Mates of State, an indie-pop duo composed of married couple Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, are one of those bands I’ve been aware of for years but never listened to until recently. After giving the duo’s new album, “Re-arrange Us,” a few spins, I think they might just become one of my favorite bands. And they have four older albums I can pick up whenever I want!
I’ve been a big fan of fellow indie-poppers The New Pornographers for several years, and I think the two bands have a lot in common in their sound: Male/female vocals, sugary sweet hooks and frequently frantic instrumentation. Mates of State seem a little bit more DIY (Do It Yourself) than The New Pornographers, though, since they only have two members (Kori sings and plays keyboards, Jason sings and plays drums) and prefer a slightly punkier sound.
Aside from Mates of State’s music, Kori and Jason just seem like the cutest and coolest couple around. They have two daughters, Magnolia and June, who tour with them on the road. They started out in the heart of the Midwest (Lawrence, Kan.) and now live in New York. I guess I just like the idea that if Mates of State could do it, there’s no reason why my wife and I couldn’t also form a band and tour the world. Aside from the fact that we don’t have any musical talent, of course.
Check out two Mates of State videos below. The first is for “Get Better” from the new album. The song is great, and the video, featuring people in animal masks, is funny and creepy at the same time. The second video is for “Fraud in the ’80s” from the group’s 2006 album, “Bring It Back.” It better captures what Mates of State are all about.
Visit Mates of State’s MySpace page to hear even more songs.
What do you think of Mates of State?