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Mates Of State: Rock After Children

An indie-rock up-and-comer with five full-length albums, the married duo of Kori Gardner Hammel and Jason Hammel performs as Mates of State. Between the band's last album, Bring It Back, and its latest, Re-Arrange Us, the Hammels have seen many changes. Their more relaxed sound substitutes an organ for a piano, while their more family-oriented touring schedule accommodates their two young children, who generally hit the road with them.

"You can have kids and still play rock 'n' roll," Kori explained to KUT's Jay Trachtenberg when the duo came into play in Studio 1A. Though based in New York City, the Hammels know Austin well, having recorded in the city and played its many music festivals. Selections from Team Boo were recorded in Austin, and the band returned again for Re-Arrange Us, teaming up with Spoon's Jim Eno.

Mates of State's subtle sound alterations have been applauded by critics and slowly welcomed by old fans. In between live songs that utilize the unique call-and-response that has made the band so popular, the Hammels describe not only a desire to try something new, but also the necessity to progress musically. When asked what they thought of the criticism that the duo has abandoned the sound that helped define a genre, drummer Jason explained that it was time for Mates of State's sound to head in a new direction. In that moment, they defined their current place in music — a more sophisticated sound, a more mature outlook on their music, and an ability to look beyond the past when deciding their future. As the interview ended and the children were welcomed back into the studio to greet their parents, it all made a whole lot of sense.

Originally recorded June 24, 2008.

Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.

Copyright 2008 KUT 90.5

Patrick Dentler