Boris the Moth

Mp3 Link: Boris the Moth (demo version).

Did you ever read something called the Knowhow Book of Spycraft? It was in the library at our primary school and I must have read it a dozen times. Nothing – other than Get Smart – has ever tapped into the fundamental silliness of spycraft and detective work in the way that book did.

I don’t think it was entirely deliberate; much of the information provided was supposed to be for serious fun, the kind where you spend hours cutting and glueing elaborate masks and so on – but I don’t think anyone at our school ever actually made the masks or did any of the other activities it suggested. It was a book for daydreaming.

Strange But True: Muzak Jazz for the Modern Amateur Spy is the name of an album of home studio nu-jazz I made in Adelaide in 2005-6, in honour of that book. I gave quite a few copies to friends but took it no further than that.

Here’s a tune to get you started – this is the story of how that shady character Boris the Moth skipped town. It features Greg Osman on the saxophone and Louise Kleinig on vocals. This is a demo, so don’t be surprised if it’s a little crunchy in places.

Boris the Moth

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The Weather is Far Away

Mp3 Link – The Weather is Far Away

I have this thing about cumulus mammatus clouds. They look so close to the ground, but also kind of otherworldly, like something is about to reach down out of the sky and strart grabbing people. They seemed a perfect cover image for a pop song I wrote in 2005 about the day the sky fell down, The Shortest Day.

At the same time I was writing a new wave tune for a guy called ‘Chicago Greg’ on the Punk Planet Message Board who has a thing for the weather. He’s one of those guys who is always looking up the wind conditions in some obscure Russian peninsula, even though he has no intention of gong there. The colder it is somewhere else, the better he likes it, it seems, although he often complains about Chicago’s bitter winters. The first track is for him.

The Weather is Far Away is a 4-song EP I made between 2005 and 2007, fleshed out with an instrumental and another song, both about bush-walking. The drums on tracks 2 and 3 are by Joy Division‘s legendary drummer, Steven Morris, from their first album Warsaw. When I put this up in Myspace, New Order befriended me, which I thought was very sweet of them.

Basic Mp3 files of all tracks are free to download here. Wave files are available if you want to use any of the music for commercial purposes (contact me).

The Weather is Far Away

A Walk on My Own

Cornalees

The Shortest Day

The album art is right here for use in Nero or whatever – bear in mind that none of the Myspace sites it mentions exist any more.

Front Cover

All Our Creepy Needs

Planeteer Diaspora member Jason Katison once commented that if we need a creepy weirdo in a film, Steve Buscemi meets all our needs. I know a good line when I hear one and this song came shortly afterwards.

Do you remember that movie when he played a nerd? Or, come to think of it, can you remember one when he didn’t? I think it might have been that crappy one with Sandra Bollock in rehab.

He’s a big wheel in The Sporanos now too but I have to suspend my disbelief that Tony Soprano would take him seriously, I still think of him as Chet in Barton Fink. Tony, don’t you realise who that is? It’s not your cousin, it’s the Busc!

Oh, and apparently it’s ‘Boosh Shem I’ but I didn’t know that, did I? Everyone I know says Sheem.

Genre Warning: This is Punk Rock a la Johnathan Richman, i.e. not very punk, or very rock, especially with those keyboards. Also, it still has a very sudden ending. It just cuts out right in the middle of

Would You Believe It?

Mp3 link – Getting Smarter.

Would you believe that they’ve made a Get Smart movie? No? Well how about a Get Smart play? No? How about a picture of a guy with a shoe?

But alas, it’s not one of those glorious Don Adams gags. They really have made a movie of Get Smart. And would you believe, it really sucks? I bet you would.

Why are they (those ageing, cynical Hollywood moguls) going back through all my finest childhood memories of TV, comics and movies and systematically kicking the crap out of them? Hey, it wasn’t even made in my childhood. My mum used to watch that show in her twenties. It was only ever second-hand humour to me, and even as kid I knew that it was timeless precisely because it was so much a product of its time. Don’t they understand that shows like Get Smart were only funny because they were period-pieces, because actors like Adams managed to satirise their own times as well as being very much a part of them? That kind of thing can’t be replicated. It’s like trying to, well, it’s like trying to make a Get Smart movie and have it be any good. Why bother?

Here’s my own tribute to Adams and Co, a rocked up fast-tempo parody of the theme tune, with some sound bites from the show and some fine sax playing by Greg Osman. It’s a slightly ‘boxy’ recording and the Mp3 rip hasn’t helped but it still gets the point across.

Incidentally if you want the original soundtrack, go to http://www.wouldyoubelieve.com/ and while you’re there, check http://www.wouldyoubelieve.com/sounds.html for most of the sound files I used in here.

This tune was the opening track on the Strange But True CD.

Cheers,

Steve.

I’m a Golden Retriever

Mp3 link – Golden Retriever.

My long-standing ambition to write a tune for Sesame Street resulted in this song, Golden Retriever.

I love guide dogs, often more so than their owners, and was imagining an old-style, flickery super-8 film to complement this clunky acoustic folk track about the noble beasts. But the Sesame Workshop has gone very modern and the music is hip hop, as recent viewers will note. I guess they have to cater to what kids are interested in now, and don’t have time for their old fans any more, probably rationalizing this on the basis that people in their thirties should no longer be watching the show. Point is, they just don’t have time for the old-style folk any more. Even so I might send them a copy.

The song is from an album of folksy-rock I did in 2006-2007 called Live at Home. Other than sending a copy of it to my mate Soursob Bob, I haven’t done much with it so far but might put the cover art and more tracks up at some point.

Lyrics – extract

Oh when I grow up I’d like to be a seeing eye dog

When I grow up I’d like to change the world

But there’s so many muddy fields i want to explore

Sometimes I think I’ll never change the way I’ve been since I was born

I’m a Golden Retriever

I said I like to retrieve

And I will go anywhere you want

Just so long as my leash will reach

I can do anything

that a doggy can nominally do

Just so long as I can see you throw

Then I will bring it on back to you

You better believe that I like to retrieve…

(pant pant)

Cheers,

S.

Look! It’s Great Southern Steve

Hey! It’s the first post on Great Southern Steve.

Here you’ll find clunky rock and roll, fucked up folk, dancey new wave and muzak punk by one of the great undicovered talents in the music world: me.

Plus, periodic podcasts and samples of stuff I like.

Enjoy!

‘Great Southern’ Steve McKenzie

October 22, 2008.