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Backstage: Performing with two is better than one

Friday - 12/7/2012, 8:26am  ET

Mates of State will perform Friday at the Rock N Roll Hotel in D.C. (Courtesy of Nick Gordon)

Tim Bracken,

WASHINGTON - This weekend's top concert picks include two pairs of musical duos.

Husband and wife duo Mates of State will perform Friday at the Rock N Roll Hotel in northeast D.C. at 8 p.m.

Originally formed in 1997, the duo consists of multi-instrumentalists Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel.

The band's most recent album, "Mountaintops," plays out like a pop history checklist. Expect to hear a healthy dose of 1980s-inspired synth sounds paired with 1960s-style pop, lots of harmonies and some endearing ballads.

"Mountaintops" could be the band's most commercial effort to date, but it retains the playful and profound qualities that hardcore fans embrace.

Watch the video for "Palomino" below:

D.C.-based Vandaveer inhabits the world of alternative-folk, smartly showcasing the strengths of Mark Charles Heidinger's guitar playing and Rose Guerin's powerful vocal harmonies.

Vandaveer is scheduled to perform Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at IOTA Club and Café in Arlington, Va.

Vandaveer's latest effort, "Dig Down Deep," is alternately wistful and hopeful. The almost constant vocal interplay between Heidinger and Guerin is riveting.

The title track evokes classic folk, complete with foot stomping and handclaps. The song gradually builds over Heidinger's acoustic guitar, eventually leading to a chorus that is satisfyingly grandiose.

Listen to "Dig Down Deep":

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