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Mates of State
Mates of State 2011 press photo Mountaintops.jpg
Background information
OriginLawrence, Kansas, United States
GenresIndie pop
Years active1997–present
LabelsBarsuk, Polyvinyl
Associated actsVosotros
MembersKori Gardner
Jason Hammel

Mates of State are an American indie pop duo, active since 1997.[1] The group consists 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).

As of 2015, the duo has released four EPs and seven full-length, studio albums. Their most recent album, Mountaintops, was released on September 13, 2011.


  • 1 History
  • 2 Tours and performances
  • 3 Appearances in Film & Television
  • 4 Films
  • 5 Discography
    • 5.1 Albums
    • 5.2 EPs
    • 5.3 7" Singles
    • 5.4 Other releases
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Gardner and Hammel first met in Lawrence, Kansas,[2] while both were involved in relationships with other people. Even though they exchanged e-mails regularly, they did not get together till three months later; by that time, they were both single again, and from there the two became inseparable. 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 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 relocated to Stratford, Connecticut.

Gardner and Hammel have two daughters, Magnolia, born in 2004, and June Elizabeth, born in 2008. For the band, touring became a family affair, with both daughters going on the road with their parents. Gardner kept a 'blog, Band on the Diaper Run, that appeared on In its entries, she recounted their experiences of life on the road and the unique circumstance of touring with two young children in tow.[6]

The main instruments Mates of State used in their early recordings were drums and the electric organ. Both had started out playing the guitar, but they found that they were ending up fooling around with the organ and drums in their practice space more often than with more traditional instruments. On later recordings, the band moved away from the organ-dominated sound and incorporated additional instrumentation, beginning with the EP All Day and continued on Bring It Back, their fourth studio album. 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 comprised distinct, almost disjointed movements. Both members tend to sing with great intensity, often in the upper ranges of their voices, and they often simultaneously sing different, complementary melodies and lyrics.

The band recorded one album on Omnibus Records before moving to Polyvinyl for their second and third full-length albums. In December 2005, the band signed with Barsuk Records and released two full-length albums and an EP of remixes on the label.

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 Jonathan Yi and Sam Goetz, became the official video for the song [8] and was aired on MTV on June 12, 2005. It became 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.[9] 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[10] 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 consisted entirely of their cover versions of songs previously recorded by other musical artists,[11] including "Long Way Home" by Tom Waits and "Son Et Lumiere" by The Mars Volta. Music videos were shot 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."[12]

Their most recent album, Mountaintops, was released on 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 consisted entirely of new original material.[13]

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 and, later in the year, opened for The Anniversary during the release tour for their album Your Majesty.[14]

In 2003, Mates of State toured with Palomar.[15]

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.[16] Mates of State also provided support (alongside Au Revoir Simone) for We Are Scientists on their tour of the UK in November 2006.[17]

During February and March 2007, Mates of State toured as the house band for WBEZ Chicago's This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass.[18] 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 titled "What I Learned from Television."[19] On Earth Day in 2007, Mates of State headlined the Concert for a Green Earth in Westport, Connecticut.[20]

In 2008, the team appeared again at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, in addition to performing at Lollapalooza in Chicago,[21] the All Points West Music & Arts Festival in Jersey City, and the Pemberton Music Festival in Pemberton, BC.[22] In 2009, they played at Diversafest in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Voodoo Fest in New Orleans on Halloween weekend.[23]

In 2010, they appeared on the children's television show Yo Gabba Gabba in Rochester, New York.[24]

Beginning in 2010, the band toured with backing musicians Kenji Shinagawa on guitar and John Panos on trumpet, both graduates of the University of Miami.

On February 16, 2012, the band began a 9-day tour of the East Coast at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[25]

On June 11, 2013, they joined The Postal Service's "Give Up" ten-year reunion tour at the Air Canada Theater in Toronto. The tour had stops in Boston, at the sold out Barclay's Center in Brooklyn and shows in Minnesota and Kansas City. Mates of State opened The Postal Service's last show ever on August 4, 2013 at the Metro in Chicago. It was also the official Lollpalooza closing party.

