Multi-talented musician Emil Amos started his solo project Holy Sons around 1992 after the dissolution of what would just be one early entry in a long line of bands.
Holy Sons found Amos turning to home recording alone, laying down hundreds of songs and sketches on the four-track as a type of personal therapy more than anything intended for public listening. Relocating from North Carolina to Portland, Oregon in 1999, Amos quickly got immersed in the local music scene, helping to form the heavy instrumental act Grails
in 2000. Holy Sons' first release surfaced not long after in the form of Lost Decade, a collection of tunes put to tape between 1994 and 1999. Albums Staying True to the Ascetic Roots and Enter the Uninhabitable followed at an annual rate, both albums tending toward a more full-band feel than the decidedly lo-fi earlier recordings. I Want to Live a Peaceful Life followed in 2003, officially taking the recording quality to higher ground. Grails
toured Europe in 2004, and Amos opened many of the shows as Holy Sons. Along with Grails
and Holy Sons, Amos became increasingly more active as a hired gun, filling in as part of pickup bands or one-off gigs with everyone from Daniel Johnston
to Jandek. He also became involved with Om
and would eventually form the more production-minded electronic project Lilacs & Champagne
shortly before a relocation to Brooklyn in the early 2010s. All the while, Holy Sons' output was steady, with new albums or collections of older recordings coming every few years on various labels. In 2014, Thrill Jockey
released The Fact Facer, a return to the project's murky roots. Amos went so far as to use backup musicians (Brain Markham and Adam Bulgasem of Dommengang
) to play the songs in both Portland and Brooklyn, so Holy Sons could assemble in a bicoastal fashion whenever the occasion called for it. The followup album, Fall of Man, was recorded in both places with co-producers Brandon Eggleston, Al Carlson, and Jeff Saltzman, and released by Thrill Jockey
in the late summer of 2015. In 2016, Holy Sons returned with '70s pop/rock-influenced In the Garden. Produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth
, Dinosaur Jr.
, Buffalo Tom
), the album included the single "It's My Feeling." ~ Fred Thomas