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Yellowcard's fortunes took a turn for the better when the Jacksonville, Fla., band headed off to Southern California in 2000. With their lineup solidified, Yellowcard released two independent EPs that richly captured their catchy emo-meets-punk-pop sound. Sharp songwriting and their idiosyncratic use of a violin helped set them apart from other similar-sounding bands. Capitol Records was intrigued enough by the offbeat combination to sign them in 2003. Their success continued with the release of Ocean Avenue in 2004, which spawned a series of hit singles and went double platinum. As their fortunes rose, internal tensions erupted, with original guitarist Ben Harper departing the band to focus on his indie label, Takeover Records. He was replaced by Ryan Mendez, previously in the punk band Staring Back.
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