They performed two songs in conjunction with BYUtv's Studio C: "Dealbreaker" in October 2013[26] and "Kill the Whales" in May 2014.[27]


  • The Rumperbutts (2015). Lead actors, producers, and composers. Starring alongside Josh Brener, Arian Moayed, and Vanessa Ray. Distributed by Mance Media.
  • Two of Us (2004). Produced, directed, shot, and edited by Thadd Day. Released by Hooked on Sonics![30]


  • My Solo Project (Omnibus, 2000; later re-released on Polyvinyl, 2003)
  • Our Constant Concern (Polyvinyl, 2002)
  • Team Boo (Polyvinyl, 2003)
  • Bring It Back (Barsuk Records, 2006)
  • Re-Arrange Us (Barsuk Records, 2008) U.S. No. 140[31]
  • Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) (MOS Records / Constant Artists, Inc. / TuneCore, 2010)
  • Mountaintops (Barsuk, 2011)
  • Greats (Barsuk / Fierce Panda, 2015)


  • European Tour 2003 EP (Fickle Fame, 2003)
  • All Day EP (Polyvinyl, 2004)
  • Re-Arranged: Remixes Volume 1 (Barsuk, 2009)
  • You’re Going To Make It (Barsuk, 2015)

7" Singles

  • Mates of State/Fighter D Split (Omnibus, 1999)
  • "It's the Law/Invitation Inn" (Omnibus, 2000)[32]
  • "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)
  • "Staring Contest" (Barsuk / Fierce Panda, 2015)

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[33]
  • 2012 − "I am a Scientist" (Guided by Voices cover) on the compilation "Science Fair" (Spoil the Rock) [34]


  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. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Re-Arrange Us - Mates Of State". Metacritic. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Recap: Mates Of State and Black Kids at The Varsity Theater". The A.V. Club. 13 April 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Mates of State Release New CD 'Crushes' and Talks to PopMatters". PopMatters. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "ABC News Makes Awesome Low-Budget Music Video". 21 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  13. ^ "Mates of State announce new album, Mountaintops". 9 June 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Mates of State band". Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Mates of State, Ladybug Transistor and Palomar". Dallas Observer. 13 November 2003. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Death Cab For Cutie Plan Summer Tour". Alternative Addiction. 4 June 2006. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Mates Of State: "What we do isn't normal"". Drowned in Sound. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  18. ^ "Mates Of State announce unique tour". NME. 20 February 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  19. ^ "What I Learned From Television (Episode 328) Audio CD". This American Life. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  20. ^ "Music to Save the Earth". 28 April 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Metric & Mates of State add NYC show, tour dates". Brooklyn Vegan. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  23. ^ "Mates of State goes pop, Bingo! Show goes zombie". 31 October 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  24. ^ "VIDEO: Mates of State on Yo Gabba Gabba". Whale in a Cubicle. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  25. ^ "Mates of State Tour Dates". 16 January 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Mates of State - AT&T Wireless Commercial". YouTube. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  29. ^ "TV Commercial Spot - Verizon Black Friday - Early Online Deals". YouTube. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  30. ^ "Mates of State: Two of Us DVD". Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  31. ^ Billboard, Allmusic
  32. ^ "Mates of State Biography". iTunes. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  33. ^ "A.V. Club Undercover". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  34. ^ "Spare The Rock: Scientist". Spare the Rock. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 

External links

  • Official site
  • MySpace Music Profile
  • Mates of State interview at SuicideGirls
  • Mates of State live videos at
  • Mates of State interview/performance at Minnesota Public Radio
  • Mates of State in concert at NPR Music
  • Interview with the Cornell Daily Sun
  • Jonathan Yi and Sam Goetz's contest-winning video for "Goods (All in Your Head)"
  • YouTube video of AT&T wireless commercial feat. Mates of State
  • "Get Better" video on YouTube
  • "True Love Will Find You In The End" video on YouTube

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