Bloc Party was formed by Russell Lissack and Kele Okereke in 1999 following the Reading Festival. The two had previously met the year before and on their second encounter decided to form a band. After finding bassist Gordon Moakes and drummer Matt Tong, the quartet went to work touring and recording material. While they gained a base by touring for the intervening four years, 2003 was a breakthrough year for the group. They saw one of their tracks, "The Marshals Are Dead," featured on a compilation CD and released their debut single, "She's Hearing Voices." The band's fortunes grew brighter when Okereke gave a copy of the single to Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand and a Radio 1 DJ. The airplay of the song, combined with the band's invitation to play at Franz Ferdinand's Domino event, led to a record deal in early 2004.
The band began recording and shortly after released the self-titled EP Bloc Party, featuring content from the first two singles. This was followed up by Little Thoughts EP, which brought together the single of the same name and B-sides from "Helicopter." The band finally released their debut album, Silent Alarm, in February 2005. A smash success, it clocked in at #3 on the British album charts and has since been certified platinum. The band immediately went to work on their second album, and in the meantime released the compilation album Silent Alarm Remixed and an EP, Two More Years EP. The release of A Weekend in the City in 2005 marked a shift for the band from pure indie rock to a more R&B-influenced sound. Gigwise reports that members of Bloc Party have compared this new sound to bands such as Radiohead and U2. For this experimentation with their style, the album was awarded a number two spot on the UK charts and number twelve in the U.S.
For their third studio album, Intimacy, Bloc Party experimented with yet another new sound, even though early reports from sources such as NME suggested that this was not going to be the case. The new album adds electronic elements such as synthesizing, vocal manipulation, and loops. Besides its departure from the band's earlier styles, Intimacy also saw the group embrace a digital method of distribution, following the online leak of A Weekend in the City three months prior to its official release. The third album was released as a digital download on August 21, 2008, and a number of songs were released for streaming on NME and MySpace the day before release. CD versions were released on October 25 in North America and October 28 in Europe. The album debuted on the UK charts at number eight and on the U.S. charts at number 18. In addition to their album work, Bloc Party is a popular touring group. Groups they have performed or will perform with include Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, and Longwave.