Mister Vague -- an acoustic rock trio from Reno, Nevada -- plays a curious combination of dark dive bars and brightly lit coffeehouses. The band takes a stewpot of influences not well represented in Reno's neon-rock world -- '70s confession-folk, '80s Midwest post-punk, '90s minimalist indie, a dose of NYC noise skronk -- and brews it up for unsuspecting audiences. The band's background doesn't exactly scream, 'Emote, sensitive guys.' Earnest used to front other, much louder punk and alternorock bands in Reno and his former place of residence, Duluth, Minnesota. After amassing dozens of Vague songs by mid 2003, he enlisted pal and grunge-loving ex-bandmate Dean Kramer on drums for duo shows, which evolved into a full-time trio with Dean's brother, Neal, who used to work at LA's Guitar Center suffering the indignities of quasi-celebrities. After several Reno shows with excellent Seattle power-pop band The Riffbrokers, the group was signed to the 'Brokers label, Unsmashable Records, while Earnest struck a publishing deal with Midwest indie Slothrop Music. Recording in a heavily soundproofed garage, 'Square One' captures the band's dynamic range, from waltz-time ballads to blaring upbeat tunes. All guitars are acoustic, but effects and the occassional wacky keyboard or drum machine give it technological pep. Basically, it's a live show with sweetner. 'I figured it out: Mister Vague are like the Violent Femmes, if you replaced the goofy with bitter and the rambunctious with slowly brewed rage. And Gordon's voice with Michael Stipe's. And the bass with another guitar. Never mind. They rule, and that's all.' -- Jen Scaffidi, The Spark List, April 2004 'On 'Square One,' the sparse, mellow songs sometimes pick up the pace for a sound reminiscent of the Meat Puppets unplugged' -- Jason Kellner, Reno Gazette-Journal, August 2004.