mr. Gnome | mr. Gnome

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mr. Gnome

by mr. Gnome

"Mr. Gnome's self-titled second release is one helluva big, sexy record. An offbeat fusion of stoner metal and trip-hop that could boil blood. Beat barrages explode unannounced as quiet oblivion ends in sudden full-frontal assaults." ~Scene Magazine
Genre: Rock: Hard Rock
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1. Truffle Shuffle
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3:46 $0.99
2. Barb's Revenge
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3. Chunk of Spine Fur
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4. Dr. Cakorkian
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5. Long Three Years
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
mr. Gnome's second EP has been described in the musical press as "a definitively bipolar Massive Attack, with a whisper-to-shout, gentle-femininity-to-testosterone-rage." “With catchy guitar riffs, layered chords and an inimitable punch-draw approach to their music, this two-piece experiment is quickly becoming known for its chaotic sound that explores unpredictable shades of violence and intensity.” "Like Tool, Mr. Gnome creates a new brand of raging Psychedelic Rock for a generation of Metal, Indie and Prog fans."


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CityBeat

mr. Gnome: mr. Gnome
By far one of the more unique and inventive bands in Ohio, Mr. Gnome got its start just two years ago. Thanks to the originality and creativity of their sound (displayed on their debut five-song EP, Echoes on the Ground, released last year), the twosome has already earned plenty of press attention and radio airplay in North America.

The CD that the band is promoting on their current tour is another five-song EP, a self-titled affair, and looks to drive up the duo's profile even more. The disc picks up where Echoes left off, pimping an even more diverse and imaginative collection of tracks that utilize elements of Metal, Post Punk, AltRock, Indie and Prog, but land in a realm of their own making. It might seem odd that Mr. Gnome has yet to release a full-length, instead debuting with two EPs. That is, until you hear the songwriting. There are so many things going on within one Mr. Gnome song (thrilling structural shifts, spontaneous-sounding sonic bursts, high-ceilinged vocals, air-tight, artistic drum parts) that listening to five actually feels more like a full-length album than most legit ones. The band has been called "Math Rock" at times, but their sound is way too propulsive and fiery to make that an accurate portrayal. Despite the smart progressiveness, Mr. Gnome's music doesn't come off as being overly thought-out and picked over, coming more from the gut than the brain.

Singer/guitarist Nicole Barille is a genuine "double threat," her amazing vocals possessing old-soul urgency and passion (her voice is similar to Heartless Bastards' Erika Wennerstrom's in that respect), while her guitar attack is robust and noisy, but also exact, inspired and commanding. Drummer Sam Meister is the secret weapon of Mr. Gnome, his zigzag playing as precise as a machine, but also as musical as any other instrument. Combined together, they make for a deep, exhilarating listen.

The new EP's opener, "Truffle Shuffle" begins with a schizoid grind that wouldn't have been out of place on an Industrial track, featuring a few ear-sucking, stop-on-a-dime moments before shifting tempos for slinkier, soaring choruses and a feedback-drenched, primal, sludgy outro. On the closing cut, Barille unravels a trippy, echoing riff that Jimmy Page might have played back in the day during an extended "No Quarter"; Meister's drums creep in with a jazzy shuffle before the two lock together again on some slashing, syncopated chords. Like Tool, Mr. Gnome creates a new brand of raging Psychedelic Rock for a generation of Metal, Indie and Prog fans. (Mike Breen)

Cool Cleveland

mr. Gnome: mr. Gnome
Mr. Gnome's debut release Echoes on the Ground was an epic-sounding EP -- a Titanic sonic battle of the masculine and feminine, an apocalyptic dirge crackling with electricity and engorged with prog-rock metallics. Vocalist/guitarist Nicole Barille and drummer Sam Meister brought forth a sound as ferocious and unapologetic as it was courageous for a duo to pull off... like Black Sabbath fronted by a breathy Fiona Apple.

Apart from Barille occasionally veering into PJ Harvey/Ani DiFranco territory with her vocal histrionics this time out, consider their self-titled follow-up EP Mr. Gnome an equally-brilliant second helping. This duo continues to push the sonic envelope, incorporating "math-rock" elements, baroque bohemianism, off-beat time signatures and melodic psychedelics into one defiantly mysterious apparition. Mr. Gnome remains one of the most exciting bands in Cleveland, bar none.

