Mates of State is one of the few bands I can actually say I knew about before they were really popular. Long, long, ago (like, 5 years ago!), I stumbled onto an Internet radio station called Spacelab Transmissions that played a lot of Stereolab and Pizzicato Five, and so I started listening to it regularly. As it happens, they also played a lot of great music by other groups that I knew little or nothing about, like Apples in Stereo and Ladytron, and introduced the word “indiepop” into my vocabulary.

Along the way, they also introduced me to a duet in San Francisco that played drums and a clunky-sounding analog keyboard, and sang the living hell out of their lyrics. Flash forward a few years, and Mates of State have received enough buzz nationwide that I can get their CDs at my local record store instead of having to order them over the Internet or trawl stores while on west-coast trips. Their formula hasn’t changed, though, and that’s a good thing, because their music is some of the best around.

Mates of State’s latest EP, All Day, reads like a Cliff’s Notes of their sound. “Goods (All in Your Head)” gets right into it, the drums and keyboards rattling along as the vocals of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel propel you forward; it’s like that time when you were a kid and climbed into the shopping cart while your friends pushed as hard as they could, and it was such a rush — except that the song skips the part where you hit the curb and tumble out and get totally scraped up. On “Along for the Ride,” the “you” in the lyrics is less about you the listener and more about them: most of the married couple’s songs aren’t just sung together, they’re sung to each other, half duet, half duel, as they map out all the little pleasures and irritations of their relationship. “Drop and Anchor” starts out as a little piano ballad, but Gardner and Hammel’s voices can’t really be contained in a quiet slow song, and they’re soon bursting out all over.

The last track is a cover of David Bowie’s “Starman;” the duo takes Bowie’s spaced-out, ziggy-stardusty lyrics and makes them their own, flooding your ears with the fullness of their sound, taking flight on a rocket of pure joy and love. I cannot believe I just wrote that last sentence without any sarcasm, but there’s just no getting around it: Mates of State makes joyous, full-throated, big-hearted music, and it’s a wonderful thing to hear.