The Sheila Divine formed in 1997 and played their first show on July 4 at The Middle East in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The lineup consisted of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Aaron Perrino, bassist Jim Gilbert, and drummer Shawn Sears. All three had met in college at State University of New York at Oneonta, but each had ended up in Boston independently. They gained a loyal local following and went on to win the 1999 WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble.
Critics compare their sound to the band’s own heroes, mainly early 1980s post-punk. The band is most often noted for its loud/soft musical dynamic and Aaron Perrino’s soaring vocals, screaming in key one moment and howling a falsetto the next.