Part of the nouveau psych-folk movement that took shape as the first decade of the 21st century drew to a close, the American-born singer/songwriter Alela Diane got her start thanks to a well-received self-released recording (2003's Forest Parade) and a helping hand from established scenester Joanna Newsom. After a short stint with the group Black Bear and a European vacation, Diane returned to the States and began work on her next album, which saw the light of day as The Pirate's Gospel in 2004. It caught the attention of small label Holocene Music, which reissued the album in 2006 with new artwork and a revised track listing.
The Pirate's Gospel was critically well received, and over the next year and a half, Alela Diane's star was on the ascent. A 10" vinyl five-song EP, Songs Whistled Through White Teeth, was released in the U.K. in 2006, and Diane toured extensively in both the United States and the British Isles during the following year. In 2008, she toured Europe once again and found time to record an album with Headless Heroes, a side project whose debut album, The Silence of Love, was a collection of cover songs. Her next solo LP, To Be Still, marked her debut for Rough Trade in 2009. Although it was universally well received by critics, Diane ditched the album's hushed, intimate appeal in favor of a beefier sound, which was unveiled on 2011's Alela Diane & Wild Divine.