Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone Magazine College Radio Top 10 Charts


The Heart of a Dark Star on NPR's First Listen


The Heart of a Dark Star #8 on Radio 200 Top 20

Pure Volume

Pure Volume Premiere of "Melted Rainbow"

My Old Kentucky Blog

MOKB Premieres "Light"

NPR - All Songs Considered

NPR - All Songs Considered - Premieres "Rise & Shine"

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone Magazine BAND TO WATCH

Rolling Stone city-sail-away-20111130



Magnet Magazine

Magnet Magazine Feature
Magnet Magazine

MTV Hive



Bust Magazine

Performer Magazine

Verbicide Magazine

Verbicide Magazine gnome-pictureplane-tycho-and-more-31412/

Verbicide Magazine spring-tour-new-7-sxsw/

Bitch Magazine

Alarm Magazine albums-october-25-2011/

My Old Kentucky Blog

My Old Kentucky Blog

Death and Taxes circles-video-trailer/

Scene Magazine gnome/Content?oid=2949176

Scene Magazine la/Content?oid=2931092

Cleveland Magazine

San Francisco Bay Guardian

Denver Westword

Nashville Scene

Nashville Scene bigwhig/Event?oid=2788094

Scene Magazine the-world-catches-up-with-clevelands-best-band

Indie Rock Reviews

Vocalo 89.5

Prefix Magazine

Paste Magazine

Eight Criminally Underrated Albums From 2009

mr. Gnome – Heave Yer Skeleton

Definitely on the extremely short list of cool things from Cleveland. Even better than their last album, which I loved. Sounds like ethereal icelandic fairies being pummeled by concrete guitars in a dirty Cleveland parking lot. AKA: awesome.

My Old Kentucky Blog

Sleep With One Eye Open

Let's be honest here: Cleveland gets a bad rap. There's the depressing weather, the losing football team and the over-arching notion that there just ain't much happening.

Now those first two — sure, true. But the third? Well, it's hard to bash the city's goings-on when a band as inventive as Mr. Gnome calls it home.

The guy-girl duo plays huge post-rock that whispers like a scared kid afraid of monsters one minute and explodes into the screaming demon that haunts him the next. Singer/guitarist Nicole Barille sings with a Bjorkian inflection — warbling lullabies, howling freakouts — while her just-plain-gigantic, screeching guitars sound like a brick wall crushing a pack of innocent schoolgirls as they cross the street. Drummer Sam Meister pounds his set like he's about to steal its lunch money, then kick its ass anyway.

Why all the kiddie metaphors? Mr. Gnome play with all the manifested fear and wonder of childhood. The band's second LP, last month's Heave Yer Skeleton, could be the soundtrack to the most terrifying dream of your 8-year-old year, when monsters did live under your bed, when ghosts were set free as soon as the lights went off, when you were only moments away from being gobbled up by something hellish. These things happen to us adults, too. They're often referred to as "That Acid Trip When I Freaked Out."

[Ed. note: Keep this music away from easily-frightened children]

That said, Barille's haunted pixie voice is one of the more unique in rock, and not easily forgotten. Especially in your dreams.

Bust Magazine

mr. Gnome - Heave Yer Skeleton

Cleveland duo Mr. Gnome boasts a sound that's an impressive balancing act between soft and hard, masculine and feminine, ethereal and earthbound.

From the opening notes of "Spain," Nicole Barille's breathy vocals conjure up a misty place not quite a part of our reality, and certainly a far cry from their Rust Belt origins. With a name like Mr. Gnome, you know to expect some magic, but it's not like Robert Plant singing about Mordor; theirs is a bit harder to put your finger on. "Hills, Valleys, and Valium" starts out like a gauzy dream, but Barille's serrated guitars and drummer Sam Meister's muscular beats cut through the haze quickly, building to a galloping rumble halfway through. The rollicking "Plastic Shadow" is a rust-bucket rocker that Cat Power should have recorded at some point, and "Pixie Dust" glitters like some lost 4AD band from 1988: light as a feather, but heavy enough to weaken the knees, much like the album as a whole.

