Hear Four Previously Unreleased Monsters Of Folk Songs From Conor Oberst’s Scrapped Sci-Fi Musical

Hear Four Previously Unreleased Monsters Of Folk Songs From Conor Oberst’s Scrapped Sci-Fi Musical

Fifteen years ago, four prominent indie folk-rockers teamed up under the mostly joking moniker Monsters Of Folk: Bright Eyes guys Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, and solo act/She & Him member M. Ward. The band’s sole self-titled album is reissued today in deluxe, expanded form, with a selection of bonus tracks including five previously unreleased songs, all of which were intended for Oberst’s doomed sci-fi musical. He told me about it in an interview back in 2020:

STEREOGUM: At one point you were working on a screenplay based on Monsters Of Folk, your supergroup with Mogis, M. Ward, and Jim James. What ever happened with that?

OBERST: I actually finished it and everything, and we even started recording some of the music for it, but then it’s just like — you know how things are in Hollywood. It just got derailed. The film people that we were going to work with — just basically, the project fell apart and it was probably for the best. Because the way the script was, to do it right, it would’ve needed a couple of hundred million dollars. It wasn’t really an indie film, it was like an action adventure.

STEREOGUM: So it was an action film, but it also was about you guys as a band? Were you guys going to play yourselves in it?

OBERST: Yeah, yeah. We were going to play ourselves. We weren’t really the main characters, but we were in it. And we were going to do a lot of music. In sort of our forever sarcastic, jokey way about that band, the idea was like, “We’re a super group. We made one record. You can’t just make another record, the only idea was keep going bigger.” So we were like, “All right, full-length feature film. That’s what a super group would do.” That was the idea of that. Yeah, it didn’t quite work out, you know? This town will chew you up and spit you out.

STEREOGUM: You think you’ll ever leak the screenplay?

OBERST: [laughs] Probably not.

When the reissue was announced, Monsters Of Folk shared one of those five unreleased tracks, “Disappeared.” Today, with the whole project out in the world, we can hear the other four: “Dear To The Assassin,” “Sweet Silence,” “The Living Thing,” and “Museum Guard.” Check ’em out below.

The Monsters Of Folk reissue is out now on ATO.

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