From Greek Mythology and Joseph Campbell to Sigmund Freud, the link of "the feminine" to the forces of fate, nature and death suggests civilization has tried to defend itself from the feminine in so many cultural texts. Listening to Barille wield bludgeoning, Page Hamilton-like riffs of "Dr. Cakorkian," "Chunk of Spine Fur" and the set-closer "Three Long Years" like a sword over her head, I think I understand why. The diminutive guitarist's talent bends the ears and boggles the mind... all without that testosterone listeners have come to expect from angular, heavy metal-based rock functions. She's a slayer.

As for Meister, his jazz-informed approach to drumming continues to keep Barille's bluster from just blowing away. His heavily syncopated, prog-rock/metal playing is the anchor and adds yet another sinister layer. I'm telling you, after hearing Mr. Gnome, I really am convinced this duo is headed for big things. They just recently played the North By Northeast music festival in Toronto; they should throw their hats into the South By Southwest ring in Austin as soon as they can.

A bit of temporary geography is all that is keeping this duo from the Big Show.

Scene Magazine

mr. Gnome: mr. Gnome
Mr. Gnome's self-titled second release is just an EP, but it's one helluva big, sexy record. Even if it didn't boast singer Nicole Barille's orgasmic delivery, Gnome's offbeat fusion of stoner metal and trip-hop could boil blood. "Truffle Shuffle" opens the affair with metal-plated blues plucking, while drummer Sam Meister shifts styles with fierce abandon. Damn, these songs are beyond dynamic; beat barrages explode unannounced as quiet oblivion ends in sudden full-frontal assaults. And the psychedelic meltdown "Barb's Revenge" is a dish best served now.

Albuquerque Alibi

mr. Gnome: mr. Gnome
Perhaps you, dear heavy music fan, missed the Mr. Gnome show at Burt's two weeks ago. Administer 10 spankings. Maybe more. This drum-guitar duo out of Cleveland released a five-song, self-titled EP better than much of the work that comes across my desk. Abundant, sexy Mr. Gnome does not miss a bass player—or any other players for that matter. There are drastic peaks and valleys, but above it all, there's guitarist/singer Nicole Barille's brilliant raw voice. Find this disc on Mr. Gnome's site at the end of the month or risk further assigned self-punishment

Pitt News

mr. Gnome: mr. Gnome
You'll never look at gnomes the same way again. Formerly associated with folklore and your grandma's front lawn, they now enter the realm of face-melting guitar riffs, haunting vocals and intricate drum cadences.
The Cleveland alternative rock duo Mr. Gnome consists of Nicole Barille's flawlessly blended guitar and vocals and Sam Meister's dexterous drum effects. Mr. Gnome's first release, the October 2005 debut EP Echoes on the Ground, paved the way for their self-titled follow-up EP in December, a five-track exercise in yin and yang - hard and soft, loud and quiet, tidal-wave violent and still-water calm. The group's sound forms a curious amalgam of hard metal rock and softly pensive vocal passages.
Bandmates from college, Barille and Meister started jamming together in their spare time. They found that while they liked the dynamics of their larger band, writing and performing felt more natural and fluid with just the two of them. From those one-on-one sessions came the experimentation with the harsh and soft sound that characterizes Mr. Gnome's style.
Mr. Gnome's EP starts out with "Truffle Shuffle" and a creeping, staccato guitar sequence, utilizing rhythmic plucking just twangy enough to make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic-in-a-blues riff.
After "Truffle" plunges into a snare drum cadence all but obscured by powerhouse cymbal crashes, Barille wails unintelligible lyrics in a malleable, feather-light and forceful voice similar to that of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O. With an alternately jarring declamation and ethereal croon, Barille's vocal diversity adds an element of curiosity and suspense to Mr. Gnome's songs.
"Barb's Revenge" showcases Meister's talent on the drums, as variety and mutation in drum techniques expand before our ears to dominate the piece. "Chunk of Spine Fur" starts out with a mellow electric-guitar sequence and then launches into a high-speed beat backed by Barillo's vocals. The song transitions from slow, echoing passages into jacked-up scream segments, illustrating how the band earned its reputation for possessing a bipolar sound.
The fourth track, "Dr. Cakorkian," maintains full intensity the whole way through, without the band's classic sensitive interludes, unless you count Barille's screaming when the guitar and drums drop out. Warped electric distortion on "Three Long Years" coupled with tricky snare and cymbal sequences contrast with Barille's pure soprano.
"I don't know how we started writing so heavy," Barille mused in a December interview with Tucson Weekly. "We really fell in love with the soft/loud dynamic, and I think we thought that was a really interesting way to write - having these really beautiful parts and then just clashing with a much heavier sound."
While Mr. Gnome jams harder than most bands on the indie rock scene, there's a subtlety of expression in these songs that takes the group beyond any hard rock or metal label. The album's dark cover art might prep you for harsher music than the band delivers. This is power rock in touch with its softer side, each song like an argument that oscillates between crooned apologies and violent shrieks.

