Tegan and Sara began playing guitar and writing songs at age 15, forming a band called Plunk without a drummer or bass player. In 1997, they used their school’s recording studio to record two demo albums: Who’s in Your Band? and Play Day. In 1998, they won Calgary’s “Garage Warz” competition, using the studio time they won to record their first professional demo, Yellow tape, which was followed by Orange tape and Red tape.
In 1999, they released their debut album Under Feet Like Ours independently under the name “Sara and Tegan” with producer Jared Kuemper. Two songs from Red tape appeared on the album, and two from Orange tape. They later changed their name to “Tegan and Sara” because it was more memorable and their first album was later reprinted under the name Tegan and Sara. In 1999 they signed with Neil Young’s Vapor Records and released This Business of Art through the label in 2000. They have toured extensively since then. In 2002, the band released their third album If It Was You. Their fourth album, So Jealous, was released in 2004 and led to wider success and attention, both locally and internationally. This album was released through both Vapor and Sanctuary. One track off the album, “Walking with a Ghost”, was covered by The White Stripes, who released it on their Walking with a Ghost EP.
Their 2007 album, The Con, was released by Vapor and Sire because Sanctuary chose to no longer release new music in the United States. The album was co-produced by Chris Walla. Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Sharp of The Rentals and previously Weezer, Hunter Burgan of AFI, and Kaki King all appeared and collaborated on the album.
On October 27, 2009, Tegan and Sara released their sixth album Sainthood, produced by Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp. The duo also put out a three-volume book set titled ON, IN, AT, which is a collection of stories, essays, journals, and photos of the band on tour in America in the fall of 2008, writing together in New Orleans, and touring Australia. The photographs in the book are by Lindsey Byrnes and Ryan Russell. The album “Sainthood” debuted on the Billboard top 200 albums at number 21 selling 24,000 copies in its first week. While recording Sainthood, Tegan and Sara spent a week writing songs together in New Orleans. The song “Paperback Head” was written on that trip and appeared on the album, making it the first song on any Tegan and Sara album that they wrote together. Spin magazine gave Sainthood four out of five stars and wrote, “Tegan and Sara’s music may no longer be the stuff of teens, but its strength remains in how much it feels like two people talking.”