The experimental three-piece of Pinebender originated in the Chicago suburbs in late 1997. With their minimal instrumentation that consists of Matt Clark (low guitars), Chris Hansen (guitar/vocals), and Stephen Howard (drums), a slow-paced but melodic tone of experimental indie resulted as the three-piece played around Chicago for the next two years. Following a deal with Ohio Gold Records in 1999, Pinebender's first full-length, Things Are About to Get Weird, resulted the following year with some production help from Steve Albini. The EP Too Good to Be True followed in 2000 before the band switched over to Lovitt for 2003's The High Price of Living Too Long with a Single Dream. Clark exited Pinebender in summer 2002, prior to that album's release, and the band didn't release any new material for several years. Hansen stayed put as Howard moved from drums to baritone guitar and Dennis Stacer joined on behind the kit; the new lineup then issued Working Nine to Wolf in the fall of 2006.