Song of the Day: Mates of State - Palomino

photo by Glynis Arban

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today‚Äôs selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Palomino” by Mates of State from their 2011 release Mountaintops on Barsuk.

Mates of State - Palomino (MP3)

Husband and wife duo Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner quit their day jobs 10 years ago to pursue a dream of playing in a band. Moving from Lawrence, Kansas to San Francisco, the two ditched their guitars for keys and drums, and in 2001 they married and life became a series of record, tour, record some more, and rear two children. Now, Mates of State, currently residing in Connecticut, are still easily recognizable by their vocal harmonies - sort of off-kilter, yet dynamically playing off another against quirky rhythm patterns and shout-singing, take their kids on the road along with a tour nanny, and continue to fly in the face of convention and be the paramount to indie-rock couples worldwide.

The joyous, and landscaping opening track of “Palomino,” takes on the great burden of setting a tone for a great album and lends to the anticipation of continuing that sense of energy throughout. Mountaintops, their seventh full-length album, is rife with deeply personal, open-book lyrics. If music is a form of expression, then Gardner and Hammel deal with everyday life through it -and share it with the rest of the world. It doesn’t seem to stray far from what’s really going on, either. Gardner continually shares the load of actively touring and worrying that her kids are well-adjusted via her blog.

The current tour is looking mighty in the Midwest and Southeast, but if you’re not in those necks of the woods, be sure to check for future tour dates on their website, Facebook or MySpace page frequently, as Mountaintops is sure to keep the duo busy. In the meantime, enjoy the official video for today’s song, featuring a rotoscoped Gardner, Hammel, and daughters:

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