Drummer Colin Sears, who was best known for playing with Dag Nasty in the mid 1980s to early 1990s, formed The Marshes with his longtime friend, Emil Busi, in 1994. The Marshes released their first self-titled EP on Sike Records in 1995, which got the band signed to Grass Records which was part of the major record label, BMG. However, the band were quickly dropped, with little support behind 1996's Fledgling. Many of their lyrics on Fledgling were based on the fiction of HP Lovecraft.
The band signed to Dr. Strange Records and released Pox on the Tracts in 1997, before taking a few years off. When the Marshes went on hiatus, Sears moved on to play in the Portland, Oregon band, Handgun Bravado, which is also still active. However, Busi left the music business during the Marshes' hiatus. Also, in the interim, Steven Wardlaw became a member of The New Harmful, and then formed So Very Small.
The Marshes returned in 2000 to release Recluse, which appeared to be their final album, until the band returned in May 2010 to play two reunion shows and release a new single "Vicious Beast" (b/w Conley Island Whitefish) on Dr. Strange Records. The band's MySpace site stated we "still have a bunch of old and new songs we will release."