The indie rock group Tel Aviv was formed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1994 by singer/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Comer and guitarist/synth player Jay Kraus, longtime best friends whose teen years were spent listening to Duran Duran and Wham! records. Under the name Korova, they recorded a demo tape the summer after graduating from high school, and mailed a copy to TeenBeat Records; the company initially passed on signing the group, but later, label chief Mark Robinson stumbled across the tape, listening to it obsessively during a trip to Europe. With no other information other than the group's name, Robinson futilely searched for Korova on the internet; he then went on tour with his band Air Miami, with their schedule including a date at Oberlin College, where Comer was attending school. He introduced himself to Robinson at the concert, and quickly the duo was signed to TeenBeat; changing their name to Tel Aviv, they issued their debut single "Cigarette" in mid-1995, followed that fall by their self-titled debut LP. Adding fellow Oberlin student and keyboardist Raymond Sweeten, they returned in early 1997 with The Shape of Fiction.