We are nearing five years since the last release from Slim Cessna's Auto Club member Munly Munly (a.k.a. Jay Munly), with his 2004 Alternative Tentacles label release Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots. What makes this wait seem excruciatingly long is the fact that this most recent album, sonically, was head and shoulders above his previous releases. While De Dar He, Blurry, Galvanized Yankee, and Jimmy Carter Syndrome hold a place in the Denver sound, the Lee Lewis Harlots album really brought the sound to a new level.
In recent years, even Munly's live performances have dropped off substantially. In fact, the last two shows I'm aware of him playing are New Years 2008 and New Years 2007. That said, the Auto Club has been quite active over the past year, largely touring in support of their most recent album Cipher. While the Munly drought seems quite long, I think the die hard fans can recognize his increased presence in the Auto Club's recent work.
Yet the question remains, when can we expect a new release from Munly? Information on this remains limited, and I have no insider connections to the workings of the group. However, I am aware of various pieces of information that have made their way around various online communities.
First, it seems the Lee Lewis Harlots, as a backing band, have dissolved in their prior form. The past two shows on New Years Eve have been billed as Munly and the Lupercalians. Further, I understand that Munly's next album is to be a double album focusing on the fictional town of Lupercalia, and further, the stories within are said to be the true story of Peter and the Wolf. Recently, in fact, a "Pre-History of Lupercalia" was posted as a blog on Munly's myspace.
Moving further into the rumor mill, I've heard various reports that some of the aforementioned album was recorded, but later scrapped when line-up changes in the band occurred. Additional reports indicate that no new recordings have been done with the new lineup. What I heard from the most recent New Years show was that Munly & the Lupercalians consisted of two organs on either side of the stage, two drum/percussion set-ups, and Munly in the middle. Word was that the band sounded very solid live, so hopefully that means they'll be in the studio soon, although with upcoming U.S. and European tours for SCAC, this may be an impossibility.
Also highly anticipated, at least for my own interests, is the documentary being produced about the "Denver sound." Smooch Records initially mentioned this project, although I've heard little about its progress since. If it's anything like other projects of its sort, it may be some time circulating through film festivals, etc., before it is available to the public, and that is assuming that it is even finished. The last update on the film was in 2007, so it's anybody's guess.
Update: More recent Munly news posted here 08/22/09.