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Mates of State

The San Francisco-by-way-of-Lawrence, Kansas duo known as Mates of State make buoyant, exuberant pop songs that quiver with the couple's love for one another. He is Jason Hammel and he plays the drums. She is Kori Gardner and she plays the keyboards. They both sing, loudly and without shame, often together, about their relationship. It appears to be an open book. Their treacly, though often peculiar harmonies surf a sea of squirting new wave synths and simple percussion rhythms. It's minimalist pop, to be sure, but that has its appeal.

The musical and real-life Mates had been playing guitars in different bands back home in Lawrence for years when they got started. In 1998, they decided to quit their day jobs and move to San Francisco. Their debut, My Solo Project, followed in 2000 and a year after that, wedding bells rang for the happy pair. In 2001 they toured relentlessly with the likes of Beulah, The Anniversary, and Superdrag, writing the material for their second album as they went. Their sophomore effort, Our Constant Concern, came out on Polyvinyl Records in 2002.