Mates of State

Mates of State
Mates of State
Background information
Origin Lawrence, Kansas, United States
Genres Indie 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 pop duo, active since 1997.[1] The group is composed of the husband-and-wife team of Kori Gardner (vocals, organ, synthesizer, piano, electric piano, and occasional guitar) and Jason Hammel (vocals, drums, percussion, and occasional synthesizer).

Over the course of the band's fourteen year career, they've released three EPs and six full-length, studio albums. Their seventh album Mountaintops was released on September 13, 2011.



Gardner and Hammel met in Lawrence, Kansas,[2] while both were involved in relationships with other people. Although they exchanged e-mails regularly, they didn't get together until three months later when they were both single again, and were inseparable from then on. They originally played together in a four-piece rock band called Vosotros,[3] in which they both sang and played guitar. Shortly after the couple moved to California in 1998, Gardner began teaching and Hammel applied to medical school.[4] They both opted later to devote their time to making music and touring together instead and ultimately, the two of them got married in 2001. Gardner and Hammel originally lived together in San Francisco, and in 2004 they moved to East Haven, Connecticut.[5] In February 2007, they sold their house in East Haven and are currently living in Stratford, Connecticut.

Gardner and Hammel have two daughters, Magnolia, born in 2004, and June Elizabeth, born in 2008. For the band, touring is a family affair, with both daughters going on the road with their parents. Gardner currently writes a blog, Band on the Diaper Run, that appears on In it, she recounts their experiences of life on the road and the unique circumstance of touring with two young children in tow.[6]

The main instruments used by the band in early recordings were drums and the electric organ. Although they both started out playing the guitar, they found they ended up fooling around with the organ and drums in their practice space more often than with more traditional instruments. However, in later recordings, the band moved away from their signature, organ-dominated sound and incorporated additional instrumentation. Evidence of this sound progression is first heard on the "All Day EP" and continues into "Bring It Back", their fourth studio album. Ultimately, they abandoned the organ completely on their fifth album, "Re-Arrange Us".[7]

Mates of State 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. In December 2005, the band signed with Barsuk Records and released two full-length albums and an EP of remixes on the label. Their latest album was released on their own label, MOS Records and was also produced by Gardner and Hammel themselves.

On October 11, 2004, the band held a contest for fans to create their own video for "Goods (All In Your Head)," the first track on their All Day EP. The winning entry, directed by G. J. Echternkamp, became the official video for the song and was aired on MTV on June 12, 2005. It and an all-dance video for the song, also directed by and featuring Echternkamp, are available for download in the Media section of the band's official site.

The band's fifth album, Re-Arrange Us, was released on May 20, 2008[8] and for their tour in support of the album, Mates of State became a quartet by adding Lewis and Anton Patzner of Judgement Day as multi-instrumentalists[9] to compliment the duo's sound on select songs.

On June 15, 2010, Mates of State released their sixth studio album, Crushes (The Covers Mixtape), which consists entirely of their cover versions of songs previously recorded by other musical artists,[10] including "Long Way Home" by Tom Waits and "Son Et Lumiere" by The Mars Volta. Music videos have been made for two of the songs: Nick Cave's "Love Letter" and Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You in the End." The former was directed by Daniel Garcia and the latter was produced in conjunction with ABC News for its indie rock program, "Amplified."[11]

Their most recent album, Mountaintops, was released September 13, 2011 on Barsuk, the same independent label that released two of the band's previous records, Bring It Back and Re-Arrange Us. It is comprised wholly of new original material.[12]

Tours and performances

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

In the summer of 2001, they played shows with Superdrag and Beulah & later in the year opened for The Anniversary during the release tour for their album Your Majesty.[13]

In 2003, Mates of State toured with Palomar.[14]

In 2005, Mates of State toured with Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday, and performed at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, Texas.

