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HANGNAIL PHILLIPS – Press – - – - download “Barrett Strong was Wrong” PRESSKIT (90kb PDF)
Friday, October 14, 2005 – Raw Like Sashimi

A few days ago, I introduced many of you to the wondrous sounds of Monika Bullette. Her album “The Secrets” has been playing a lot on my Discman these days, and rightfully so. But then again, I am always partial to female singer-songwriters. I even loved Tiffany (yes, 1987 mall Tiffany) when she created what was 2000s best album in “The Color of Silence”. Sure, Monikas’ album is certainly a staple where I come from, and I am working on a more elaborate review for her CD, but I just wanted to tell all of you to download it, and to spread the word. I could use words like ‘amazing’ and ‘masterpiece’, but you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Yesterday, Hangnail Phillips wrote to me. I thought that he had an unusual name, and he certainly seems a spirited person. I then visited his website and though he had told me that he was a close associate of Monika Bullette, the website itself graciously embraces their connection, with ample links to Monikas’ own site. Hangnail is a musician, and I am reproducing here his web-bio for those of you who haven’t heard of him:

“Hangnail Phillips [aka HC Phillips] is a Newark, Delaware area artist who strives to make every song he creates unique, while true to its genre, and reflective of his own blend of tastes and talents. Hangnail has been involved in every aspect of music creation and performance for many years as a singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, master technician, and teacher. He is the founding member of nearly a dozen bands [ie The Exotics, Rudy Baker & The Vegetables, Icarus, The Voltags, The Snaps, Hemlock, and Psyche 467] that enjoyed success throughout the mid-Atlantic area.

The years spent involved in the great personal bravery of real, nitty gritty of in-your performance – testing of material (at times at the expense of fruit, vegetables, and even mugs flying towards the stage) have helped shape Hang into the artist he is today, while and his material continue to evolve and grow-incorporating new and dynamic trends while retaining the beautiful lyrics and melodic comfort of everlasting genres.

Hang has written, performed on, and/or produced hundreds of songs, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with well-known colleagues. [Check out Randy Barnett And Second Chance Blues Band] He seems to be able to play any instrument that is required for a given project, including guitar [electric, acoustic, classical, & slide], bass, keyboards, saxophone, recorder, flute, clarinet, sitar, drums and percussion. His range of musical interests and output is not only widely ecclectic – it is remarkable.

I’d be hard pressed to think of another artist that I’ve experienced professionally or personally that is as comfortable and capable with a hard rocker as well as a soft melodic ballad; with a techno tune as well as a classical composition. He brings the best elements of all styles to his works and interweaves them with the fine thread of experience and skill. Yes. Experienced. Hangnail Phillips is not to merely be listened to. His textures are to be felt and seen. The music will touch you, and if you allow transport you. Have a great journey.” by Harriet L. Perry, Senior Editor, Good Day Sunshine Magazine Copyright 2002

That got me thinking. I also downloaded his entire album “Wits’ End” and listened to it in its’ entirety. Now, Hangnail is definitely a force to reckon with. The only thing is, I’d like to know who he is as a person – how old he is, etc. The information on him is vague, but I suppose that only adds to his mystique. He certainly has the music to back him up, in terms of quality. This is the sort of magic that Loretta Lynn created when she teamed up with Jack White on “Van Lear Rose” (remember that CD?). It was a folk-rock adventure with tinges of country and bluegrass, and I can heartily announce that Phillips accomplishes quite the same here with his Bonnie Raitt meets the White Stripes routine. I loved the album, I have played it twice already, and I am glad to also report that just like Monika, Phillips is quite strong, lyrically.

