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Mr. Encrypto | Hero And Villain

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Rock: 60's Rock Rock: Folk Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Hero And Villain

by Mr. Encrypto

"If super-intelligent aliens on some faraway planet were raised on nothing but radio transmissions of the best pop and rock of the sixties, this is the album they'd create."
Genre: Rock: 60's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Long After Long
3:05 $0.99
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2. Nothing's Gonna Happen
2:57 $0.99
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3. Going Going Gone
3:08 $0.99
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4. I've Got a Feeling
4:40 $0.99
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5. Allegiance
3:36 $0.99
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6. This Means War!
3:40 $0.99
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7. Guess I'm Dumb
3:56 $0.99
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8. What Goes Wrong
4:22 $0.99
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9. 1-2-3
4:27 $0.99
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10. The Last Time
3:28 $0.99
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11. I'll Get By
3:12 $0.99
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12. Kill the Night
3:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
BRUCE GORDON

Bruce was born in Southern California when the surf was up and the days were good and full of sunshine. When he was 10, his family moved from the warm California sun to the bad bad lands of Australia; Lennon-McCartney melodies and Brian Wilson harmonies were supplanted by wobble boards and tuneless flamin' jungle music.

Eventually, the desire for guitars brought the young Bruce back to America. Specifically, to Phoenix, and the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery. (It's not a religious term - it translates roughly as, "wooden-stringed-instrument-building.")

In the '80s, Grand Junction, Colorado was not normally considered one of the hotbeds of new wave rock, but it was - it's just that nobody ever heard the music that came out of there. Nevertheless, Shoblit and the Bush Pilots were two bands which were at the forefront of the G.J. new wave scene, and Gordon was a key figure in both bands. It is undisputable that songs like "Solitary Confinement", "Cans and Bottles", "Another Good Year" and "Alienate Yourself" have influenced countless artists ever since. That is to say, no artists have yet been counted.

Gordon returned to Southern California in the late '80s and formed the Cyphers, a pop/rock/demolition foursome which cut a swath of broken guitar strings and splintered harmonies across the L.A. music scene. It was during this time that Bruce wrote and performed the score to the beloved cult film, SHOCK! SHOCK! SHOCK! (Rhino Home Video).

Gordon has resurfaced in the new millennium as the writer and co-producer of the new album by Mr. Encrypto, HERO AND VILLAIN. (In fact, some claim Mr. Encrypto and Gordon are one and the same! Of course, if this were true, it would mean Gordon played every instrument and sang every vocal part on the album. Surely, this stretches credibility to the breaking point!)


MR. ENCRYPTO

Little is known about the strange being known as Mr. Encrypto.

The earliest known references to him are found in the oral histories of Australia's indigenous aboriginal cultures. According to these mythic stories, passed down from generation to generation, a young musician from a faraway land was raised by a pack of wild dingoes to become a fierce trickster warrior. Some of these stories date to the time when it is known that Bruce Gordon was in Australia, giving some credence to the otherwise outlandish claims that Mr. Encrypto and Gordon are one and the same individual.

After many well-documented attempts at world domination, Mr. Encrypto released his first rock'n'roll record, HERO AND VILLAIN in 2002.

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Reviews


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James C. Taylor

From the dark to the light, a delight
From the darkness of a forced name change to the light of some really great pop, Bruce Gordon's music and melodies delight. There is at times lush harmony (The Last Time), pleasantly jarring sounds (This Means War!), and nostalgic covers (1-2-3), but, one song aside, this album deliberately looks forward rather than be the nostalgia pastiche some other modern pop acts come across as. And the one song that is an homage is so brilliantly done (The Last Time) that you don't mind it. Lastly, the album contains the best recording of Guess I'm Dumb I've ever heard, and that includes the excellent Wondermints version. Do yourself a favor and get this album. Here's hoping his second album eclipses the first.
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Michael Toland, HighBias.com

