Manic Productions Presents
Mates of State
PAWS, Modern Merchant
295 Treadwell Street
Hamden, CT, 06514
This event is 21 and over
Mates of State
"Mates of State have made a new album called "Mountaintops." You already love Jason and Kori's unmistakable music, or perhaps you've managed to miss out or have simply misunderstood just how great -- and yes, influential -- they and their sound and their songs are. You throw the record on the stereo and the first thing you notice is the energy and force of it: You could use the girl-group bounce of 'Total Serendipity' to help you do some sort of running-and-jumping-up-and-down exercise (that song even comes complete with a couple of cool-down sections). The first response you might have to 'Maracas' is to do the robot dance as the portamento Laser Cats intro kicks in, and that might be the correct response.
Go slightly deeper and you find the song-craft. You find that Kori is one of the best female singers in modern music (and Jason is also no slouch). You notice the effortless way their voices harmonize and volley back and forth, the movements within the song, the way they move from upbeat to pastoral so fluidly that you don't perceive it happening. Their instruments and voices all move as one piece, inseparable. Through the years, the textures have become more intricate, deeper. They've begun throwing in the occasional trumpet or guitar, but it is still stunning how much they can do with just keyboards and drums. They move so far within the limitations of the two-piece format that you can't even call it a limitation. It feels as natural as the standard rock-and-roll four-piece.
Songs like 'Unless I'm Led' or 'Mistakes' are like a conversation between the two of them as they are going to sleep, when words suddenly come to them, and it is all teetering on the edge of sense. Much has been written about Mates Of State that gloms on to the fact that Jason and Kori are beautiful people in love, with two beautiful daughters. I, too, was once bewitched by their good looks but then I stopped looking at the pin-ups on my wall and started listening to their records. All of the big ideas come to the surface: hope, grief, regret, gratitude, fate, the inevitability of change, the redemption of change, not carrying around the garbage of the past. There is a melancholy to much of their music that is sometimes ignored, and that often marks some of their best moments, like 'Mistakes' and 'Desire'.
Switching between the melancholy and buoyantly hopeful is another specialty of theirs, one that they really nail on "Mountaintops" -- the perfect family reminding us it is always a struggle to be happy, no matter where you are in life. The album title comes from an old Zen tale where a monk's philosophical advice is to always aim for Cold Mountain, the eye always staying on the mountaintop, reaching it just to see the next mountaintop. You hear that throughout these songs: Kori and Jason traveling hopefully, knowing that the struggle and striving are probably the point of the whole thing. Sometimes it is as clear as the titles, with the three-song punch of 'Desire','Change' and 'Mistakes' that ends the album. The whole thing is so focused that it unfolds like one long piece, like an album should.
I know I have to be careful of what I write here, because it may be repeated to Jason and Kori a few hundred times, but I hear a lot of ABBA in their songs. Like ABBA, they write sophisticated boy-girl pop performed so flawlessly that you think it must be easy (but it's not easy). I hear some of the early work of Giorgio Moroder, and I hear some of the more timeless 80s pop, like 'This Is The Day' by The The. I hear some classic Kirsty MacColl in 'Sway'. I hear some of Nick Lowe's effortless appropriation of classic pop forms. Sometimes I hear the Valley Girl soundtrack, one of my all-time favorites, in a song like 'Basement Money.' 'Desire' could have been a big hit for The Carpenters. They touch on so much of what has been great in the last 50 years of pop music, all viewed through the Mates of State filter. Most of all, they have actually built their own sound. They sound like themselves. I hear 'Palomino' and it sounds like quintessential Mates of State. Sometimes I hear a new band and think 'What a Mates Of State rip-off!' They have been carving out their place in the indie rock world since the late 90s, as two people playing complex songs that sound like five people playing a simple song. That is what the great ones can do." - AC Newman
2012 has been a very important year for PAWS.
It's seen the band sign with Brooklyn/Brighton based label FatCat Records and tour the UK and Europe extensively. Their first release on the label in May, the self recorded/produced "Misled Youth EP" was supported by a run of UK shows opening for L.A's Bleached (ex Mika Miko sisters Jen and Jess Clavin). Key shows at Brighton's Great Escape Festival, Beacons Festival and appearances at Vice Issue Launch parties in London and Brighton were met with great success to audiences welcoming PAWS with open arms.
At the beginning of the year the boys recorded their debut L.P "Cokefloat!" at the Lightship95 Studio in London with Rory Attwell (ex-Test Icicles) and was released worldwide in October 2012. Singles from the album have enjoyed lots of support from influential UK radio dj's, receiving plentiful airplay by BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe, a session on BBC 6 Music's Lauren Laverne, as well as ‘Sore Tummy’ being play-listed on BBC6. Into Autumn and the Canadian punk duo Japandroids invited PAWS to join them on their European tour and shortly after that, their UK tour. The tour saw PAWS play to their biggest audiences to date, including a sold out show at London's Heaven Nightclub. After the release of the album the band celebrated by heading straight back out on their first headline UK tour. Rammed out shows at Glasgow's CCA and East London's Shacklewell arms were important highlights for the trio.
In the later half of 2012, "Cokefloat!" has received support from music media worldwide including features from people like SPIN Magazine, MTV, KEXP Radio, Brooklyn Vegan and Pitchfork. PAWS' music has even appeared on more than one occasion on the cult West London based television series, "Made In Chelsea". The band are now preparing for their first visit to the U.S in Early 2013 after another headline UK tour in late February. Plans for a limited edition 7" release including two brand new home recorded tracks and a cover version are in the works to celebrate their first visit to The United States.
PAWS go into 2013 bright eyed and busy tailed ready to take on new challenges and bring their music to new places that they haven't had a chance to yet.
Party on Wayne. Party on Garth.
Modern Merchant is a four piece psychedelic dream-rock band, half based out of New Haven, CT and half Brooklyn, NY. The haunting melodies, layered harmonies and swift dynamic shifts will leave you a bit dazed and glassy-eyed.
Their three song EP "arrival by sea" features drummer Sydney Weiss and guitarist John Parson. The full band now includes instrumentalist Jesse Stanford (Heirlooms) and bassist Mike Skaggs (Sidewalk Dave).
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