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Mates of State

Kori Gardner (keyboard/vocals) and Jason Hammel (drums/vocals) were both playing guitar and singing in the Kansas music metropolis of Lawrence before forming the Mates of State in 1997. With their dual vocal harmonies and minimalist pop appeal, Omnibus Records released Mates of State's first EP as a split with Fighter D in 1999. Upon a relocation to San Francisco, the duo's second EP, It's the Law/Invitation Inn, and a debut studio effort, My Solo Project, followed in 2000. Tours of the Midwest followed into the next year and creative ideas continued to swirl. Hammel and Gardner, who were married in early 2001, inked themselves a deal with Polyvinyl prior to recording a follow-up. Summer days were spent playing shows with Superdrag, the Anniversary, and Beulah while writing songs on the road. Those sessions led to the second album, Our Constant Concern, in 2002. Polyvinyl reissued their debut album, My Solo Project, the next spring, followed by the full-length Team Boo. After their contract was up with Polyvinyl (ending with the 2004 EP All Day), Mates of State decided to head over to Barsuk, the label that released Bring It Back in 2006 and Re-Arrange Us in 2008. Crushes: The Covers Mixtape arrived two years later; meanwhile, Gardner and Hammel were working on the follow-up to Re-Arrange Us, recording in six different studios over the course of 18 months. The duo collaborated with mixer Chris Coady on the final result, 2011's Mountaintops.
Mike DaRonco, Rovi