Mates of State: "Fluke" Video
Mates of State is the organ and drums, vocal-laden duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel. Formed in the nation's heartland December 1997, their infectious songs and long-standing motto of play anywhere, anytime has earned them a legion of fans from coast to coast and everywhere else in between. After years of playing in countless bands (nearly twenty between the two of them), Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel finally realized the ease of playing with only one other person. Ditching their guitars for just an organ and drum set, the trick now was getting two people to sound like a full band. With the two instruments, they added call and response vocal melodies and harmonies to create a sound unique in its immenseness. An open-mic was scheduled and tensions ran high as they began to question their untraditional arrangement. Afterwards, they realized it didn't matter. Mates of State possibly played six times in Lawrence, Kansas before packing it in and driving to California in August 1998 where the band would release "Leave Me at the Tree" with Fighter D as a split 7" on Omnibus Records. After eight months in the suburbs, the band moved to San Francisco proper and Omnibus released two additional songs, "It's the Law" and "Invitation Inn," as a separate 7". Mates of State spent 1999 touring throughout the West Coast, playing consistently in California and solidifying their position in San Francisco's burgeoning pop scene. In April of 2000, the band chanced upon engineer John Croslin (Beulah, Spoon, Guided By Voices) whose reserved but confident knowledge immediately attracted the band. The same day, Mates of State scheduled studio time. The Croslin sessions resulted in their debut album My Solo Project, 12 tracks of unconventional pop appeal. Instantly, critical acclaim poured forth from fanzines, periodicals, and dailies such as the San Francisco Bay Guardian and New York Times (who included the album in their "10 worthwhile albums you may have missed in 2000"). A Midwest tour with longtime friends Appleseed Cast was quickly put together and followed by yet another string of shows up and down the West Coast. July 2001 saw Mates of State signing with Polyvinyl, and a month later they re-entered the studio to record their second album, this time with engineer Dave Trumfio (Butterglory, Dianogah, Wilco) behind the board. The band closed out the year by landing large tours alongside Beulah and Mars Volta. Their second full-length Our Constant Concern, was released in January 2002 and the tour machine was once again placed in motion. And what a machine it was. Unparalled by any band in Polyvinyl's history, not even Braid could come close to Mates' four national tours, three international tours, and the 200 plus shows they played in support of the album. Mates of State greeted 2003 with two new releases. The first was a split 7" with longtime friends Dear Nora which featured Mates' haunting rendition of Jackson Browne's "These Days." The latter was their next full-length Team Boo which was released September 2003. Now on their third album, the band discovered the perfect studio environment for their unique blend of vintage Yamaha organ, Gretch Round Badge drums, off-kilter harmonies, and the dynamism that holds it all together. The album was recorded and mixed over three weeks at both The Garage and Willie Nelson's Pedernales studios. Manning the knobs were John Croslin (My Solo Project) and Spoon's Jim Eno. Incredibly infectious, Team Boo was immediately embraced by college radio as the band toured with friends Victory at Sea, The Thermals, and Death Cab for Cutie. Mates of State fans have a lot to look forward to in 2004. Another tour is currently in the works that will take the band through the United States, out to Hawaii and up north through Canada. A DVD documentary is in the works. And who knows, another 7" or EP may be down the line.
Mates of State is the husband/wife duo of Kori Gardner (organ, vox) and Jason Hammel (drums, vox). They quit their day jobs (teacher and cancer researcher) in 2001, got married, and hit the road bringing their love to the rest of the world. The Mates have released three full lengths, "My Solo Project," "Our Constant Concern," and "Team Boo," as well as numerous singles and EPs, most recently last year's "All Day" EP. Mates of State has been described by critics as "unabashed joy," "honesty at its best," a "two piece with balls," and "a band that you must see live." Their first record was listed in the "New York Times" as one of the best records you probably didn't hear in 2000. Their live show has amassed a reputation worldwide as a uniquely joyous experience--capacity crowds smiling, dancing, and singing along with every word. Mates of State's unique, often complex and always catchy pop gems defy genre boundaries. Though a duo, they never fail to generate an abundance of melody and harmony via monster, bass-heavy organ, creative drumming, and alternately lushly layered and playfully dueling vocals.
A fiddle player since the age of 5, Ryan Shupe first worked as part of a group at 10 years old when his dad brought together a bunch of talented kids to play in a band. He joined various types of musical groups in his teens and in college, only to be disappointed to see them break up just as they seemed to be in a groove. He decided to start his own band that would not break up and called it the RubberBand, because it was meant to be elastic. He brought in the players he needed but only when he needed them. (There might be just one other musician sharing the stage with him or there might be four others.) The lineup changed constantly until, without even trying to make it happen, the membership jelled. As of 2005, the members included Roger Archibald (guitar, vocals), Colin Botts (bass, vocals), Craig Miner (banjo, bouzouki, guitar, mandolin and vocals), Bart Olson (drums) and Shupe (lead vocals, fiddle, mandolin and guitar). The band's influences include such diverse performers as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, the Police, AC/DC and Bela Fleck. Most have dabbled with a number of different instruments, and all have been playing since they were kids. Shupe is the group's principal songwriter.
