Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mates of State My Solo Project Polyvinyl Record Co. 2000

Mates of State My Solo Project Polyvinyl Record Co. 2000 CAT# PRC-061-1

So, I watched a YouTube video and finally verified that 1/2 of this band is legitimately local to Kansas, not just formed here.  Kori Gardner was born in Lawrence Memorial Hospital.  Although, she moved away at a young age, her family is rooted in Lawrence and it's well known she came back to Lawrence for college.  Her other half, Jason Hammel, is a Minnesotan, he came to Lawrence for college and left town with Kori by his side.

This is the first album the two released after they had left Lawrence for the greener pastures of California.  It's chaotic and filled with huge pop hooks.  It caught the attention of indie hipsters and the ire of many Lawrence, KS locals.  People were mad at them for leaving, despite that no one paid the two piece attention when they booked shows locally.  The couple still speaks highly of the Lawrence and have stated in interviews they contemplated moving back to raise their family.  However, at this time it appears clear the two are firmly entrenched on the East Coast with children.

To draw a parallel, this album is about a million miles away from the band's current sound.  While the pop hooks and tendencies are firmly entrenched on My Solo Project, it's built around Pixies dynamics and jumps from one idea to the next rapidly.  The band's newer recordings consist of insanely good pop songs, well thought out and relatively harmless.  My Solo Project sound bombs pop goodness at you.  The two scream back and forth at each other, basically, you're not going to hear the songs on this LP at the Gap while shopping for khakis.

It begs the question, which era of Mates of State is better?  Part of me loves the pop hits of the new albums.  But, overall, if I want something to break shit to, I'm putting this on.  I love the unpolished sounds and the rawness of it.  The bad ideas that didn't get kicked out by a flashy producer or pop smarts, those moments make this album enduring.

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