Pianist Ben Thornewill, guitarist Tommy Siegel, and drummer Jesse Kristin first came together in 2003 as undergraduate students at George Washington University. Sporting a quirky, brainy pop sound that took its cues from the likes of Ben Folds and They Might Be Giants, the three logged several years together under a different name, the Sunday Mail, before rebranding themselves Jukebox the Ghost in 2005. Following graduation, they released their debut album, Let Live & Let Ghosts, and relocated to Philadelphia.
Boosted by positive reviews, Jukebox the Ghost began touring in earnest, first as the opening act for one of their biggest influences (Ben Folds) and then alongside some of their pop-minded contemporaries (Tally Hall, Jenny Owen Youngs, Nightmare of You). By early 2010, they’d signed with Yep Roc Records and gone into the studio with producer Peter Katis, known for his work with atmospheric rock bands like Interpol and the National. With Katis adding a darker element to the band’s sound, Jukebox the Ghost released their second album, Everything Under the Sun, in September. That same year, the group celebrated a milestone with an appearance on the David Letterman Show, followed by tours with Barenaked Ladies and Jack's Mannequin, before heading back into the studio to record their third full-length, 2012's Safe Travels.