Jason From The Lake sound like no-fi surf goth and look like Jarvis Cocker stalkers with a restraining order. Subversive drum machine? Check. Spacey drone guitars? Check. Mumblecore vocal delivery? Check. Fantastic melodies and precisely controlled songcraft? Absolutely. Think a big city. Think a small country. Jason From The Lake are named after a horror film and they are horrifyingly good.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Decibully is a band's band. Featuring numerous multi-instrumentalists and having earned a strong reputation for their live performances, Decibully brandishes a wide variety of influences, mixing a rich blend of finely interspersed layers tinged with country-esque flourishes, subtle electronic twinges, and rockist undertones. Formed as a trio in Fall 2001 by William J. Seidel (vocals, guitar, percussion, Rhodes), guitarist W. Kenneth Siebert and keyboardist Nick Westfahl, the group soon added Ryan Weber (lap steel, synths, guitar, percussion), bassist Justin Klug, and drummer Jason Gnewikow to further round out their sound. Decibully spent the rest of 2001-02 practicing when time could be found, touring and self-releasing their debut album You Might Be A Winner, You May Be A Loser, But You'll Always Be A Gambler. When Gnewikow moved to New York, he was replaced on drums by Aaron Vold. At the same time, banjo player Eric Holliday joined the band. Following a successful January 2003 tour, Decibully returned to the studio to begin working on their second full-length, the tentatively-titled When We Learned How To Dance. In late May 2003 Westfahl was replaced by Nicholas Sanborn on keyboards and the band began looking for a label. Prior to Decibully, Seidel and Weber were founding members of Camden. In 1999, Camden recorded demos with Chris Rosenau, guitarist for Pele and Collections of Colonies of Bees. Based on their prior relationship and having seen Decibully live numerous times, Rosenau contacted Polyvinyl Records via a two o'clock in the morning phone message lauding the band. A few days later, an unmastered, incomplete version of the album arrived by mail. Band and label began talking and, following a return to the studio, the album was released as City of Festivals on October 14, 2003 followed by a self-booked national tour and an appearance at Polyvinyl's 2003 CMJ Showcase. With nearly a hundred shows played in support of City of Festivals, Decibully again returned to the studio to begin recording their follow-up album to the Polyvinyl debut. City of Festivals had been a mix of different songs written while the band was undergoing personnel changes. A little over half the songs had been written before the band became the solidified line-up that toured in support of City of Festivals. From the initial roughs sent to Polyvinyl, it was obvious the dividends from touring were paying off in the studio. Sing Out America! (scheduled for release March 8, 2005), Decibully's third album, is the first one to be written entirely by the band as a cohesive septet from start to finish. Although more stylistically varied than previous albums, the continuity of Sing Out America! reflects the consistency that can only be found by a band spending so much time on the road together. Sing Out America! is the most representative work the band has turned in to date, bringing their recorded output in step with their live show.
THE ADORED combine elements of discopunk, new wave, and pure power pop to create an intelligent yet catchy, different yet danceable sound. Inspired by the likes of The Clash, The Jam, and Blur, scenepointblank.com calls them Garagey, catchy, and as much as I hate the word, sassy. The Adored were born when four best friends and bon vivants joined up to make spiky party music. What came out draws from the more angular elements of early punk & postpunk and the less pompous elements of fin-de-siecle Britpop. Ryan (vocals) and Nat (drums) met in the mid-90s in NorCal and both played with a locally legendary punk band before moving southward. Max (bass) and Drew (guitar) met as students in Boston, studying media, all the while dreaming of a Los Angeles pop life. The four finally came together in LA and never looked back. So far, their adventures as Hollywood golden boys have included shows with eclectic artists new and old like Supergrass, The Zombies, Ima Robot, Bow Wow Wow, The Futureheads and Les Sav Fav. The Adored have also performed at parties hosted by members of buzz bands Mount Sims, Interpol and the Moving Units. The band has also appeared in clips on the UK?s Channel Four and Southern California?s Fox 11 ---as the current LA ?it band?! With mentions in the NME, the California press, and a grassroots network of blogs and webzines have all helped build an international fan base for the Adored. Again and again, they have performed in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Californias beach counties, bringing their music to grateful, music starved suburban scenesters and leaving their mark on the West Coast. The boys finished a successful 4-night mini-tour to New York City this spring and a weekly residency at Sunset Strips KEY CLUB. Following a 4-song demo in 2003, the Adored recorded a 5-song EP for V2 Records in fall 2004, with producer Dave Trumfio and a special guest vocalist friend and mutual fan Pete Shelley [Buzzcocks]. Due in stores January 2005. These 2004 LA WEEKLY MUSIC AWARDS BEST DANCE ARTIST nominees deceptively simple lineup of guitars, drums and three vocals help the four lovely lads produce a rhythm unique to the California scene -- the first stage in their plan to induce global simultaneous Adorgasm.