The latest powerpop phenomenon ready for world domination.
Formerly known as Eclipso (before DC Comics issued a ‘cease and desist’ letter), Mr. Encrypto lays out a dozen superbly engaging pop tunes on its debut album Hero and Villain. Songwriter Bruce Gordon brandishes a master’s hand in composing exceptionally melodic rock songs -- just listen to “What Goes Wrong,” “Nothing’s Gonna Happen,” “The Last Time” and “Allegiance” and try to resist their hooky charms. It helps that Gordon possesses a wonderful voice, pretty enough to do the melodies justice but gritty enough to add a healthy dollop of soul to the proceedings. Crackling mid-fi production by Gordon and legendary producer Earle Mankey lets the guitars jangle and crunch as needed and sets up stacks of heavenly harmonies, creating an irresistible blend of midwestern power pop energy and sunny California sweetness. An excellent batch of tunes and an emotional performance by Gordon make Hero and Villain the latest power pop phenomenon ready for world domination. For fans of Doug Powell, Brian Wilson, the Dangtrippers.

April 7, 2002
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Bryan Swirsky, The Big Takeover, Issue 50

Highly Recommended!
This wonderfully inventive concoction of rock, pop, psychedelia, country, folk and trashy bubblegum is the product of one man: The multi-talented multi-instrumentalist Bruce Gordon, who literally played every instrument (and shares his name with comicbook superhero Eclipso’s alter ego!) Co-produced in conjunction with onetime Sparks/Concrete Blonde guitarist and studio wunderkind Earle Mankey, Hero and Villain is worthy of legitimate critical praise. Fans of Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, Paul McCartney, Roy Wood and Jeff Jynne will adore these songs.
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Brian Baker, Amplifier Magazine Issue #27

Infused with 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation 60's references.
One man pop dynamo Bruce Gordon has concocted a dazzlingly rich pastiche of style and texture on Hero and Villain, his nearly-solo debut as Mr. Encrypto. Gordon wears his Beatles/Beach Boys influences like a tilted crown, going so far as to cover Brian Wilson’s “Guess I’m Dumb” to handily prove his point. In the subtler shadings, Gordon’s melodic sense and layered instrumentation are reminiscent of the similarly constructed brilliance of fellow one-man pop juggernaut Roy Wood, pointedly evidenced by his “Wave the Flag and Stop the Train” reference in “Going Going Gone,” and the great horn charts in “What Goes Wrong.” In the unexpected-yet-wonderful category, count the melancholy reading given Len Barry’s “1-2-3,” and in the ironically appropriate column, check the box next to the martial-rhythmed “This Means War!”

Gordon infuses Hero and Villain with first, second and third generation 60’s references without a hint of irony or tribute, incorporating all of it into his own uniquely twisted musical vision with just a slightly less than straight face. Like a master chef’s use of spices, Gordon has peppered Hero and Villain with dozens of flavors that never overpower the base recipe.
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Mike Bennett, fufkin.com

A vibe similar to the best American indie-pop records of the 80's
Charmer of a pop record from Mr. Encrypto, whose secret identity is Bruce Gordon (no word on whether he is related to Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon). Working with luminaries such as producer Earle Mankey and, on one track, Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz, Gordon is able to transform a variety of approaches -- from the classic Yardbirds song structure in "Long After Long" to the appropriately military march beats of "This Means War!" to a variety of appealing mid-tempo melodic pieces that constitute the bulk of the disc -- into a coherent sound. Gordon is aided by his warm, friendly voice and superior arranging abilities. At times this disc has a vibe similar to some of the best American indie-pop records of the mid-80's.
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Kevin Mathews, Power of Pop

A pure pop classic...easy to discern the best pop influences.
With the production assistance of Earle Mankey, Mr. Encrypto/Gordon has fashioned a pure pop classic where it is easy to discern the best pop influences make their mark on these 12 wonderful songs.

"Nothing's Gonna Happen" is sunshine pop in the Hollies vein, "Going Going Gone" is a slinky funky number that points in the direction of Roy Wood and even Lalo Schifrin, "Allegiance" is an ironic breezy diatribe that evokes the Byrds and CCR, "This Means War!" is campy music hall commentary that displays the quirkiness of the Doors, "What Goes Wrong" is a rocking gem in the tradition of the Buffalo Springfield and the Rolling Stones, "The Last Time" is a textural masterpiece that the likes of the Beach Boys and the Association would be proud of and "Kill the Night" is a toe tapping marvel that owes its debt to the Beatles.