Paste Magazine

aggressive-yet-beautiful sound
The rEPort
by Austin L. Ray

Mr. Gnome
Mr. Gnome (Independent)

Boy does this Ohio duo make a lot of noise. In fact, this sophomore
EP from Nicole Barille (vocals/guitar) and Sam Meister (drums) sounds
more like a mid-career offering from an accomplished hard-rock
quartet. Such is the overwhelming nature of the twosome's
aggressive-yet-beautiful sound.

Smother Magazine

Mr. Gnome - Editor's Pick
Album - Mr. Gnome

This release is an editor's pick on Smother.Net

Review - The last album I reviewed by Mr. Gnome pretty much knocked me out flat. This self-titled follow-up hits just as hard but without the hangover that results from too much exposure. Tightly written songs weave around trip-hop atmospheres, indie rock guitars, and glamorous female vocals that while eerie are out-of-this-world delicious. There’s a certain darkness and odd dankness that is ladled and poured over the tracks that make up this all-too-quick EP. Mr. Gnome you’re devilish, awe-inspiring, and something that fans of Tool, Massive Attack, and Portishead can all find in common—and if that’s ever been uttered before I’ll eat my hat.

The Other Paper

Mr. Gnome is a rare, refreshing duo
It's inevitable that Mr. Gnome will be subjected to loads of unfair comparisons to groups such as the White Stripes, Deadboy and the Elephantmen, and the Black Keys simply because they share the same minimal lineup of guitar and drums.

However, while Mr. Gnome may seem similar to those bands on the surface, the truth is that the group sounds like it's from a different musical universe.

The Cleveland due of vocalist/guitarist Nicole Barille and drummer Sam Meister blasts through a set of songs that are much heavier and complex than their sparse instrumentation implies.

Barille's guitar growls, moans and grinds along in a fuzzy frenzy that has more in common with the neo-metal of Queens of the Stone Age or Modey Lemon than with the delta affectations of Jack White.

Mr. Gnome's songs are fast and noisy, but not sloppy. Extended interludes during several of the tracks lend an almost jammy feel. The music has colorful traces of psychedelia in its textured sound, but even that is juxtaposed through a grimy filter of stoner-rock and caffeine.

Adding a brilliant contrast to the musical unrest, Barille offers a strong, calm vocal presence. It's easy to imagine that her style could've evolved out of a fixation on Portishead or Ani Difranco based on her unique phrasing and alternately scary and sultry tone.

A female singer who actually sings rather than tunelessly screams, screeches or talks her way through songs, Barille is a breath of fresh air. She can switch from an airy croon to a vehement wail, but she never sounds overextended or out of her range.

Despite the bloody title, "Chunk of Spine Fur" is the most laid-back track on the album. Things don't slow down for long, though, as the song evolves from a languid, jazzy jam into a vibrant rock explosion. The closest comparison might be to imagine some surreal duel between Jeff Buckley and the Deftones, but even that likeness falls short.

It's rare and refreshing to hear a band that doesn't wear its influences as prominently as a faux-vintage concert T-shirt.

~ Karen E. Graves

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sonic-Psychedelic Melange of Mind-Blowing Indie Rock
The Plain Dealer - Local Spotlight - 1.19.07
(self-release)

Despite the fact that Mr. Gnome is a duo, there's nothing musically dwarfish associated with this experimental noisy rock outfit. In fact, if anything, the band's recently released self-titled EP proves this twosome is working on its own unique level, crafting a compelling sonic-psychedelic melange of mind-blowing indie rock. The songwriting chemistry between Nicole Barille (guitar and vocals) and Sam Meister (drums) is obvious, whether it's the feedback brilliance of "Truffle Shuffle" or the manipulated bluesy foundation on "Barb's Revenge." This twosome is the real deal with Barille's bone-chilling vocals and masterful guitar work easily making Mr. Gnome one of Northeast Ohio's greatest assets. Do yourself a favor and visit "Dr. Cakorkian" before others jump on board. Grade: A