Village Records

Village Records Artists - Songs from the Third Rail

Adam Mugavero - Adam Mugavero is a songwriter/singer who lives and performs in New York City. His song "Have Mercy" is heard during the closing credits of Whatever We Do, a short film by Steven Connelly. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his first solo release.

Ari Hest- Armed with a warm, gravelly voice reminiscent of Peter Gabriel and a soaring falsetto that brings to mind Jeff Buckley, Ari has gone from being a college student playing out his hobby for other students, to being a career musician. "All the performing and touring fits me," says Hest. "I want to sing and play for people every night. I've gotten to welcome nights where I'm challenged to work extra hard to win over an audience." Music runs strong in the blood of Ari's family: his father is a college music professor and his mother is a professional singer. His father had Ari singing on jingles at the tender age of seven, but it wasn't until the later days of high school that Ari began to use music as his refuge. "There was a place on our campus that no one would go, except a few us of with guitars," he recalls. "I wasn't into the cliques at my school so I escaped there to learn Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam songs." Further inspired by playing cover songs by Dave Matthews and Jeff Buckley, Ari started playing for school functions and graduated from Horace Mann High School in the Bronx with a new direction in life.

In 1999, during his sophomore year of college, and for a mere $1,000, Hest recorded his first album, Incomplete, over the course of one weekend. Ari completed his follow-up album, Come Home, in the summer of 2001. After a year of consistent road-work and further composing, he again found himself yearning to make another album.

During his first visit to Los Angeles, Ari spent time collaborating with a variety of songwriters and producers who were impressed with the performing skills and new songs he displayed during his California debut at The Mint. During his stay on the West Coast, Hest wrote "Strangers Again" with Marvin Etzioni (bass player of Lone Justice). He also collaberated with producer/music director David Rolfe (Burlap to Cashmere, Rufus Wainwright, and Patty Griffin) and forged a strong bond as they wrote "Fascinate You" while hanging at Rolfe's Hollywood production room and at a Dodgers game.

Ari chose Rolfe to help him take his sound to new places and Story after Story was off to an inspired start. Veteran studio stars like drummer Shawn Pelton and keyboardist Doug Petty joined Ari to round out the lineup. Recorded in just a few weeks, Ari and company were able to realize a new depth of sound and emotion with songs like "They're On To Me," "Monsters," "The Upper Hand," and the show stopping "Didn't Want to Say Goodbye." Rolfe was impressed by his partner's relentless work ethic and burgeoning skill. "When you hear Ari sing, you have to stop and listen. He has that rare, intangible quality that elevates an artist above mere talent and craft. It's honesty you recognize the moment you hear it."

Ari recently signed with Columbia Records, and his Columbia debut, Someone To Tell, will be released on August 10th, 2004.

Black Bottom Collective- The Black Bottom Collective is made up of poets, emcees, authors, musicians, husbands, wives, and friend. They take their name from the legendary Detroit neighborhood that thrived during the 40's, 50's, and 60's. The Black Bottom Collective is made up of Khary, Tunesla, Kamau, DJ Invisible, Swami, KB, Teduardo, and Djallo. Khary founded the band after he wrote a book of poetry in 2000 entitled Outta You: Early Selfloveactivism. He wanted to keep his lyrics grounded in rhythm.

Drex Davis- Drex Davis is a singer/songwriter from Mesa, AZ. Prior to embarking on a solo music career, he recorded three albums with the seven-man singing group Two Five Nine. Drex writes many styles of music, though his most recent recordings have been compared to the melodic and groove-heavy bands Spoon, Coldplay, Pavement and The Jealous Sound.

The Everyday Visuals-The Everyday Visuals hail from New Hampshire where Christopher Pappas (songwriter, lead vocals, guitar), Tim Wilusz (guitar, keyboards), Tony DePalma (bass, vocals), Joseph Seiders (drums, vocals), and Kyle Fredrickson (guitar, keyboards) first began playing music. Originally under the name Pawn Unction this five-some has developed a sound that blends a world of rock influences with their own personal desire to explore individual expression. The Everyday Visuals blend hook-filled melodies with ear-bending chord progressions which move each listener through an intelligent and eclectic tour of their art.

