Peter Bjorn and John formed in 1999 in Stockholm, Sweden, comprising members Peter Moren on vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Bjorn Yttling on vocals, bass, and keyboards; and John Eriksson on drums, percussion, and vocals. Although influenced by the sounds of classic '60s baroque pop, power pop, and new wave, the band shunned the "revivalist" tag and, instead, created some of the most exciting and original indie rock of the mid-2000s. The band began playing gigs soon after forming and eventually found themselves on music compilations alongside artists like Sahara Hotnights, Badly Drawn Boy, and Holiday for Strings. After releasing the Forbidden Chords EP and a pair of singles ("Failing and Passing" and "I Don't Know What I Want Us to Do"), the band released its self-titled first album in 2002 on the tiny Beat That! label.
After more shows, more EPs (People They Know, 100m of Hurdles), and another release of a single ("See Through"), the group jumped to the Planekonomi label in 2004 and released the Beats, Traps and Backgrounds EP. It was soon followed by the 2004 album Falling Out, which was picked up for American release by Hidden Adenda in late 2005. The record placed them -- along with the Concretes, the Shout Out Louds (both of whom Yttling has produced records for), and the Legends -- at the forefront of the sparkling wave of promising pop bands coming from Sweden. The band's third album, Writer's Block, followed a year later and became a minor international hit, buoyed by the catchy single "Young Folks." The song's video also boosted the band's profile, gently propelling Peter Bjorn and John into a very 2000s kind of fame that culminated in them playing the tune with Kanye West at the 2007 Way Out West Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden. After completing their various tours in support of Writer's Block, the band focused on other projects (including Yttling's production work and Morn's 2008 solo album, The Last Tycoon) before coming together to record and release a largely instrumental album, Seaside Rock, in the autumn of 2008. Living Things, the band's fourth full-length album, was released several months later in early 2009.