Mates of State: Wikis


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Mates of State

Background information
Origin Lawrence, Kansas, United States
Genres Indie pop
Twee pop
Years active 1997-Present
Labels Barsuk, Polyvinyl
Associated acts Vosotros
Website Official website
Kori Gardner
Jason Hammel

Mates of State are an American indie rock duo, active since 1997. The group is composed of the husband-and-wife team Kori Gardner (vocals, Yamaha Electone and Hammond B-3 electric organs, microKORG and Casio synthesizers, Yamaha and Rhodes electric pianos, piano, and occasional guitar) and Jason Hammel (vocals, drum set, glockenspiel, other percussion, and occasional Casio synthesizer).



Gardner and Hammel met in Lawrence, Kansas, while they were involved with other people and other musical projects. Although they exchanged daily e-mails, they didn't get together until three months later when they were both single again, and were inseparable from then on. The main instruments used by the band are drum set and the electric organ. Although they both started out playing the guitar, they found they ended up fooling around with the organ and the drums in their practice space more often than with more traditional instruments. They formed in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1997 while both were playing together in a four-piece rock band called Vosotros, in which they both sang and played electric guitar. Shortly thereafter moving to California, Hammel applied to medical school, but opted in 2001 to devote his time to making music and touring with Gardner. They married in 2001.

Mates of State's songs are notable for their male/female vocal harmony, shifting rhythms, and quirky song structure – most tracks comprise distinct, almost disjointed movements. Both members sing with great intensity, often in the upper ranges of their voices, and often simultaneously sing different, complementary melodies and lyrics. Tempos are nearly always fast, with beats often resembling those found in electronic club or dance music.

Kori Gardner, Stockholm 2005
Jason Hammel, Stockholm 2005

The band recorded one album on Omnibus Records before moving to Polyvinyl for their second and third full-lengths. They have also released five 7-inch singles and two EPs. In December 2005, the band signed with Barsuk Records and released an album entitled Bring It Back on March 21, 2006.

On October 11, 2004, the band held a contest for fans to create their own video for the first track on their All Day EP: "Goods (All In Your Head)." The winning entry became the official video for the song, and was aired on MTV on June 12, 2005. It and an all-dance video made by director G. J. Echternkamp are available for download in the Media section of the band's official site (below). Interestingly, there were at least two versions of the dance video, one in which Echternkamp dances alone in a room during the song and another version in which he is joined by new dancers throughout the video. The solo dance was first available for download and later replaced by the version with multiple dancers. The explanation for this can be found in the band's online forum.

Gardner and Hammel originally lived in San Francisco, California, and in 2004 they moved to East Haven, Connecticut. In February 2007, they sold their house in East Haven and are currently living in New York.[1]

"Goods (All In Your Head)" from All Day EP appeared in the 2007 film In the Land of Women.

The song "For the Actor" from the album Bring It Back is shown on an AT&T commercial for wireless phones. The group is shown on stage performing the song. "For the Actor" was also featured in a commercial for Royal Caribbean International.

The band's latest album, Re-Arrange Us, was released on May 20, 2008.[2]

According to their Twitter account[3], they are currently in the process of recording their next album which will include a cover of Long Way Home by Tom Waits

Gardner and Hammel have two daughters, Magnolia and June Elizabeth.

Tours and performances

Mates of State have performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia.

Mates of State opened for The Anniversary during the release tour for their album Your Majesty.

In 2003, Mates of State toured with Palomar.

In 2006, Mates of State toured with Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie. Mates of State have also provided support (alongside Au Revoir Simone) for We Are Scientists on their tour of the UK in November 2006.

During February–March 2007, Mates of State toured as the house band for WBEZ Chicago's This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass. Tour locations included New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Recordings of some of the band's performances during this tour were included in a 2008 episode entitled "What I Learned from Television".

On Earth Day 2007, Mates Of State headlined the Concert for a Green Earth in Westport, Connecticut.

On their 2008 tour, Mates of State became a quartet by adding Lewis and Anton Patzner of Judgement Day as multi-instrumentalists to complement the duo's sound on select songs. In 2008, they performed at Lollapalooza in Chicago. In 2009, they played at Diversafest in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mates of State are confirmed to play the 2009 Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans on the Halloween weekend. [4]


  • Two of Us (2004). Produced, directed, shot, and edited by Thadd Day. Released by Hooked on Sonics!




7" Singles

  • Mates of State/Fighter D Split (Omnibus, 1999)
  • Mates of State (Omnibus, 2000)
  • "Lower" (Devil in the Woods, 2001) (Note: split single with The Shins & Sparklehorse)
  • "Beehive State/Über Legitimate" (Snow Globe, 2001)
  • Mates of State/Dear Nora Split (Polyvinyl, 2002)
  • "Fraud in the '80s" (Moshi Moshi, 2006)
  • "Like U Crazy" (Moshi Moshi, 2006)

Other releases

  • 2002 - "Why You Little..." on the compilation CD Ten Years of Noise Pop (Amazing Grease)
  • 2004 - "These Days" (Jackson Browne cover) on the Wicker Park soundtrack (MGM)
  • 2005 - "Invitation Inn" on the compilation A House Full of Friends (Magic Marker)
  • 2006 - "California" (Phantom Planet cover) on the compilation Music from the OC: Mix 6 (WEA)
  • 2006 - "Popular Mistakes" on the compilation This is a Care Package (Exotic Fever)
  • 2007 - "Jellyman Kelly" (James Taylor cover) on the compilation For The Kids III (RCA)
  • 2007 - "So Many Ways" Soundtrack & used as theme music for an episode of Kyle XY. Released May 22, 2007 by MySpace Records.
  • 2008 - "Little Boxes" (Malvina Reynolds), Recorded as theme music for an episode of Weeds, but not used by the program.


External links

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