Garnering heaps of praise right out of the gate, the Ponys won the admiration of the likes of NME and Spin with their debut album, 2004's Laced with Romance. But their newbie success isn't all that surprising since the band had been playing together since 2000 and not one of its four members was much of a newbie even then. A sort of Chicago powergroup made up of seasoned veterans of the Windy City's indie rock scene, the Ponys were formed by singer/guitarist Jered Gummere (of punk band the Guilty Pleasures) and his girlfriend, bassist Melissa Elias. They recruited first drummer Nathan Jerde (formerly of Mushuganas) and then singer/multi-instrumentalist Ian Adams (formerly of Happy Supply), who helped lend a pop touch to the band's revivalist post-punk. Gigs throughout Chicagoland and around the country ensued, leading to a deal with In the Red, the aforementioned debut, and a follow-up (2005's Celebration Castle) recorded with Steve Albini. Adams left the band around that time and was replaced by Brian Case (of math rock unit the 90 Day Men), with whom the Ponys recorded their third album, 2007's Turn the Lights Out, for Matador.