Tag Archives: Basic Vacation

CMJ PREVIEW: Ten Acts On My List To See

Start spreading the news… yes, if you haven’t heard already, I’ll be attending my first CMJ Music Marathon this year in New York City. I’m very excited for the conference and can’t wait to see (and maybe even meet) some emerging artists and bands as well as some Adam’s Top 40 favorites. There’s a few of them in the mix! In the meantime, take a look at these ten acts I definitely want to check out before the week is over.

NOTE: A full list of panels and showcases is available on the CMJ website. Please be aware some times may change and that not all events have been updated, so be sure to check back for more updates.

On the Holiday Road to stardom.

Vacation, all we ever wanted.


I wrote about this trio last week in anticipation for their performance at CMJ. Chris Greatti, Jon Paul and Mike Montalbano are signed to a relatively new label, Atom Factory Music, which will be working in conjunction with Capitol’s radio department to break their single, “I Believe”, at Alternative radio into early next year. A likely pop crossover should follow.

Performing at: Bowery Ballroom (Wednesday night)

Who's that girl.

Who’s that girl.


Remember this viral marriage proposal of a few weeks ago? Who’s pop anthem “Somebody Loves You” was featured in it, and 10 million views later, Who is the most recent signee of RCA Records, who rereleased her EP The Movement and put her on a small radio tour recently. The 22-year-old looks forward to releasing a full-length album next year under her new label.

Performing at: Pianos (Wednesday night) and Westway (Friday night)

The Birch is back.

The Birch is back.


I was a fan of Birch’s 2009 single “Nothing But A Miracle” and enjoyed the song’s parent album, Bible Belt. You might also remember her song “Valentino”, which was promoted in conjunction with the 2010 film Valentine’s Day. Fusing jazz and soul music, her album was a critical success, and she returns with Speak A Little Louder, her second release for S Curve Records.

Performing at: Gramercy Theater (Wednesday night)

Caught in the "Sun".

They’re Hall the rage around here.


I covered these Boston boys back in January as they released “Sail Into The Sun”. You may recognize it as the song featured in a Target campaign this past Spring and it picked up some airplay at Alternative radio. A handful of their songs have been considered for my chart, but “Sun” was the first to hit the top 40. Their bright pop sound is awesome and translates well live.

Performing at: The Studio at Webster Hall (Friday night)

"High Hopes" for a solid performance.

“High Hopes” for a solid performance.


Out of Dublin, Ireland, this four-man band was first known as 21 Demands before changing their name. Although they’ve done particularly well in their native country with singles like “High Hopes” and achieved some additional success in Europe, they have yet to find a following in the United States. Perhaps this will change after a few showcases in the next week or so.

Performing at: Bowery Ballroom (Wednesday night) and Santos Party House (Thursday night)

Yes, yes, yes.

Yes, yes, yes.


Time to whistle while you work your first single, am I right? The two man, one woman group from Sweden is getting pumped for a U.S. performance, which is sure to include their current single on the Alternative chart, “Pumpin’ Blood”. It stands in the top 30 at the moment. Their label, Warner Bros. Records, is also prepping a pop crossover for the song later this month.

Performing at: Mercury Lounge (Tuesday night)

Orbiting the musical planets.

Orbiting the musical planets.


This quartet is yet another PGTC Profile act with their post coming in July; it was just a few weeks before the radio servicing of their single “Say The Words”, which just missed the top 30 on the AAA survey last month. It’s now declining in spins, but still in the top 50. Featuring band member Mitch Allan, formerly of the rock band SR-71, I’m really liking their sound so far.

Performing at: Arlene’s Grocery and Rockwood Music Hall – Stage 1 (Saturday night)

Everybody's flocking to them.

An “Easy” decision to make.


These guys are the reason I found out about CMJ in the first place. They first got my attention back in late April, then I took a few listens to their self-titled EP and I’ve been loving them since. The sextet has charted two consecutive top ten singles on my top 40: “Let Me Down Easy” (#10) and now “Hold My Tongue” (#8 and climbing). I can’t wait to finally see them live!

Performing at: The Studio at Webster Hall (Tuesday night)Pianos (Friday afternoon), Sullivan Hall (Friday night) and The Delancey (Saturday afternoon)

"Heart" of the chart.

In the “Heart” of the city.


I guess I have a thing for those Australian acts, don’t I? I did a small bit on these guys when “Heart Of A Lion” went to Alternative radio back in August, although it never actually did any damage. They recently uploaded a video for their second single, “Mississippi”, which originates from the same EP as “Lion”. Sorry, there’s no colored powder party in this one.