However, it is also with Monika that he accomplishes his most poetic lyric. Here is “Lillian” :

I am a cursed collage of entropy
Sleeping where some have lain before
Its certain nature will not let me free

I thought I was immune to pain like this
Wrapped in the blue mist of midnight
But pain’s no match for your white purity

Great work, huh? The show goes on in this fashion for a while, with mood and music both fitting each other rather snugly. Admittedly, Hangnail writes a lot about love, or the loss of love, and while the floral flourishes of Bullette are missing here, we have a raw, primal intensity that only serves to reinforce the severity of the subject matter, and the passion behind the music. On “Post Cold War World”, a tough topic is dealt with gentility, and should I say, decency? As the first song on the album it more than sets the tone for the rest of this CD.

The CD is aptly titled. When you’re done listening to it, you’re at your wits’ end trying to figure out what this genre of music is. My associate was asking me that since Monika and Hangnail are music associates, which of their albums do I like more? Well, everyone knows I have a penchant for female singer songwriters, so any choice I therefore make will be subject to bias, but at the end of the day, Hangnail has produced a solid, worthy album, one that you can put on repeat on your player. And thats no mean accomplishment in this day and age. Download today, and please spread the word!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 – Origivation Magazine

Hangnail Phillips
Wit’s End
Hangnail Phillips is a golden god. I have begun praying regularly that he and his partner in crime, Monika Bullette, will save the world, or at least continue to share their music with us, cuz, holy shit, this stuff is mind- blowingly good. Influences from all over the world and all over history color Wit’s End, making it one of the most complex, gutsy, and experiential albums I’ve ever heard. It’s easily the bravest, most honest record I’ve heard since I reviewed Bullette’s newest album last month. Please do yourself a favor and check out Hangnail’s work – on Wit’s End he has lain himself out for you to examine wholly, and it’s an opportunity one should not miss.

Monday, July 18, 2005 – Tuwa’s Shanty

Hangnail Phillips
Hangnail Phillips is … a bit hard to describe. Picture someone comfortable recording rock, country, folk, and dance/pop/electronica, with a quirky sense of humor and an endearingly off-kilter perspective.

“Post Cold War World” is a lot of fun, and “Angora Sweater” and “Wit’s End” are both postworthy (as are the other bonus tracks hidden in “Wit’s End,” all quite different from each other), but I think I’m going to go with “Be Yourself” and “Thought Boxes.”

“Thought Boxes” is a sort of droning downtempo track with Indian cadences, finger cymbals, backwards guitar, brooding menace, wind chimes (!), and the ghost of Jimi Hendrix showing up for a short solo. Very odd and interesting work.

“Be Yourself” sounds like a lost Who track. The song has a solid classic rock vibe to it and, frankly, I wish it were on the radio rather than much of the classic rock that’s there. But de gustibus non disputandum est, or maybe I mean fabas indulcet fames (that might explain a lot. Recently I rented a car to take a trip across the Florida panhandle, discovered it had no CD player, rolled across the FM then the AM bands, and discovered that the best thing on was Peter Cetera. I give North Florida radio … the finger).

Monika Bullette, who I wrote about previously, appears here with Phillips on vocals (actually, according to Phillips’ Myspace page, Phillips did “most everything” and Bullette did “everything else”). Neither of these musicians are setting out plates of beans; they cook up dishes much more satisfying and unusual.

Said the Gramophone beat me posting from this album, but Hangnail Phillips’ site has more mp3s for download: the entire album, in fact. Recommended? Yes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2005 – Freddy Freeloader

My musical manifesto.
“Everybody needs to check this guy out and download his new CD: Hangnail Phillips.

He’s incredible, he’s been around forever, languishing in obscurity, and yet he’s putting his album online for free download. See, RIAA? Exposure for underground artists is helped tremendously by the internet.”

Saturday, July 09, 2005 – ederBlog

Hangnail Phillips – Wit’s End
It may be the opiates i am under, or the lack of proper sleep, or a combination of those painkillers and the pain itself, but i must say that i’ve enjoyed Hangnail Phillips’ debut album immensely so far.

I listen once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and occasionally i take a double dose of track #10, “All tied up” (i put it on repeat until i fall in sleep).

