Mates of State are back with Re-Arrange Us, coming out May 20th. Let me tell you that this girl-boy duo knows great pop music.
I first heard about them on a 2003 CMJ compilation with a little song called "Ha Ha", but I didn't think much of it. By 2006, after being signed to Barsuk Records, I remember I started seeing that distinctive "indie cover" artwork with Mates of State's husband and wife team, Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner, in a very strange half embrace.
There's some great pop tunes on Re-Arrange Us, but the song that the record label approved us to use is "My Only Offer", which I already liked so I have no problem with using this particular song. I thought the trumpet, played by Gary Olson, was a very nice addition to the song.
There's a few great songs, including, "Jigsaw", which basically has Jason repeating lyrics sung by Kori (actually, after reading the credits, it lists Ben Gibbard, from Death Cab For Cutie, as backup vocals). It's really easy to sing along, so I think this would be a great live concert pleaser. Also would play great is "Now", which has the simple, but catchy "Now now now now now now. Now now now now now now, who who who?"
I also really dug "The Re-Arranger", which is basically what the album was named after. This song sounds like it's escaped from the 60s and made a stop in the 80s, before resurfacing now.
The duo are currently doing some tour dates to promote Re-Arrange Us, so catch them if you're able. According to their official website, if you pre-order the album, it should arrive in your mailbox on the 20th, but you can usually find Barsuk records at most good record stores.
PS, apparently the band is a fan of the "Little Boxes" song (there is a live rendition on their myspace). I wonder if they got involved with the song because of Death Cab for Cutie's version or because they're also doing a theme song for Weeds?