Outburn Magazine

Artsy Indie Rock With a Bite

On their debut album, Deliver This Creature, Cleveland's Mr. Gnome announced themselves as a duo with powerful potential.  They had some great songs, but the album felt a little lacking.  Heave Yer Skeleton is just what you hope to hear from a second album - a growth in consistency and a refinement of what made the band unique in the first place.  Like any self-respecting rock duo these days, singer/guitarist Nicole Barille and drummer Sam Meister make a full band sized racket, appropriate given that they recorded in the studios of Josh Homme and Butch Vig.  They move effortlessly between an energetic, haunted moodiness - sometimes within the span of a single song, like the slow burning, "Sit Up & Hum."  The playful "Vampires" is Mr. Gnome at the band's poppets, a catchy little ditty with a typically odd narrative that explains the sharp turn the melody takes from feel-good to heavy dirge.  Barille certainly invokes Karen O at times - there's no getting around the similarities in a few of the yelps and coos - but she's no copycat, and the music world is plenty big for the both of them.  Full of curious twists and crunchy riffs, Heave Yer Skeleton finds Mr. Gnome living up to their earlier promise.

8 out of 10

Cleveland Scene Magazine

Top 10 Albums of 2009

1. Mr. Gnome, Heave Yer Skeleton (El Marko)

When it comes to otherworldly rock 'n' roll, Cleveland's Mr. Gnome tops the list for amazingly ethereal albums. On Heave Yer Skeleton, singer-guitarist Nicole Barille and drummer Sam Meister create a moody dream world of two-piece punk, smashing guitar-textured tectonic plates with hypnotic atmospheric effects and volcanic percussive power.

San Francisco Weekly

mr. Gnome Brings Surreal Sounds from Josh Homme's Studio

The new album by Cleveland duo mr. Gnome, Heave Yer Skeleton, is a surreal rock listen. Largely recorded at the Los Angeles studio of Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, the band's sophomore full-length contains layers of echoey, keening vocals and effects-slathered guitar courtesy of Nicole Barille. She's anchored by the propulsive drum work and instrumental fills of Sam Meister. Together, they've created a surprisingly big, lush record.

Skeleton sprawls stylistically, mixing atmospheric numbers with screwy pop and roaring prog-rock. Barille says this sonic density and variety came about in part because there were so many cool tools available at Homme's Pink Duck Studios. The musicians had at their disposal vintage amps, crazy effects pedals, and all manner of guitars — basically every noisemaking toy Homme and his compatriots have accumulated over the last decade. "I think we tracked way too many things," she says with a laugh. "We kinda went crazy. Full bands don't have that many tracks, much less a two-piece."

Barille and Meister formed mr. Gnome in 2005. Since then, the couple has been a two-person cottage industry, consistently building and promoting the band. When they released their first album, Deliver This Creature, in 2007 on their own El Marko label, they threw all their possessions in storage and hit the road. They've since released two EPs and two full-lengths and toured relentlessly, slowly building their fan base with each successive circuit.

The mr. Gnome sound invites all manner of comparisons. It contains elements of PJ Harvey, Cocteau Twins, and Sonic Youth, as well as warbly songstresses Joanna Newsom and Cat Power's Chan Marshall. One of the more bizarre critical descriptors to make it to print said the group sounded like Fiona Apple fronting Black Sabbath. Barille seems to take all of this in good humor, although there is one comparison that gets under her skin. "Probably my most hated one is Evanescence," she says, adding that she's heard a number of strange reviews of her band: "It's like, are you even listening to the same record?"

The songs and lyrics on Skeleton have a woozy, altered-states quality, and that's no accident. Barille says that while writing the album, she was reading a lot about Edgar Cayce, the "Sleeping Prophet" of the 1920s who would predict the future while in a trance. "He stated that dreams are incredibly important to your waking life, and how necessary it is to dissect and analyze your sleeping self," Barille explains. "The term 'Heave Your Skeleton' was coined by author Sally Foster Wallace to describe the act of going to sleep. It all seemed to tie together."

In the middle of Heave Yer Skeleton is a track titled "Cleveland Polka." It's a howling, punked-up framing of the polka beat: Think Yeah Yeah Yeahs rolling out the barrel. Barille says naming the song after mr. Gnome's hometown was a no-brainer. "The Polka Hall of Fame is actually in the city that we used to live in, Euclid, which is by Cleveland," she says. "Cleveland needs props; we have [Cavalier basketball star] LeBron James, and that's about it!"

