- Mates of State
San Francisco's Mates of State are schooled in the Dressy Bessy college of cuddlecore. Helmed by the married couple of Kori Gardner (formerly a teacher) and Jason Hammel (once a cancer researcher), the duo blends cutesy male-female vocal harmonies, burbling organ, and simple beats to create sugary blasts of vintage barrette rock.
The pair started inducing cavities in 1997 while performing around Lawrence, Kansas, and released a split EP with Fighter D in 1999 before heading west and releasing a handful of EPs and their full-length debut, My Solo Project. Mates of State's last two discs, Our Constant Concern and last year's Team Boo (both on Illinois label Polyvinyl), maintain the pure pop ambitions of onetime tourmates the Anniversary and Superdrag. Concern's "Hoarding It for Home" and "Girls Singing" are mellower, almost new-wave midtempo charmers, and Gardner's torchy yowl ensures that Boo's "Fluke" and "Middle Is Gold" bop with the prickly hooks and catchy wordplay of the New Pornographers.