit out of each other for six months and then there’s an album at the end.”

M-Phazes isn’t the only person Murray got the chance to annoy in the studio, with Cinematic seeing him recruit some of the biggest names in Australia right now, including an unlikely pairing with the clean vocalist from Amity Affliction, Ahren Stringer, who he met by chance at a house party, and a collaboration with his very own teenage idols Hilltop Hoods. Assuring me it was the opposite of the proverbial glass-shatter moment when you finally meet your long-time heroes, Murray says he got along with and synced up so well with the Adelaide group they offered to put the resulting track on the Hoods’ upcoming release. “It was already locked in for mine though. If I had known earlier I probably would have let them put it onto theirs.”

With a return to the undiluted, unaltered Illy style and sound, the epic and aptly-titled Cinematic is sure to please fans from all corners of the industry, however its impending release isn’t the only big calendar event this month for Murray with his LP from last year nominated for a 2013 ARIA for Best Urban Release. His second time nominated at the awards, Murray says he was actually incredibly surprised to receive the nod for Bring it Back and again modestly brushes off the praise. “Yeah I don’t think I have a shot this year. I reckon and I hope Horrorshow takes it out.”

It takes a rare artist to be releasing a new album a couple of weeks before attending an award ceremony where he’s nominated for his last but such is the nature of the unstoppable Illy. First things first though and when asked what he was getting up to for the album release this Friday he once again demonstrated the forthright, down to earth Al Murray persona I’d first observed on his Facebook page and had now witnessed in person. “I’ve got a launch party mate, so I’ll be getting pissed.”

Illy’s fourth album Cinematic is out Friday November 8th.

Feature Article: 2013’s Top Nude Moments In Music – Channel [V] Online

Orignally posted:

Female pop stars and nudity have gone hand in hand for centuries, dating all the way back to Renaissance musician Joan Demuuf, whose single ‘Leonarda da Vinc-Me’ went platinum after she flashed some ankle in a Florence courtyard. 2013 in particular has been rife with pop musicians baring all in public forums, adding fuel to the ongoing debate of feminist empowerment versus hyper-sexualisation for attention. Not everyone’s happy about the current level of nips, bits, butts and fronts being displayed by the likes of Gaga and RiRi recently, so in order for you to make an informed, moral decision either way we have collected the top nude moments in music for 2013.

NB: Note that the below contains zero instances of male pop stars sans clothes. As an ardent supporter of equality, I for one am appalled at the complete lack of peen slips and/or man-butt in the contemporary music sphere. Get it together/undone dudes! I’m looking at you One Direction… late at night when I’m all alone… ahem.

Lady Gaga goes Full Gaga

Lady Gaga can’t seem to make her mind up on whether she wants you to see absolutely nothing, say when she dons a full body chicken nugget suit, or whether she wants you to see errrrryything, such as her recent surprise performance at London Nightclub G-A-Y where she proudly showed off her birthday suit/barked up a lot of wrong trees. It seems LG feels like she needs to outdo her pop-colleagues in getting their gear off and this move seems to be the finale in a culmination of a year’s worth of skin flashing and puts her as frontrunner in Award for Most Naked.


Katy Perry SAYS NO

Suddenly, COUNTERPOINT! In a recent interview with an American radio station, Katy Perry entered the dialogue stating, “I mean everybody’s so naked. We know you’ve got it, I’ve got it too… I’m not necessarily judging, I’m just thinking sometimes it’s nice to play that card, but sometimes it’s nice to play other cards.” Sure Katy has shown off her bod previously but she appears to have had a minor epiphany and has gone all prude on us. Hopefully this doesn’t mean she will end her reign of shooting fireworks and confectionary out of her chest, because who doesn’t love that?

KatyPerry (1)

Snakes on a Rihanna

Never one to shy away from getting all nude-like in her music videos/most places, Rihanna joined the completely starkers brigade with a recent shoot for GQ magazine, appearing with nought but a large snake as clothing. Channelling the mythical Greek monster Medusa, Rih and her perfectly placed boa grace the cover of the 25th Anniversary edition and, depending on your level of Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), is either sexy as hell or NOOOOOOOPE.


Miley… obviously

Speaking of things that slither around in no clothes and often have their tongue sticking out, we move to young Miss Cyrus. Where would 2013 be without you, Miley? From near nudity at a music awards ceremony to full-blown in her music video for ‘Wrecking Ball’, ex-Hannah Montana has spent most of this year in some state of undress. Despite receiving plenty of flack ranging from tut-tutting to accusations of bringing in the sexpocalyspe, Miley herself has been fairly composed and articulate in her reaction to the controversy, assuring everyone she’s very much in control of her liberating new image. I’m more worried about her sexual attraction to hardware to be honest. I lost a family member to a naked wrecking ball accident.


