Negotiations between The United Sons of Toil and Cincinnati’s Phratry Records are underway. While a deal has not been finalized, both Phratry and USoT are looking forward to a mutually beneficial arrangement. According to the band, Phratry is a shining example of aesthetics and virtue and should be a role model for all indie labels.
Basic tracks for the next USoT recording were completed at Science of Sound Studios in March with additional recording at Flannel Jammies Studios. Anticipated release date is now scheduled for fall.
The United Sons of Toil are a collective deeply rooted in the grinding noise and math rock that bubbled up from the Midwest during the mid ’90s. This is not to suggest that the Sons are a retro band in any sense, simply that the hoarse vocals, guitar damage, starts and stops, and sometimes-convoluted arrangements and time signatures hark back to a time when labels like Touch and Go, AmRep, and Dischord lorded over the indie-rock landscape.
A number of other influences reared their ugly heads during the course of the first USoT record, 2007’s Hope Is Not a Strategy, notably the angular post-hardcore of outfits like Hoover and Unwound as well as the decidedly socialist bent of the sparse lyrics. Indeed, songs that compare family dynamics with political systems put the Sons squarely in the Gang-of-Four school of populist deconstruction.
Within less than a year, the Sons released their second full-length on May 24, 2008. Until Lions Have Their Historians, Tales of the Hunt Shall Always Glorify the Hunter is even more unrelenting than Hope with faster, more ferocious, songs and vitriolic diatribes about the exploitation of indigenous peoples. Lions billows in scope with wiry post-punk screes giving way to more expansive compositions, eventually culminating in epic layered guitarscapes.
Grizzled post-punk vet, Russell Hall, all but abandoned rock and roll in the summer of 2003. Having grown tired of the indie-rock careerism of his noisecore-gone-heartache touring outfit Pound WI and then exhausting the creative possibilities of P’elvis’ instrumental post-rock, he holed up in his basement outside of Madison creating sample-based electronic soundscapes under the name Bell & Circuit.
For almost two years he sustained himself on a diet of nothing but electronic and dub music. There was one exception: Madison’s precision brutalizers, Colony of Watts. Discovering a shared love of Touch and Go bands, Hall and Colony guitarist Chad Burnett soon became friends. After a year of cajoling, Burnett was finally able to coax Hall out of retirement. Initial rehearsals, with Burnett now on drums, resulted in six skeletal songs and five months later, local bassist-for-hire and man-about-town, Bill Borowski (Knuckeldrager, Atalanta, King Salmon, Charlemagne) agreed to join the struggle.
Burnett moved to San Francisco in the summer of 2008, leaving the Sons without a drummer. By fall, long-time fan and commrade Jason Jensen had offered his efforts to the collective and the struggle began anew.