"Drummer Needed," written and directed by John Dole, follows the plight of an alien who plays drums in a rock and roll band.
Sitting in the back room of their Deptford hotel, Athlete are trying to explain the development their sound has made on "Tourist," the quartets marvelous second album. "The last album was quirky pop. And it was good quirky pop..." says bandmember Stephen Roberts (drums and vocals), no doubt to the agreement of the 250,000 fans who bought 2004's "Vehicles and Animals" and the judging panel that shortlisted it for the Mercury Award, "but we wanted to push ourselves further." "We'll always love good melodies," agrees bandmember Joel Pott (guitar and vocals). "But pop in itself wasn't enough for this record." The two other members of the band are Carey Willetts (bass and vocals) and Tim Wanstall (keyboards and vocals).
Enon is a band from Brooklyn and Philadelphia. John Schmersal (guitar, bass, synths, vocals), Toko Yasuda (bass, synths, vocals) and Matt Schulz (drums) have all been in a bunch of bands, and are still in a bunch of bands. But all that doesn't really matter, right? What does matter is that these three, together, are Enon, always, and they're always amazing.
Longtime musical collaborators Kyle Fischer (guitar, vocals) and William Kuehn (drums) began writing a new batch of songs in the late summer of 1995, thinking they lacked only a bassist. When they found Caithlin De Marrais (vocals, bass), they knew they had found a uniquely captivating voice to front the band as well. Fischer and Kuehn had met at all-ages shows in Madison, Wisconsin, where Kuehn was cajoled into replacing Fischer on the drums in Ezra Pound (with Matt Tennessen of Pele). Fischer switched to guitar, and the two departed together a year later in search of broader sonic horizons. Meanwhile, Fischer had met De Marrais in a University of Wisconsin poetry workshop where the two had organized extra evening sessions of the class and soon found they were the only ones attending. Here they wrote the poems that would later become songs on the band's first album. Rainer Maria's various releases began mapping their trajectory. The original demo cassette, a run of 350 now long out of print, documents the excited initial efforts of a band just 6 weeks old. Their debut self-titled EP appeared on Polyvinyl as a result of the experience of early tours, playing house shows or all ages "spaces" from Austin TX to Kent OH, even a double-wide house trailer in rural Mississippi packed with 100 melting kids. With the "New York, 1955" single, the band began experimenting with what happened when they turned the volume down. Past Worn Searching signaled the beginning of Rainer Maria as a full-time band. Recorded at the sweltering hot, now defunct Ghetto Love studios in Chicago during Summer 1997, Past Worn Searching and its stripped-down production ushered the full arrival of dueling vocals, sonic excess, and youthful exuberance. That fall, Rainer Maria toured the entire continental U.S. for the first time--more than 50 shows booked by Kuehn himself, including a west coast tour with Braid. The band?s second LP, Look Now Look Again, was released in April 1999 to the open arms of fans and critics alike. Look Now Look Again climbed to 19 on CMJ?s top 200 and spent 16 weeks on the charts. Stellar reviews and write-ups appeared in The New York Times, Alternative Press, Magnet, CMJ, and The Village Voice to name a few. Rainer Maria appeared in Spin three times in the latter half of 1999 and Look Now Look Again was named one of the magazine?s 20 best records of the year. The band would go on that year to record and release Atlantic, a three-song CDEP recorded at Pachyderm Studios (P.J. Harvey, In Utero) in August. Just days later, they band relocated to the East Coast. Rainer Maria then spent the better part of a year holed up in a converted cow barn, the previous home of Pepperidge Farm Bakery?s original dairy farmer. There, they wrote their third and most ambitious album, A Better Version of Me, which was released in January 2001. The album hit the #1 spot on CMJ and was supported by a relentless tour schedule of over 200 shows. Fall 2002 the band again returned the studio to record Long Knives Drawn, their fourth album. As a teaser, the Ears Ring EP appeared early November 2002 and was the band's first new material in over a year-and-a-half. Two months later Long Knives Drawn was released and the band embarked on a two month tour with Mates of State followed by a mini-tour in Canada, and then a tour with Denali. Next up for Rainer Maria is a three week tour with Coheed and Cambria in support of their newest release, Anyone in Love with You (Already Knows) , a DVD of their 3/11/03 Cat's Cradle show filmed by members of Bifocal Media (Braid Killing a Camera, Michigan Fest 2002) which includes a bonus audio CD featuring selected various live tracks the band has been accumulating over the years. Anyone in Love with You (Already Knows) will be released on March 9, 2004.