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Turner's musical career began at school, with the short-lived alternative band Kneejerk. The band self-released three albums and played several shows around the UK (including a support slot for boysetsfire), before disbanding in November 2001.

In 2001, Turner joined London hardcore band Million Dead at the invitation of former Kneejerk drummer Ben Dawson. In 2005, after four years and two albums, the band announced that they were parting ways, as “irreconcilable differences within the band mean that it would be impossible to continue.”

Turner's first solo shows took place prior to the break-up of Million Dead, with a set at the Smalltown America all-dayer at 93 Feet East in London. After the band's split, Turner felt that "it seemed like the logical thing to do to try my hand at playing these songs more publicly and more concertedly than before." Turner states that "when [Million Dead] finished, I wanted to stay on tour, but I didn’t want the hassle of putting a band together."

After a split EP with rock band Reuben, Turner's first solo EP, Campfire Punkrock, was released in May 2006 on Xtra Mile Recordings. After touring in support of American singer-songwriter Jonah Matranga, the two released a split EP in August 2006. In September, he was the last act to appear on Steve Lamacq's “Lamacq Live” show on BBC Radio 1. Turner's debut full-length, Sleep Is for the Week, was released in January 2007.

After an extensive tour, including dates supporting yourcodenameis:milo and Biffy Clyro, and an appearance at SXSW, Turner released an EP, The Real Damage, in May 2007. After a further tour with Jonah Matranga and Jacob Golden, the “All About The Destination” DVD was released in October, before returning to the studio in Hampshire to record his second album. The album, Love Ire & Song was released on March 31, 2008, followed by an extensive UK tour with Andy Rourke and Chris T-T.

During summer 2008, Turner made several festival appearances, including sets at Two Thousand Trees Festival, the Cambridge Folk Festival, Truck, Glastonbury, and the Reading and Leeds Festivals. In December he released The First Three Years, a compilation of demos, b-sides and covers that are not featured either of his studio albums. In January 2009, he released a combined package of The First Three Years and Love Ire & Song, and supported The Gaslight Anthem on their tour of the UK and Europe, demoing several new songs and announcing his plans to record a new album in May. The album, reportedly titled Poetry For the Deed, is tentatively scheduled for release in September, with a UK tour following in October. The album will be produced by Alex Newport, as previously suggested in interview by Turner.

Turner has been announced as a support act on The Offspring's upcoming Summer tour. Regarding the announcement, Turner states that: "Smash was one of the first punk records I ever bought, and I’m blown away to even be considered for the shows. From a “career” point of view, it’s also great - playing to many thousands of people a night across the States is an opportunity not to be sniffed at."

On April 28, Turner signed with Epitaph Records, for releases outside the UK.