Not only that, but the interpretations of Ivy's "I've Got a Feeling," Brian Wilson's "Guess I'm Dumb" and Crazy Horse's "I'll Get By" provide the icing on this sumptuous cake. Highly recommended to those who require verve, melodic strength and clever studio work in the daily pop dose.
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LMNOP, babysue reviews

INSTANT CLASSIC...easily one of the very BEST releases of 2001
YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes...YES. If you think sincere, upbeat, infectiously catchy and hopelessly throbbing happy pop music is dead...Mr. Encrypto will prove you wrong. The band is the brainchild of Los Angeles' Bruce Gordon, a man who has an amazing melodic sense as well as a true flair for arrangements and harmonies. Hero and Villain is like a non-stop string of underground hits -- we're talking hits in the grand tradition of what hits OUGHT to be...super catchy, super smart, well-constructed pieces of heavenly melodic art (y'know...the kinda stuff The Turtles recorded...) All twelve tracks on this album will have pop fans tripping all over themselves to heap praise upon this man for creating an album this amazingly cohesive and strong. We have seldom heard harmony vocals sound this good...EVER. Although all the compositions here are nothing short of fantastic, our top favorites are "Nothing's Gonna Happen," "This Means War!," "Guess I'm Dumb" and "The Last Time." In our minds this has already become an INSTANT CLASSIC; this will easily end up being one of the very BEST releases of the year. Oh...and we must not forget to mention that this was touched by the golden production fingers of Mr. Earle Mankey (!!!)...so you KNOW the sound quality kicks ass. Essential listening.

(Rating: 5+++)
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Tom Swope, Music's Bottom Line, Cleveland, OH

This is the way records used to be made.
Hero and Villain is a sixties-inspired set of eight originals and four cover tunes. But this is not retro-rock. This is timeless stuff with sharp pop melodies that sound great today and will sound great tomorrow and will probably still stand up in ten years. It really is that good.
The most familiar of the covers is "1-2-3." If you were alive in '65, you might remember this Len Barry hit. But whereas Barry paid homage to Motown on his recording, Mr. Encrypto's arrangement is a slow ballad that entirely changes the meaning of the lyric. In the hands of Mr. Encrypto, what was once a celebration of new love has become a desperate plea to the girl that is getting away.
I doubt if I could begin to tell you which are my favorite cuts here. "Allegiance" is a song that Gordon wrote several years ago, but - especially lyically - it seems to fit the times now more than ever. "Going Going Gone" is a great rocker and "What Goes Wrong" has more hooks in it than Grandpa's fishing hat. But if you are forcing me to choose, I think "The Last Time" would be first on my list. This song of many layers really sums up the Mr. Encrypto sound.

BOTTOM LINE: Each time through Hero and Villain, I hear another little riff that jogs my musical memory or I'll catch a twist in a lyric I never noticed before. This is the way records used to be made.
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Jenn Sikes, Splendid e-zine

Safe to say the hero - whether it's Bruce Gordon or Mr. Encrypto - has won the
60's influence of sunny, trippy guitar-driven melodies is inescapable on Hero and Villain. Mr. Encrypto (Bruce Gordon) even does a Brian Wilson cover, which seals the deal. In fact, in addition to his originals, Mr. Encrypto offers a number of covers of sixties -- and sixties-sounding -- material. "I've Got a Feeling", from Ivy's Apartment Life, adds a strange new twist to the song that Dominique Durand couldn't have pulled off; even with his nasal voice, Gordon sounds exceedingly wistful. His guitar work, although muted, is far less wispy than Ivy's -- probably because his vocals aren't as easily overpowered as Durand's low-impact singing. "Long After Long" is surf-ish, and catchy, and definitely made for singing along. "Allegiance" is an ill-timed but thoughtful examination of patriotism, set to a beautifully harmonized, soaring chorus. Given the talents on display here, it seems safe to say that the hero -- whether it's Gordon or Mr. Encrypto -- has won the battle.
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