Sydney, Australia's Youth Group originally formed around vocalist/guitarist Toby Martin and drummer Danny Allen.
While the two had hooked on with various other players here and there, by the band's second full-length they'd gelled with guitarist Cameron Emerson-Elliott and bassist Patrick Matthews. Released in Australia (Ivy League) in 2004 and America (via Epitaph) in spring 2005, Skeleton Jar capitalized on the expressive vocals and nimble instrumentation that brought Youth Group comparisons to the Sarah Records roster heyday, Death Cab for Cutie, and Badly Drawn Boy. Jar was also the culmination of what the 2001 Ivy League full-length Urban & Eastern had started, as well as the handful of singles the band had issued dating back to their late-'90s formation. Already a sensation at home, Youth Group made plans for U.K. and U.S. touring in 2005, including dates with Death Cab for Cutie. A friendship with that band led to Youth Group coming to the attention of the music director of the popular teen drama The O.C., and the guys soon recorded a cover of Alphaville's "Forever Young" for use in the show. The song became a number one hit in Australia, earning the guys a 2006 ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year - Single. Their third album, Casino Twilight Dogs, appeared in July 2006, again issued through Ivy League. ~ Johnny Loftus