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Combining melodic pop elements with the edgy atmosphere of indie rock and Brit-pop, Alterkicks were formed in 2002 by singer Martin Stilwell, guitarists Mike Oates and Gareth Padfield, bassist Mark Yari-Gerrard, and drummer Oliver Hughes. The five met through ads posted in music shops, and they spent most of their first year working up material and learning to play as a band. In 2004, Alterkicks scored their first major break when Zane Lowe, a disc jockey on BBC Radio One, began playing songs from their demo tape during his show. Before long the band was approached by the noted independent label Fierce Panda, which released Alterkicks' first single, "Do Everything I Taught You" b/w "The Cannibal Hiking Disaster," in the spring of 2005. Enthusiastic reviews and radio airplay caused the single to quickly sell out its limited-edition pressing, and Moshi Moshi Records soon stepped forward to release a second single by the group, "Oh Honey" b/w "Citalopram" and "Dragon." Steady touring followed for the band, as well as a well-received live studio session for BBC Radio Two, and Alterkicks soon became headliners at a regular club night in Liverpool, dubbed Little Big Man. In 2006, the group signed a long-term recording contract with B*Unique Recordings and released its first single with the label, "On a Holiday"; an album, produced by Stephen Street, was due in 2007.