Vocalist/guitarist Craig Finn formed the Hold Steady in 2000, after moving from Minneapolis to New York City. Wanting to capture the sound of bands such as the Replacements and the Grifters, he recruited guitarist Tad Kubler, drummer Judd Counsell, and bassist Galen Polivka. The newly-formed band released its debut, Almost Killed Me, on Frenchkiss Records in March 2004. Dave Gardener (Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu) and Dean Botulonis signed on to produce Separation Sunday, which arrived in 2005. The World/Inferno Friendship Society's Franz Nicolay (keyboards) and Bobby Drake (drums), formerly of End Transmission and Arm, were also added to the Hold Steady lineup. The band's third effort, 2006's Boys and Girls in America, marked their first release for Vagrant and their biggest record to date.