… one of the most enchanting and delicately sewn, entirely brilliant pieces of experimental rock to drop the jaws of Stars or Isabel Campbell fans… — Exclaim!, Canada
Rob Corradetti is something the world needs: a great writer. His songs are always charming, clever & low-key. In the past two years, he has released many of them on two CDs with his band Mixel Pixel (namely, Rainbow Panda & Contact Kid, both highly recommended by us.) But as any Mixel Pixel fan will attest, there’s clearly room for more.
The sound is light. The mood is confidential. The lyrics are a delight.
In their ballad The Diamonds In Your Eyes, The Eastern Stars sing: “I will never behave.” You heard right. The Eastern Stars are singing about you. ~DT
- No Type
- IMNT MMR007 / 2005
- UPC/EAN 771028050727
- Total duration: 30:09
1They Know What to Do (2004), 2:48
2Lovely Love (2002), 2:27
3Little Punk (2004), 2:48
4Money Money We Want Yours (2004), 3:24
5The Diamonds in Your Eyes (2004), 2:56
6The Ticket That Exploded (2003), 2:39
7In Russian Blue (2003), 1:39
8I Fear the Love (I Will) (2004), 1:49
9White Belts / Adverse Invest (2004), 1:51
10Jail Bait Baby (2004), 3:33
11Secret # (2002), 3:51
July 5th, 1961
CD 2.0IMNT MMR007CAD 16.95
Some recommended items
In the press
Sari Delmar, Exclaim!, February 1, 2007… one of the most enchanting and delicately sewn, entirely brilliant pieces of experimental rock to drop the jaws of Stars or Isabel Campbell fans…
Brad, Both Sides of the Mouth, October 23, 2006
Jason MacNeil, Pop Matters, August 25, 2006… the sweet, subtle harmonies shine on acoustic folk-pop gems…
Kurt Orzeck, MTV.com, June 30, 2006
Rupert Bottenberg, Montreal Mirror, June 1, 2006… it’s gritty, grainy, warped and whispery quasi-folk…
John Butler, Transform, May 24, 2006It is fun, meaningful music…
Brian McMurray, Harmonium, May 17, 2006… a slightly psychedelic wonderland filled with fuzzy guitars and slow, intimate, almost always beautiful melodies.
Ross Daniel, Indie Workshop, May 15, 2006… a snapshot into a warped and comforting world of love and light.
Corey Tate, Spacelab, May 5, 2006… I like how it sounds unfinished! It’s where The Eastern Stars land that’s really captivating.
Ryan Irvine, Good Hodgkins, May 3, 2006
Babysue, May 1, 2006… soft and subtle pop compositions.
Bill Rocks, I Rock Cleveland, May 1, 2006It’s delicate, intimate and engaging.
Dodge, My Old Kentucky Blog, April 24, 2006
Well, what would you do if you were armed with a large passion for ’60s pop folklore, a need to go on sabbatical from your main stage, indie, psychedelic pop act (Mixel Pixel) and enough diversity and unique talent to possibly stand out in the opus of New York’s struggling artist scene? Well, you write one of the most enchanting and delicately sewn, entirely brilliant pieces of experimental rock to drop the jaws of Stars or Isabel Campbell fans, and leave the rest of the nation wishing on rainbows and praying to dandelions, of course. For Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong, that option seemed easily attainable due to their experienced, sonically perfect vocal blending. Rob’s dark timbre leads into hollow, soothing tunes, while Kaia’s whispering, breathy additions add mysteriously beautiful and refreshing embellishments. In the midst of the 9/11 tragedy, and living right in the shadows of the Empire State Building, Corradetti and Wong composed a breathtaking girl/boy tribute to bands like the Vaselines, and an album of inspirationally depressing ballads that are just as intriguing as they are essential for every fan of divergent art.
