Mates of State – Newbury Comics, Boston Ma.

Mates of State (a.k.a. married parents of two, Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel) has been one of my all time favorites for years now. So it’s only appropriate that my first piece for PopWreck(oning) is about them.

April 19th was National Record Store Day, a nationwide event where artists showed up to local record stores across the country to show their support for the businesses that fight to keep the music scene alive and non-generic. I had the pleasure of seeing Mates of State perform a short set at Newbury Comics, a definite Boston institution. And if anyone can get a bunch of college students up for a performance at noon on a Saturday, it’s the upbeat and never pretentious Mates of State.

I stood in anticipation of the show (this was my eighth time seeing them live) while bleary eyed but excited kids gathered around as Mates of State set up their equipment in front of a wall of t-shirts from The Goonies, Reservoir Dogs and the like.

As they test the instruments, Kori tentatively asks “Should we turn the organ up?” and, as if everyone wakes up at once, there is a resounding “Yes!” from the crowd. Someone shouts, “Is that even a question?” And with that they are ready and they start into “Fraud in the 80s,” the first single from their last album Bring it Back. They follow “Fraud” with “Beautiful Dreamer” and everyone cranes forward for a good video or picture. Honestly, I wish that people would go back to just watching shows with their own two eyes, as some had their cameras out the entire set.

The third song they play is new, but one that a few recognize, having heard it on their last tour. YouTube videographers and message board participants often call the song “Now Now,” and it was truly delightful in the classic Mates of State style. They ended up playing “Goods,” “Like You Crazy,” “For The Actor” and two other new songs from their upcoming album Re-Arrange Us (out May 20th on Barsuk). I was really stoked for the new material and I wasn’t disappointed. “Get Better” sounds much more….Mates of Statesy live than it does recorded. It looks like they’ve definitely stuck to what makes them so fantastic – sweet melodies, pleasant voices and quirky lyrics – but also added a little more traditional indie rock beats and tones to their songs as well. It makes sense since they worked with talents like Jim Eno and Chris Walla for the new album.

It was most certainly an awesome set and it’s great to see that they always keep the energy up and perform with the same light heartedness and enthusiasm that they did back in their days as openers in small clubs and I can’t wait to hear all of Re-Arrange Us.

You can check out the new video for single “Get Better” from the upcoming Re-Arrange Us.

Tour Dates:
May 16 – Toad’s Place/New Haven, Connecticut
May 22 – Slims/San Francisco, California
May 24 – Les Schwab Amphitheater/Bend, Oregon
May 25 – Sasquatch Festival/Quincy, Washington
May 28 – Henry Fonda Theater/Los Angeles, California
Jun 06 – Wakarusa Festival/Lawrence, Kansas
Jul 25 – Pemberton Festival/Pemberton, British Columbia
Aug 01 – Lollapalooza/Chicago, Illinois
Aug 08 – All Points West Festival/Liberty State Park, New Jersey
Sep 26 – Austin City Limits Festival/Austin, Texas

Mates of State: website | myspace
Newbury Comics: website

-Jimmy

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