Perhaps with mr. Gnome's help, the struggling post-industrial metropolis can build a reputation as a leading exporter of superior-quality, trance-inducing rock.

Seattle Weekly

A Cleveland duo unveils its Skeleton stew

Sam Meister was into Portishead and Björk when he started writing music with Nicole Barille, a fan of heavier acts like Tool. She soon introduced her new collaborator—the duo took the name mr. Gnome—to the more abrasive, harder end of the sonic spectrum.

"We've known each other for a while, and we've always turned each other on to different styles of music," says vocalist and guitarist Barille via phone while shopping for last-minute supplies on the eve of the band's tour in support of their second full-length, Heave Yer Skeleton (out this month on El Marko Records).

Mixing wildly contrasting sounds is a gutsy approach to music-making that can easily fail, even in the most capable and ambitious hands. While a mélange of influences can make a band's sonic palette richer, it can also make it muddy or schizophrenic—an inherent risk that Cleveland's mr. Gnome has successfully avoided since they began stirring the pot four years ago with their hybrid of dark psychedelia, punk-informed lullabies, and soaring, operatic rock. "So I think those [influences] kind of fused and made our sound what it is," Barille says. "Or what it began as—experimenting and exploring with all the influences we already had."

The band's exploratory mission led first to two EPs hinting at their potential, which was fully realized on 2008's full-length, Deliver This Creature, a deeply seductive kaleidoscope of serrated guitars, primal and powerful percussion, and Barille's otherworldly vocals. Planning a follow-up, they found themselves with the pleasantly unexpected opportunity to record at Pink Duck Studios in Los Angeles, owned by Queens of the Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures leader Josh Homme. Studio manager and engineer Justin Smith, who's previously worked with QOTSA, Eagles of Death Metal, and Arctic Monkeys, helmed the sessions.

"It was a really cool process," says Barille. "It was different than other times we've been in the studio...Justin was always coming up with new ways to record us and bring out our sound even more."

Heave Yer Skeleton expands upon the groundwork of Deliver This Creature, with Barille's vocals foregrounded even more strongly—something she never envisioned having the confidence to do when young. "When I was 13, I was all infatuated with the whole grunge scene going on, and tried to write my own songs like that and sing when no one was home," she recalls with a bashful giggle. "I'd set a microphone up, swing it over my closet door, and turn my amps up as loud as I could. I'm sure it sounded horrible. I never thought I'd be singing in a band."

The Stranger - Seattle, WA

Cleveland-based Mr. Gnome are a theatrical band—as in a ghoulish-makeup-and-songs-with-names-like-"Vampires" kind of show-business affair. But it's less KISS bombast (or Cure mopefest) and more like Siouxsie and the Banshees: sweeping melodies, whispering vocals transforming into wails, and excellent percussion keeping things tight. With its fits and starts and underlying chorus of voices chanting "Ding dong/Ding dong" like an Oz movie gone hellishly wrong, "Night of the Crickets" wouldn't be out of place on a Banshees album—although singer Nicole Barille's vocals have more to do with Cat Power's ragged majesty than Siouxsie Sioux's otherworldly confidence. If you thought today's music business couldn't sustain this kind of over-the-top, high-production-values baroqueness, you owe it to yourself to come to this show.

LA Weekly

Over The Hills & Into The Valium

One hesitates to describe Mr. Gnome as a two-piece band. The awesome rush of sound that comes out of Nicole Barille's lungs and guitar and Sam Meister's drums seems much bigger and more powerful than anything two people are capable of. Mr. Meister shifts the room with each stomp of his kick drum, while Ms. Barille launches landslides of surging, Sensurround guitar on the Cleveland duo's second CD, Heave Yer Skeleton (El Marko Records). He hammers down her Sabbath-y riffs with a Bonhamesque finality on "Plastic Shadow," and they scour the clouds away with punk tempos and flamethrower blasts on "Cleveland Polka." But that's about as "normal" as Mr. Gnome gets. Stormy passages like "Hills, Valleys and Valium" are broken up with spacy interludes where Barille's eerie, wraithlike keening mood-swings into delicately angelic cooing. Such arty juxtapositions are freaky, cute, savage and scary, all at the same time. Mr. Gnome don't really sound like anyone else, and their ghost-ridden songs only make sense with a dreamtime logic.