We made love to it the other day (in a position friendly to my lumbago, of course, and climaxed just after the secret bonus-track started after 6 minutes of silence… Magic and a nice bonus, Hangnail. Obrigado!

Friends of Chrysalis and other quality “Psychedelica” (don’t miss the new and long awaited u.k cd reissue of Chrysalis classic anthem Definition, by the way), will most certainly appreciate Wit’s End. Hangnail plays almost all of the instruments, all of them with that special authentic warm fuzzy sound from the sixties, that so many bands of today are trying hard to imitate. Hats off! Miss Bullette herself assists on some tracks, and you know what that means, folks: Extra cheese on the pizza… Her lovely voice!

If you are a film-maker looking for a soundtrack to your next movie, you have your complete background-music here, and more! Hangnail knows what he’s doing with his palette of lively bright colours.

This album is alive. Go deeper. Go softer. 16mA on the left channel, and 17 on the right, for a long effect. Yeah, you’ll love it!

Please listen to Just Here Waiting

You can download the whole enchilada at hangnailphillips.com

Thursday, July 7, 2005 – One Louder NYC

From the Inbox: Hangnail Phillips
We recently received an email from Hangnail Phillips promoting his new album, Wit’s End. I usually approach solicitations for reviews with caution and skepticism. I’ll try anything, but it’s rare to find quality. With nothing to lose, I downloaded Wit’s End (It’s available on CD or as a legal, free download from Hangnail’s web site.) and to my delight and surprise, found that it’s actually quite an enjoyable homemade album.

Drawing inspiration from the likes of The Beatles, Beefheart, Zappa, and a host of other leading names in psychedelic and folk rock, Phillips’s songs are dense, eclectic, yet always melodic. Heavy reverb drapes over pounding drums and Phillip’s twangy vocals. Two instrumental tracks, “All Tied Up” and the title track are collages of synth, discarded samples, and ringing telephones.

Wit’s End would be the perfect soundtrack for my life if I owned a van and smoked lots of pot. But for this mundane corporate wage slave, it’s still a fun, psych-rock trip. Try “Be Yourself” (MP3).

Thursday, July 7, 2005 – Said the Gramophone

Hangnail Phillips – “Lillian”

I wanted to post Hangnail Phillips’ “Post Cold War World” instead, but I couldn’t do it. “Lillian” is just better. So you get no party song today. This song: it’s so friendly! These are familiar streets, paved with mandolin cobblestones, soprano sax streetlights, and clarinets doing a softshoe down the middle, no traffic. Phillips’ big grandfather voice, sounding almost Burl Ives-y, is another clearly worn path, but in a comforting kind of way; the way the houses and shortcuts seem worn when you walk home today. It’s the best kind of slow-dance: you can dance with your crush or your babysitter to this song and it would still feel right.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005 – Between Thought and Expression

Hangnail Phillips is a unique Delaware area artist whose music is rather indescribable, or at least not bound by traditional genre definitions. Perhaps it can be characterized as an eclectic bluesy rock fusion of Frank Zappa, Ween, and Badly Drawn Boy. No, that’s not accurate either. Just give it a listen.

Friday, July 1, 2005 – Featured in *Sixeyes – *sixpack #66

Friday, July 1, 2005 – Ederblog

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 – The Acousticwoodlands
With the assistance of Hangnail Phillips, Bullette’s self-released downloadable album “Secrets” throws you a vast array of different sounds, each as adorable and delightful as the previous. The second track “Little Bird” is a favorite of mine. Couple “Little Bird” with the Opener “Show Me”, and you’ve just begun to tap into the diversity that Bullette brings to the table.

All in all, this is a well kept secret and one that shouldn’t last for long since music as ingenious as this can only grow. Have a listen to the first three tracks and delve into the rest! Permission provided for posting the sounds.

Bullette – Show Me
Bullette – Little Bird
Bullette – Your Eyes Have It

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