Singer/guitarist Toby Martin formed Youth Group with longtime friend, drummer Danny Allen, and after a revolving line-up, the group finally gelled with the addition of guitarist Cameron Emerson-Elliott and Patrick Matthews, former bassist with the Vines. The band's relentless touring schedule helped to gain a substantial following in their native Australia, which was cultivated via further tours with such international bands as Elliott Smith, the Strokes, Luna and Joe Pernice, among others. In May of 2001, the Aussie band released their debut album Urban & Eastern which was followed by Shadowland in 2004. The band's melodic-yet-dark guitar pop was a throwback to mid-1980s Aussie bands such as the Died Pretty and the Moffs, as much as it was an up-to-the-minute, stand-alone sound unique to the Youth Group. Shadowland was the first effort to be released Stateside and Youth Group supported it with an appearance at 2005's SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas before hitting the road with the Vines. By the end of 2005, the band's praises were being sung by current "it" band, Death Cab for Cutie, who happily took the quartet out on the road with them.