Nicki Minaj #Pasties #Nips

There’s nothing new about pop stars ‘gramming some selfies, it gives us lesser folk brief insights into their daily duckfaces and I, for one, am a big fan. Nicki Minaj however, isn’t content with simple neck-up self-shots with her latest string of Instagrams featuring ample amount of full frontal boobage. She’s a classy lass though, so don’t worry about eyeballing any areola, with strategically placed hair or leopard-print pasties always maintaining her lady-like decorum.


“The nice thing about that place is Beyonce gets in the hammock with you!”

“Oh kewl topless photos Nicki, excuse me while I continue to be the best at everything and get nakey in this hammock” – Beyonce, probably. Queen Bey entered the Naked Games with this shot posted on her Tumblr featuring herself tanning those hard to reach spots in South America. Carefully hiding the rude bits and looking appropriately glamorous in nothing but a weird gold hand bracelet thing, Mrs Carter reminds the world that she will always be better then everyone, ever.


Okay I Lied

I know I said above there were zero dude pics but well… this is the closest we’re going to get, so in the name of gender equality:


– Mitch Feltscheer

Gig Review: Surfer Blood – Channel [V] Online

Originally posted at–surfer-blood

Date: 26 July, 2013
Venue: Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney

You’d be forgiven for immediately filing Surfer Blood into the surf-rock genre purely from the band name but the lo-fi quartet from Florida are actually a little more tricky to categorise, something which becomes even more evident after seeing one of their live shows. Guitar songs about girls and parties, sure, but it’s the sneaky pop elements, bright hooks and shameless rock’n’roll that steal into their songs that take the band slightly out of the garage and into their own unique sound, a sound that was completely devoured by the long-haired, denim-jacketed Sydney crowd at Oxford Art Factory on Friday.

Support band Palms have this knack for making any gig they play feel like a backyard party in a run-down inner-west terrace house (NB: This is a very good thing). Whenever I see them live I don’t just feel like I’m watching four young dudes thrashing out some solid vintage rock, I feel like I’m watching my mates having a good time. Which is weird considering I’ve never even met any of the band members. Me being a creep aside, it’s hard not to have a grin plastered on your mug for the entirety of a Palms set with the lads’ crazy tight delivery of such killer tracks as newie ‘This Last Year’ in total contrast to their laidback, cheerful demeanours.

The intimate Oxford Art Factory floor had filled with fellow non-Splendourites when the curtains parted for Surfer Blood, signalling it was time to get our reverb on. Opening with an intensity that set several audience members’ beanies alight, Surfer Blood didn’t let up from start to finish, with even their slower numbers completely enthralling the crowd. Featuring a fairly even mix of tunes from their 2009 debut Astro Coast and this year’s arguably more mature outing Pythons, the four Floridians delivered an impressively controlled set of blistering guitars and perfectly tuned melodies.

Frontman John Paul Pitts is definitely an interesting dude to watch. Suffering from a fairly serious case of young-in-the-face, JP sometimes seemed like a saintly altar boy praising the heavens and other times, when he’d unleash a guttural shriek worthy of Parkway Drive, he’d descend to pure rock god status, if only for a moment. This is fairly indicative of Surfer Blood’s vibe in general. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out as a punky-beachy-rock outfit they throw in something unexpected or completely alter the tempo, constantly keeping you on your feet.

I think this ambiguous nature of Surfer Blood, straddling a couple of genres at once, caused a bit of confusion in the audience of how exactly to react at some moments. Point in case was what this reviewer is officially deeming the most pathetic attempt at a circle pit in the history of music-kind. Where mere minutes ago JP from the band had entered the crowd in order to distil hugs and handshakes, the middle of the dance-floor suddenly became an avenue for a handful of awkwardly proportioned 18-year-olds to let out some testosterone and run at each other like injured flamingos. It was seriously pitiful. I’d seen more violence in an episode of Rugrats. You know Rugrats? That Nickelodeon cartoon about babies? Yeah. That.

Highlights of the set included a seriously pretty rendition of ‘Miranda’, the band showing off their technical skills with a tight-as-shit ‘Demon Days’ and the biggest moment of the night, a sweaty screamy performance of ‘Swim’. Imparting not only good-as tunes but an infectious sense of elation and enjoyment, Surfer Blood are at the top of their game at the moment and at the top of whatever bloody genre you want to consider them. I vote indie-surf-rock-witch-screamo-dream-pop.

Mitch Feltsheer