Brothers Lillian Berlin (born Jason Berlin Rothman), Eve Berlin (born Justin Yves Rothman and sometimes known as Yves Berlin), and Bosh Berlin (born Joshua Rothman) grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis. Future Living Things guitarist Cory Becker was a childhood friend. In the early 2000s the band had Steve Albini record their first album titled A.D.H.D. and released it on their own Ozark Mountain Blood label. The album gained the attention of many record labels, and the band eventually signed with Dreamworks Records.
Living Things released their critically acclaimed major-label debut album Ahead of the Lions in 2005. Produced by Steve Albini, the album ranked #42 on Rolling Stone magazine's top 50 albums of the year and #31 on Spin Magazine's top 40 albums of the year. The single "Bom Bom Bom" reached Billboard's US Modern Rock and US Mainstream Rock charts. The band released their next critically acclaimed album Habeas Corpus in 2009 but claimed that their preferred version of the album had been vetoed by the record company. Reportedly, two albums worth of material recorded during the interim remains unreleased. In 2010 Lillian Berlin composed the original score for The Runaways, starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Lillian Berlin authored the book Postmortem Bliss (Apocrypha Press), describing his teenage years in which he was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, became addicted to anti-depressants. An excerpt from this book was turned into a short film directed by Floria Sigismondi and broadcast on Turner Classic Movies in November 2005.
In 2010 Living Things, released a series of three EPs recorded by Bill Skibbe and Chris Woodhouse titled Malocchio, Economic Hitmen, and Har Megiddo. Also in 2010 the band announced via Spin.com that their third album would be a "triple album" produced by Steve Albini to be released in 2011. In the summer of 2010 Living Things released a controversial video for the song "Har Megiddo," in which a man has sexual intercourse with his car. Lillian Berlin stated that Ray Kurzweil's philosophy on "singularity" was the inspiration for the video.. The band broke up in August 2010.