Performing at: Pianos (Tuesday night), Pianos (Wednesday night), Santos Party House (Thursday night) and The Delancey (Saturday afternoon)

Traveling across the "Miles".

Traveling across the “Miles”.


You know her well for hits like “A Thousand Miles” and “Ordinary Day”, the latter going to #1 on my chart in the fall of 2002. An album, Be Not Nobody, was certified Platinum that year. Carlton’s major label career declined quickly after her debut era, but she’s been releasing independently for several years now. Now, she takes to stage to play the hits and more.

Performing at: Highline Ballroom (Tuesday night)

Who else will make my schedule? A little Sisqo belting out “Thong Song” on Thursday night? Maybe the pop sounds of Sweden’s Like Swimming on Friday? I’ll be sure to recap all my adventures here on POP! Goes The Charts as the week goes on. See you in New York City!

Leave a comment

Filed under CMJ 2013

PROFILE: “Believe” In Basic Vacation’s First Radio Single

On the Holiday Road to stardom.

On the Holiday Road to stardom.

How do you define a basic vacation? Is it a week at the beach, tanning your days away as the waves crash on shore? Is it a hike through the woods, canteen in hand as your take in all of Mother Nature? I’m not sure, but neither do these guys. They call themselves Basic Vacation and even though their name’s origin may just be a combination of two words that sounded OK together, the sound of their band is more than just OK. It’s actually pretty excellent and could prove to be a winner in the next year. The three teens are ready to impress with their first major label single, “I Believe”, which goes to Alternative radio with an impact date of October 29.

The trio of Chris Greatti, Jon Paul and Mike Montalbano formed in New York City last year, though they also call Philadelphia home. It was then that they released a music video for their song “If You Want To” (now private, possibly due to a membership change), an electro-pop jam that sounded straight out of 2000. It’s a tad underproduced, but I do enjoy it. Think of it as a combination of fun. vocally and Passion Pit musically. However, with limited resources to promote and a much smaller following than they have today, the song didn’t travel well. Luckily, things have been going up for the band ever since. They’re one of two acts that were signed earlier this year to Atom Factory Music, a joint effort through Capitol Records and Atom Factory Entertainment, formed by music manager Troy Carter. An EP from the band will be out October 15 with a full-length LP targeted for 2014. Right now, it’s the single that looks to hook a bigger audience.

If you know “Want” or listened to it above, then “Believe” is  a significant change in sound. It’s poppy, but not in the same way that their previous release was. It’s far more indie rock-leaning — vocally, musically and in the production value. Given the musical state of radio, it’s definitely not a bad thing; indie is in. The layered leads and chanting in the chorus is crisp, the guitars and drum are on point and it has a bigger, anthemic quality to it. There’s a little to be desired in the lyrics, mostly because the message is oversimplified, as they sing about holding onto a relationship: “I believe in me and you/No matter what they put us through or what they try to do.” Yes, I’m a little picky, but they’re capable of better and I know they have it in them. I’m sure there will be other songs on the EP that can go deeper than this, but all in all, it’s a pleasant song.

The radio aspect of this single will be done solely through Capitol, which will ensure that it gets a decent push at radio. The label has several active singles on the format right now, including “Pompeii” by Bastille (on Virgin/Capitol), likely the next #1, and “Safe And Sound” by Capital Cities (on Merge/Capitol), which is still plugging away as it slowly descends. If you’re thinking like me, you’re witnessing the beginning of potentially one of the big crossover hits of next year. The strategy is all there; that is, if this single doesn’t get lost in the holiday freeze. Remember, it’s going for adds at the end of October. Couple that with the fact that this band is relatively new and there may potentially be a red flag. That being said, it’s easy to hear that this is a really good debut single, reminiscent of offerings last year from Walk The Moon and Youngblood Hawke. If they could succeed, then so can these guys. “Believe” is also being featured on an advertisement for the NBC show The Biggest Loser, and that placement early on will also help the cuase.

The band’s on tour through the end of the month, making stops in New York City (I’m hoping to see them there at a CMJ showcase), Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, just to mention a few cities. You can get more information on the schedule through their Facebook account. Basic Vacation may be just starting out on their passage to pop paradise, but this is one trip you should plan on packing for.

Purchase “I Believe” by Basic Vacation on iTunes. / Watch the new music video for “I Believe”.

1 Comment

Filed under Single Reviews