A decidedly low-key band from the Boston suburbs, Wheat boasted a dreamy, autumnal sound that owed a good deal to British shoegazing bands of the late-'90s. Formed in 1996 in Taunton, Massachusetts, the band turned away from traditional marketing tactics, instead exercising their creative whims during live performances. A fan sent one of Wheat's tapes to Sugar Free Records, a Chicago-based label that signed the band immediately. Core members Scott Levesque, Brendan Harney, and Ricky Brennan helped shape Wheat's sound across their first two albums, aided by Mike Flood, Kevin Camara, Ricky Brennan, and Kenny Madaras.
The group's debut, Medeiros, was issued in 1998 and won critical praise for its ambient textures and far-ranging sound explorations. Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann helmed the band's follow-up, 1999's Hope and Adams, which pulled together far-reaching influences from alternative rock, slowcore, and Brit-pop. Hope and Adams proved to be even more ambitious than its predecessor; it also continued the band's anti-promotion stance, as neither the musicians' names nor their pictures could be found in the liner notes. After leaving the roster of Sugar Free Records and spending several years without a label, Wheat signed with Aware Records, securing distribution from Columbia in the process.