So today I dug deep into my library to see if I could remind you of anybody, and so I stumbled onto Brooklyn duo The Eastern Stars. Thanks to their ever knowledgable site: “The Eastern Stars took their name from Masonic roots. The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world in which both men and women may belong.” So, The Eastern Stars are, clearly, about male/female unity, and unity indeed — this duo take their charm from the use of contrasting male/female vocals. The soft, deep whispers of Rob Corradetti blend smoothly with Kaia Wong’s hushed, airy voice, and it was this attribute that qualified them a while back for my Some Are Lovers, Some Are Friends mix. The Eastern Stars’ sound definitely carries an air of folk, and their debut LP, July 5th, 1961, progresses from straight-out folk to a more experimental hand in that genre. Overall, they carry a very simplified sound that seems very stripped and bare, but it definitely works. The duo hopes to tour early next year, and is already in plans to open for Of Montréal in early March. Oh, and as for July 5th, 1961 — nothing seems to have happened that day, in case you were curious.
The Eastern Stars pick up where people like Beck and Low left off at some point in their careers. Led by Kaia Wong and Rob Corradetti, the sweet, subtle harmonies shine on acoustic folk-pop gems such as They Know What To Do. It’s the sparse, hushed, and close feeling of songs like Lovely Love that resembles Lou Reed and Nico hashing something out on an early Velvet Underground record, with each vocalist singing different lyrics at the same time with great results. Not everything is fantastic, with Little Punk too simplistic and quirky, bringing to mind Luna on an off day. Fortunately, Money Money We Want Yours is stronger, with its deliberate backbeat and creepy, eerie hues, like an urbane version of The Handsome Family. When they stick to this niche, the songs soar, especially the gorgeous The Ticket That Exploded, which hits all the right spots, while In Russian Blue is basically Stars without the bombast. The oddest of the lot has to be White Belts / Adverse Invest, a collage of influences. 6/10.
[…] Also going the innovative route are The Eastern Stars, who spray Moog, ukulele and omnichord over the 11 tracks featured on July 5th, 1961. The newbies — Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong — looked to The Moldy Peaches, The Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd for inspiration on their first effort, according to a track-by-track breakdown. The New York folksters are giving the record a soft release this week in New York and San Francisco — so it can relish the 45th anniversary of the album title, which the band calls “a date on which nothing of political or social significance occurred, yet a date on which everything imaginable happened: birth, death, tragedy, baseball and slugging back to work with holiday hangovers.” The record gets a wide release in August.
Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong of Brooklyn eclecticons Mixel Pixel spin off here with a side project that’s a bit more specific, a joint venture with Montréal’s No Type label. Somewhere between a handmade valentine to the Velvet Underground’s mellower moments and Syd Barrett shoplifting at Radio Shack, it’s gritty, grainy, warped and whispery quasi-folk, a capos ’n’ Casios affair that’s got a fair bit of bite lurking in its dreamy drift. The lyrics merit careful attention, with their sneaky wordplay and piercing perspectives. Suitable for midnight picnics in a potter’s field, or rowboat rides with rusty robots down the River Acheron (the mythologically impaired should google that last one). 7/10
July 5th, 1961 is reminiscent of exactly that: a return to gritty ‘60s Britpop, sprinkled with a dash of B-52’s overtones. The Eastern Stars are a Brooklyn-based duo who are truly onto something. The male/female dueling vocal melodies create a creepy retro feel – I mean “creepy” in a good way – comparable to Said Sadly by The Smashing Pumpkins (Iha/Gordon). The instrumentation is simple but well thought out, and – while metaphorical – the lyrics are believable.
The first two tracks on the album (They Know What To Do and Lovely Love) are primarily acoustic. From that point on, however, the album begins to define itself through programmed beats, light distortions, and gentle feedback while still keeping a rugged pop feel. The band thrive on keeping listeners on their toes, as you never know who’s singing the next line or what the next song holds. Little Punk is my favorite: it blends soothing programmed rhythms with the sounds of early B-52’s.
The band are not trying to be something they’re not, which on some songs creates minor flaws. I found myself at times wanting a fuller sound, as certain tracks felt stripped down and bare. But I’m sure such an approach can be used as a blank canvas toward evolution on future albums.
I would recommend this record to anyone who likes creative, semi-experimental music. It is fun, meaningful music that you won’t hear on MTV. The Eastern Stars most likely will never become stars at all, but I’m sure we’re all okay with that.
The Eastern Stars are New Yorkers Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong and their debut album July 5th, 1961 was recorded in the basement of Rob’s Brooklyn apartment on an 8-track as the duo took time off from their other band, Mixel Pixel.
