Although his parents are Argentinean, singer/songwriter José González was born in Sweden, where he became nationally renowned for his mix of autumnal indie pop and intimate acoustics. Following stints with hardcore bands during the 1990s, he officially launched his solo career with the release of 2003's Veneer, an entirely acoustic affair that reflected a childhood spent listening to equal parts bossa nova, classical, and post-punk by the likes of Joy Division. Touchstones for González's sound included Nick Drake, Paul Simon, Red House Painters, and Elliott Smith, and his popularity soon spread overseas, with Veneer receiving an American release in 2005.
José González's stateside prospects were aided by the appearance of his song "Crosses" in the season-ending episode of The O.C. The title track from his 2006 EP, Stay in the Shade, was also featured in the show. Stay in the Shade displayed a move away from the bedroom sound of González's first album, yet it still maintained the same caliber of songcraft and performance. In 2005, González joined with organist Elias Araya and drummer Tobias Winterkorn to form Junip, and the group released an EP at the end of the year and a full-length album in 2006. He returned to his solo career the following year, however, with the release of In Our Nature.