Formed in 1999, Amityville, NY's Taking Back Sunday took their version of melodic hardcore from bands like Lifetime, Endpoint, and Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as guitarist Ed Reyes' emo band the Movielife. The band's first demo, a five-song CD, was released in February of 2001.
After a year of self-promotion and touring, including shows with At the Drive-In and Alkaline Trio, Taking Back Sunday signed to Victory Records. The band immediately went into New Jersey's Big Blue Meanie Recording Studios with producer Sal Villanueva and engineer Tim Gilles to record a full-length debut. That album, Tell All Your Friends, layered Adam Lazzara's emotional vocals and the dual-guitar assault of Reyes and John Nolan for a classic hardcore sound with pop songwriting components. It was released on Victory in March of 2002.
The group spent the rest of that year and much of 2003 touring, but when bassist Shaun Cooper and guitarist John Nolan left the band, Taking Back Sunday's future was left in doubt. However, guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino and bassist Matt Rubano filled out the lineup in time for the band's fall 2003 tour and recording sessions for Tell All Your Friends' follow-up. That album, Where You Want to Be, arrived in summer 2004 and debuted at number three on Billboard's Top 200. TBS toured steadily behind the album, headlining a sold-out North American tour and hitting the usual Warped Tour stops. Signing with Warner Bros. in June 2005, the band also co-headlined some dates with Jimmy Eat World during the year. Ever the hard workers, they were back in the studio by August; the result was their third full-length, Louder Now, a number two hit on the Top 200 that was issued in April 2006. Produced by Eric Valentine (Third Eye Blind, Queens of the Stone Age), the album was a darker, more aggressive effort that tapped into the band's live energy.