They now find themselves in their early twenties, with an astounding nine years and four hundred plus shows under their belt. This impressive resume comes from choosing music as a passion early on in their lives. "Starting at such a young age gave us the opportunity to really develop our sound," says Christopher Pappas (singer, songwriter). "It also gave me the luxury to experiment and to develop my craft as a songwriter." This time has led Pappas to create truly enjoyable songs. Combine the avant-garde approach of Sonic Youth with the pop sensibility of early REM, add the lush guitars of Radiohead with the harmonies of The Jayhawks, and you've begun to capture the sound of The Everyday Visuals.

This original style of songwriting is complemented by the infectious energy of their live show. The Everyday Visuals perform with a passion that enthralls even the harshest critic. "Every member brings something special to the music'" says Tim Wilusz (guitar, keyboards), "and I think the sum of all that is what really drives the show and draws the audience in."

The Everyday Visuals have caught the ears of many radio stations around New England including Boston's Kiss 108, which aired the band in 1999, making them the only unsigned band ever to be played on the station. Local promoters have perked up to their fresh sound as well, and have included the band on to the same bill with several national acts. Rolling took interest in The Everyday Visuals upon the release of their second album and included them in the side notes section of their magazine, saying:

"In a sea of bar bands and bad hardcore acts (which seems to be the music scene in NH now), The Everyday Visuals cut through the mess with infectious pop melodies and irresistible songs."

It is with a true love of playing and performing that the five members of The Everyday Visuals have not strayed from the original goals they set forth for their music. "I've always felt that music is the best way I could speak to someone, and I'm always trying to say something new." says Pappas. Never settling for mediocrity and with no signs of a slowing pace, The Everyday Visuals will continue striving to bring their fresh new sound to the forefront of the music world.

The Honey Brothers- The Honey Brothers began as a dual-ukulele singing trio on the street corners of the East Village. Hoyt, Dorian and Dr. Carl (aka filmmaker Ari Gold, Dr. Daniel Posner, musician Andrew Vladeck) quickly adapted their act to the stage, bringing on their brothers Fluffer (movie star Adrian Grenier) and Mighty (DJ Pierre Michel) on drums and bass, and they now perform in some of the best venues in New York. Combining banjo, ukulele, electric guitar, four-part harmonies, and tight pants, their live shows are fantastic affairs. Their style bridges the gap between the Cars circa 1979, The Velvet Underground, circa 1969, and The Pepsteppers circa 1929.

If The Honey Brothers don't seem to take themselves very seriously, that might be why many others do. They electrify their audiences with great charm and great music, at a time when truly mood-enhancing rock is hard to come by. Their EP, Honey 4 U, is available online and at local stores, and a new live album is in the works.

Kervin- The increasingly obvious effects of imperialism and corporate takeover have created a musical wasteland dominated by publicity stunts and over-produced, unoriginal songs. There is an air of public dissatisfaction with today's new music: Hip-hop posturing has gotten out of hand and the supposed rock revival has proved to be nothing more than an uninspired rehashing of hard/punk rock from the '70's and '80's. People are ready for a new approach to rock and roll that draws its style from different cultures, genres, and world views. People are ready to hear a new type of rock that does not fit neatly into any of the prescribed musical categories. People are ready for Kervin.

Kervin is a four piece rock outfit that mixes many styles and genres of music to create an aural experience unmatched in originality and emotion, while retaining a healthy level of accessibility. Combining grunge, punk rock, bebop, poetry, hip-hop, metal, and Indian music, Kervin produces politically aware, driving and hypnotic songs, attacking the issues of leadership hypocrisy and citizen indifference that run rampant in today's society. Says Kervin, "Our music is made for the working class citizen, the immigrants over-worked and overlooked by popular society, and the people who want to experience something with a message other than the accumulation of wealth, getting laid, or flying away like a bird." Kervin refuses to fly away from the current state of popular music and is focused on bringing about a massive music revolution fueled by political and social awareness, a blend of cultures and musical styles, and a transcendence of the times.

Monatomic- Flash back to Spring, 1999. Jay Titus was living in Fredonia, a small college town in Western New York, living life, working and playing bass. After little convincing, brother Ben Titus decided to move back to Fredonia upon finishing a grueling 4 years at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Both brothers had been playing in groups up to this point, but none of these groups were anything they felt they could really "gel" with or take too seriously. They had some sort of vision...but they weren't quite sure what it was. They liked jazz. They liked rock and funk. They had the most fun when they could just improvise... This was the impetus that drove Monatomic into existence.