In 2006, Mates of State toured with Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie.[15] Mates of State also provided support (alongside Au Revoir Simone) for We Are Scientists on their tour of the UK in November 2006.[16]

During February–March 2007, Mates of State toured as the house band for WBEZ Chicago's This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass.[17] 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".[18] On Earth Day in 2007, Mates of State headlined the Concert for a Green Earth in Westport, Connecticut.[19]

In 2008, they appeared again at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, in addition to performing at Lollapalooza in Chicago,[20] the All Points West Music & Arts Festival in Jersey City, and the Pemberton Festival in Pemberton, BC.[21] In 2009, they played at Diversafest in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Voodoo Fest in New Orleans on Halloween weekend.[22]

In 2010, they appeared on the children's television show Yo Gabba Gabba in Rochester, New York.[23]

Appearances in Film & Television

Year Song Title Where Featured
2002 "Girls Singing" on an episode of Clone High
2004 "These Days" in the film, Wicker Park
2006 "California" on an episode of The O.C.
2007 "Goods (All in Your Head)" in the film, In the Land of Women
2007 "So Many Ways" on an episode of Kyle XY
2008 "For the Actor" an AT&T Wireless commercial[24]
2008 "For the Actor" a commercial for Royal Caribbean International
2008 "Now" on an episode of 90210
2008 "You Are Free" on an episode of Ugly Betty
2008 "My Only Offer" on an episode of Gossip Girl
2009 "My Only Offer" in the trailer and end credits for Best Worst Movie
2009 "My Only Offer" in an episode of One Tree Hill (TV series)
2010 "Second Hand News" on an episode of Chuck
2010 "No One Wants To Be Left Out" on an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba
2011 "Palomino" performed by the band on an episode of Late Show with David Letterman
2011 "Unless I'm Led" on an episode of Ringer


  • Two of Us (2004). Produced, directed, shot, and edited by Thadd Day. Released by Hooked on Sonics![25]




  • European Tour 2003 EP (Fickle Fame, 2003)
  • All Day EP (Polyvinyl, 2004)
  • Re-Arranged: Remixes Volume 1 (Barsuk, 2009)

7" Singles

  • Mates of State/Fighter D Split (Omnibus, 1999)
  • "It's the Law/Invitation Inn" (Omnibus, 2000)[27]
  • "Lower" (Devil in the Woods, 2001) *Note: split single with The Shins & Sparklehorse
  • "Beehive State/Über Legitimate" (Snow Globe, 2001)
  • These Days (Polyvinyl, 2002) *Note: split single with Dear Nora
  • "Fraud in the '80s" (Moshi Moshi Records|Moshi Moshi, 2006)
  • "Like U Crazy" (Moshi Moshi Records|Moshi Moshi, 2006)

Other releases

  • 2002 – "Why You Little..." on the compilation CD Ten Years of Noise Pop (Amazing Grease)
  • 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)
  • 2008 – "Little Boxes" (Malvina Reynolds cover), was recorded as theme music for an episode of Weeds but never appeared on the program
  • 2010 – "I Will Dare" (Replacements cover) is featured on The Onion's A.V. Club Undercover, with comedian Todd Barry on drums[28]


  1. ^ "Mates of State's YouTube channel". Mates of State. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mates of State bio". Polyvinyl Records. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mates of State: Two's a crowd for band mates". 22 May 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Hot Seat: Mates of State". mtvU. 4 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Mates Of State: The Sound Of Settling". Magnet. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Band on the Diaper Run". Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "Interview: Mates of State". The A.V. Club. 11 December 2008.,14342/. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "Re-Arrange Us - Mates Of State". Metacritic. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Recap: Mates Of State and Black Kids at The Varsity Theater". The A.V. Club. 13 April 2009.,26545/. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Mates of State Release New CD 'Crushes' and Talks to PopMatters". PopMatters. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "ABC News Makes Awesome Low-Budget Music Video". 21 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "Mates of State announce new album, Mountaintops". 9 June 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Mates of State band". Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  14. ^ "Mates of State, Ladybug Transistor and Palomar". Dallas Observer. 13 November 2003. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Death Cab For Cutie Plan Summer Tour". Alternative Addiction. 4 June 2006. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Mates Of State: "What we do isn't normal"". Drowned in Sound. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Mates Of State announce unique tour". NME. 20 February 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  18. ^ "What I Learned From Television (Episode 328) Audio CD". This American Life. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  19. ^ "Music to Save the Earth". 28 April 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Metric & Mates of State add NYC show, tour dates". Brooklyn Vegan. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  22. ^ "Mates of State goes pop, Bingo! Show goes zombie". 31 October 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  23. ^ "VIDEO: Mates of State on Yo Gabba Gabba". Whale in a Cubicle. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  24. ^ "Mates of State - AT&T Wireless Commercial". YouTube. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  25. ^ "Mates of State: Two of Us DVD". Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  26. ^ Billboard, Allmusic
  27. ^ "Mates of State Biography". iTunes. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  28. ^ "A.V. Club Undercover". The A.V. Club.,38881/. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 

External links

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