A blend of post-punk aggression and mod melodies and harmonies, French Kicks originally featured guitarists/vocalists Matt Stinchcomb and Josh Wise, bassist Jamie Krents, and drummer/vocalist Nick Stumpf. Washington, D.C. natives Krents, Stumpf, and Stinchcomb began playing together in their early teens, inspired by their hometown's renowned hardcore scene; upon moving to Brooklyn after college, the trio met Wise and became a quartet. Officially christened French Kicks in 1998, the group released their self-titled debut EP on My Pal God the following year. After more touring and recording, French Kicks signed to Star Time in the U.S. and Creation impresario Alan McGee's label Poptones in the U.K. The Young Lawyer EP arrived in early 2001, and a year later the group toured with the Vue and labelmates the Walkmen before releasing their full-length debut, One Time Bells. Trial of the Century followed in spring 2004, featuring vocalist Stumpf, by then on keyboards, and new drummer Aaron Thurston. The following year, the band began writing songs for their third album, and all but founding member Matt Stinchcomb amicably left the group before the start of recording. In early 2006, French Kicks reunited with Trial of the Century producer Doug Boehm in L.A. to record. With the addition of guitarist Kush El Amin, Two Thousand arrived that summer. Swimming appeared in 2008 and continued the smooth pop direction of Two Thousand.