Portland Mercury

The unexpected juxtapositions of sound that Cleveland duo Mr. Gnome create are notable in their own right. Singer Nicole Barille mewls like a kitten over bone-thumping guitars and tribal drums as the band segues from lullaby to barnburner like going from zero to 60. What makes the band truly special, though, is how they drape their warped sensibility over standard pop song frames, making the strange and ethereal seem familiar. Two people making music so big, operatic, and downright spooky is an awesome thing to see. ~DAVE BOW

The Rolling Stone New Music Blog

Hype Monitor: Mr. Gnome

The Band: Mr. Gnome

The Buzz: OK, full confession: we didn't even know there was a band called Mr. Gnome until we looked at the BFR charts. And we keep up on this stuff. So, buzz? They're a duo from Cleveland named Mr. Gnome. Any questions?

Listen If: Good god, man, they're called Mr. Gnome! How many more reasons do you need?

Key Track: The excellent "Night of the Crickets," where great swipes of serrated guitar slash across Nicole Barille's gooey vocals. The absolute antidote to all those shrinking violets we've been big upping lately.

Spin Magazine

Cleveland duo gives feminine nuance to prog-rock complexity

3.5 out of 5

If it weren't for the willful overweening weirdness that's apparently required of every proggy pop-metal album (see Coheed and Cambria, System of a Down), this record probably would have been made already.  But it's approach was just too powerfully obvious.  Why not give heavy, down-tuned, open string riffs the unadorned beauty and poise to match the glistening production?  This duo's debut full-length balances a soulful, feminine power that recalls Scout Niblett and a drummer who coldly demands dynamic shifts with almost electronic precision.  It's an earnest tug-of-war.


Pitchfork: Forkcast - mr. Gnome

By the sound of "Rabbit", the two people behind Cleveland's mr. Gnome are no laughing gnomes. This song from mr. Gnome's debut full-length, Deliver This Creature, pulls a heckuva lot of noise out of a small hat, pretty much just Sam Meister's tribal drums and the reverberating vocals and sludgily atmospheric guitar fills of Nicole Barille. "Rabbit", run: Barille raises her voice from a breathy whisper to a double-tracked, sustained holler, and her guitar playing ranges from high-pitched, psyched-out tremolo to bone-crunching distorted thrums. "Rabbit sleeping in my brain, wishing things would stay the same," Barille sings. mr. Gnome (yes, that's their lower-case) have been much blogged about on the strength of their catchier, keyboard-accented "Pirates", but their rabbit habit suggests a more patient side-- "Don't you rush in like that," Barille and Meister begin, in harmony. Trix are still for kids.

Venus Zine

mr. Gnome - Deliver This Creature (El Marko)

4 Stars out of 5

Nicole Barille and Sam Meister are quite possibly the sexiest people alive. Just watch them perform; Barille’s hair sweeps across her face as she attacks her guitar and cries into the microphone while Meister works it so hard that onlookers develop an intense desire to be his drum kit. As Cleveland, Ohio–based Mr. Gnome, Barille and Meister play music that can be heavier than heavy metal but also atmospheric and beautiful. Each song ends breathlessly, with intensity, on that line between pleasure and pain.

On Deliver This Creature, their first official full-length (they’ve released two EPs: a self-titled one in 2006, and Echoes on the Ground in 2007), the duo takes the idea of stretching their limits seriously. Barille’s guitar gets wicked, reforms, and then goes wicked again; Meister’s drumsticks touch every surface of his kit so quickly, the effect is vertiginous. The songs, more like compositions, are melodic and expansive; which is quite impressive from a band whose sound was already so expansive.

Mr. Gnome’s strength is their ability to mediate between the two poles of rock; the coarse and raw, and the pristine and polished. Their music combines elements that for any other band would be disparate and strange, but for Mr. Gnome, make perfect sense. They do this on the record as a whole (an angry “I’m Alright” is followed by the peaceful “Silhouette”) and within songs; the title track builds on a fast-moving riff that sounds punk or angelic depending on the accenting, and “After the Sun” is in one moment heavy on the cymbals and distortion, and in the next Barille’s voice becomes absolutely ethereal. Indeed, the walls that the notes echo off of on Deliver are important: they seem to be Mr. Gnome's only real limit.