In a small town like Fredonia, it looked like it would be next to impossible to find a drummer that felt and could play the way they did. Enter the "Special People Club" a five piece classic-rock and open-mic house band that played on Monday nights at a local bar. Jay heard from the nice people at the Barker Brew Co. - now one of the group's favorite venues - that the drummer, Phil Close, was pretty solid, used to head the Fredonia jazz-ensemble, and loved to just let go and jam. It took very little convincing to get Phil over to Jay's house for their first jam session, where they opened the frenzy with the Miles Davis classic "So What" - a fitting beginning.

Right away, all three knew that something good was going to come of just came way too naturally. Two months and six new "songs" later, they decided to expand the group with one of Phil's old band mates from "Agent Porridge," saxophonist Sam Martina. The addition of the sax really clinched this new unique sound, and a few months later the group decided on the name "Monatomic" (by writing all the names they had on a sheet and choosing blind-folded...) and booked a few gigs locally.

Word spread in this little town about the jazz band that rocked, and it wasn't long until the band slid up the lakeshore to Buffalo. Starting with a few shows at Broadway Joe's, the group soon started performing at other venues, with each show being better and more well-received. Along the way, they picked up a fantastic keyboardist in Nick Murray and put out an independent album, Strictly Routine. An intentional misnomer...none of this stuff was routine. Not by a long shot.

By Fall of 2001, the band had played all over Western NewYork State in bars, clubs, opera houses, and festivals. They booked a short tour regionally, and found themselves playing to over 10,000 people opening for Jeff Healey. They could be as few as three, or as many as seven with a whole complement of horns, B3's and spoken word. Always unique, they held true to what brought them together two years earlier.

In the Spring of 2002 the band decided to Brooklyn! The group realized that they were all way too comfortable to stay in Fredonia and still accomplish what they set out to do. Well, maybe not the whole group...Sam and Nick decided this would not be a good time to move, thus leaving the band a three-piece: Phil, Jay, and Ben. The original group. The core of the reactor.

Getting gigs in New York City proved to be a huge challenge for the band. But after some convincing, they managed to get a slot at the Lion's Den in the West Village, then a series of shows at the now defunct Tobacco Road. Good beginnings, but slow. The band decided to go to every show in their "scene" to distribute promo stuff...CD's, stickers, flyers -anything that had their name on it, to try to drum up interest. Ben slipped Mark Kimbrel (guitarist for Oteil Burbridge's "Peacemakers") a CD while at a Peacemakers show, who then passed it on to his friend, Sean Nowell. Sean immediately dug the music, and contacted Monatomic about the possibility of getting together for a jam session - which instead turned into Sean sitting in at a show the band had already booked at Tobacco Road. Ben thought the name sounded familiar, but upon seeing Sean at the show, he realized they went to school together at Berklee, and Ben had actually done a few sessions with him - coincidence?? cosmic fate?? Whatever...Sean's a great player and loves the music. His experience, energy, and positive "world-domination" attitude have brought Monatomic to a whole new level.

After landing some more shows at Tobacco Road, C-Note, and Art Land, the band realized that though they were fun and moderately successful, they weren't getting in front of the right people often enough. After a one-time posting on Craig's List the band hooked up with manager Russ Nadler of Genuine Artists, a New York-based management company. Russ has been pivotal in getting shows and promotion, and in less than a month of meeting him, Monatomic found themselves headlining a show at the Knitting Factory, as well as performing shows at the Tribeca Rock Club and at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ- the right people, at the right places - more often.

If there is such a thing as a turning point in Monatomic's history, it would have to be now - in the present. They are starting to build momentum - and with residencies, local shows, and regional tours in the works - the momentum will continue to increase. Keep an eye out for them!

Nandi Walker- In the summer of 2002, Nandi (Lead Vocals) assembled a band (Real Time) that takes freestyle to the next level. The seven member band consists of Junius Bervine (Keyboards), Clay Sears (Guitar), Kevin Arthur (Bass), Clinton Jackson (Percussion), Jodoa Walker (Background Vocals) and Preston Hord (Background Vocals). This uplifting music is filled with funk, soul, rock, and jazz. At times, its music is as simple as R&B (Hip-Hop) and as complex as Afro-Latin rhythms.

Nandi Walker is the daughter of Joseph A. Walker, acclaimed playwright of the Tony Award winning play, The River Niger, and vocalist, songwriter and composer, Dorothy Ann Walker. Born to be a great songwriter and performer, Nandi began her career as an artist at the tender age of 4 when she appeared in the South African Drama, King Kong.

Nandi had many other opportunities for artistic expression. The Duke Ellington School of the Arts (Washington, D.C.) set the stage for many important events, and while a student there, Nandi starred in such musicals as Annie, West Side Story, Bubbling Brown Sugar, Cotton Club and Dreamgirls. The Duke Ellington Show Choir (Samuel Bonds, Director) kept Nandi very busy with performing for such dignitaries as Presidents Bush and Clinton. Traveling locally and abroad, Nandi was blessed to sing background for such artists as Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, Kenny Loggins, N'Dea Davenport (Brand New Heavies), Faith Evans, and Missy Elliott. It was here that foundations were laid for her recording career and for development of the recording group, Empulse.

Continuing her education, Nandi relocated to the Philadelphia area, where she attended Rutgers University. She recorded and wrote for the "Characters Music", worked for Boyz II Men and wrote songs for local artists under the Stone Creek Production Team MASPD. During her time at Rutgers University, she also worked with Andre Harris, (Michael Jackson, "Butterflies"), Dorsey Wesley of Megahertz Production (Busta Rhymes, Rah Digga). Nandi performed at local clubs such as Wilhelmina's, October Gallery, Brave New World, and the Five Spot (The Black Lily) which fostered alliances with: Musiq (Def Soul), Hidden Beach recording artists Jill Scott, Kindred and Jeff Bradshaw, Jaguar (MCA) and Dreamworks recording artists, Floetry. Nandi teamed up with Axis Music Group's Chauncey Childs, writing and working along-side super producers James Poyser, Vikter Duplaix and Junius ("Genius Child") Bervine (Lovestory - Vivian Green).


November Factory- "A house with different views in every room, and each song a place you will want to visit." This is how one listener describes the music of November Factory.

Once in a while, something comes along to make you feel alive. Something inspires you to hop in the car and drive, or shout at the top of your lungs. It lifts you out of your seat and takes you to a place you've never been. When you experience the music of November Factory, you'll go to that place --where it's ok to shout, and the sky doesn't seem that far away.

With a body of work that delves deep into human emotion and cries out the feelings we all experience, the band was formed over five years ago by Ben Declemente (bass guitar) and Charlie Molins (drums). Jamming in a garage out in Chestnut Ridge, New York, Ben remembered a guitar player from high school who played like no other he had come across, and vowed that someday he would play music with him. His dream was realized when Steve Pidel (lead guitar) joined the group, along with Rick Schultze on rhythm guitar. All of the pieces finally came together when Bob Ziegler (the New York City addition) answered an ad in the Village Voice for "Singer Wanted," and the explosion was instant. It was like adding the final ingredient to a chemistry experiment, which detonated onto the New York City music scene.

Playing frequent live shows in New Jersey and New York, November Factory has gained a dedicated following, and the response to their debut full length album, Perfect Time Of Year, has been tremendous. In today's world of fleeting pop culture, November Factory has succeeded in creating a lasting, original voice. The band is on a journey that will take them wherever their music leads. After one listen to Perfect Time of Year, you will want to come along for the ride.

Open Innerstate - Formed in 2002 in New York City, Open Innerstate has played at such venues as the Knitting Factory and the Tribeca Rock Club. Their music resembles the Foo Fighters with a bit more edge, and the use of ambient electronic music augments their sound to create a rock band unlike any other.

Sue Generis- Jake Englund, Drums, Sebastian Davin, Vocals, Piano, Seth Davin, Guitar Rob Burke, Bass

Sue Generis started as an idea between two friends at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Tired of listening to and playing in bands that sounded identical, Sebastian Davin and Jake Englund decided they wanted to be a part of something a little more original. After a couple of months writing new music and recording a full-length album, they moved back to their hometown of Minneapolis, MN. In May of 2002 they teamed up with high school friend and bassist Rob Burke and Sebastian's brother Seth to form the group Sue Generis. From the very first gig, interest in the group exploded. At every venue they play they are met with new faces, eager to find out where they can get more music.

In the next year Sue Generis hopes to not only strengthen their home fan base in Minnesota, but also broaden their range to include much of the Midwest and beyond. They are confident that as long as there are people listening, they will leave a lasting impression and contiunue to win over new fans.