Upon hearing the soft, circular guitar pricks and sleek strings of the first track, They Know What To Do, one could easily conclude that July 5th, 1961 is your typical modern day folk album, but delve further into the album’s 11 tracks and you’ll discover a slightly psychedelic wonderland filled with fuzzy guitars and slow, intimate, almost always beautiful melodies.
The duo that comprises The Eastern Stars obviously appreciates the male/female vocal dynamic because Wong and Corradetti share lead vocals on a majority of the tracks. A problem arises, however, in that neither of their voices is all that original or engaging. So much so, in fact, that if either Corradetti or Wong handled the vocal duties along a very numbing experience would result.
Curiously enough, this exact thing happens twice on the album. Wong is lone vocalist on The Diamonds In Your Eyes, and it turns out better than I thought it would. Her vocals are manipulated to give the impression that a duo of Kaia Wong’s are singing all the while backed by jangly guitars. The result is something fairly beautiful. The second instance where this occurs fairs a little less well, if only because this time Corradetti shares the vocal duties with himself and his voice is the less interesting of the two. Luckily, the beautiful music backing his voice lifts I Fear The Love (I Will). Its up-tempo beat and springtime violins evoke sunshiny feelings in the listener and at a minute and 50 seconds it’s hardly a criminal act.
Musically there aren’t many missteps on the album as keyboards, strings, percussion and other instruments are added and subtracted throughout with a keen sense of construct. Regardless of how emotionless the duo’s voices are, it’s hard to imagine a pair of voices better suited to the music.
Nothing worldly important happened on July 5th, 1961, but as the press info on The Eastern Stars webpage put it: it’s “a date on which everything imaginable happened: birth, death, tragedy, baseball, and slugging back to work with Holiday hangovers.” July 5th, 1961 may only be 11 tracks that stretch to a miniscule 30 minutes, but somehow Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong have managed to ooze that sensibility. There’s nothing flooringly amazing on this album, but like birth, death, tragedy, baseball… it happens, and it’ll matter to someone.
While it may not be the most slight and effervescently scintillating folk release of the year , The Eastern Stars still offer up a deliriously pretty and lovable alternative to those fed up with sitting in camping chairs hoping that they won’t have to get up to poke the fire. And boy oh boy, it’s been a heck of a folky year so far, hasn’t it? Luckily, July 5th, 1961 cannot be lumped into that particularly derivative and referentially brazen melting pot. It remains enjoyably winsome and whimsical throughout, never overstepping its boundaries or outstaying its welcome.
The glorious lilt of They Know What To Do is testament to The Eastern Stars’ ability to capture the tune you’d follow in your head, as if they were already embedded within and just needed a gentle unearthing. Bouncing acoustic guitars and the gentle jangle of blippy keyboards are seldom joined by any other instrumentation, save for the rather bewitching vocals of Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong. It its their charming interplay that brings the personality, humanising the spaces constructed by the songs themselves in an illuminatingly personal way. Fuzzier experiments are not as successful, becoming a tad repetitive after some over-zealous exposition. Little Punk is a case in point, its casio intricacies somewhat tarred by daffy lyrics and uninteresting thematic conventions. The following Money Money We Want Yours contains the gem couplet ‘Money money, we want yours, by coercion and by force’, and backs it up with stop-start playfulness and bluesy resignation to poverty. A charmer.
So The Eastern Stars can wrap themselves around a cheeky melody and have a way with words. Big deal, so can everyone else. What separates them from those already endowed with more than a day’s songwriting experience is their wibbly charm, their sense of ramshackle experimentation without losing focus on the omnipotence of the woozy spirit behind it. Recorded in an alley shadowed by the Empire State Building, this has ‘written and recorded in one night cos we were bored’ written all over it, but the sheer warmth of delivery makes up for any slightly predictable troubadour tendencies. And even then, there aren’t many of those moments flying around. The Eastern Stars manage to conjure and sustain their own dream-like atmosphere without intruding on our own – a snapshot into a warped and comforting world of love and light.
The Eastern Stars have created an escapist sort of music devoid of place and time. It has older influences transfigured (or transfixed) through today. The effect is interesting - it sounds completely modern but in a throw-back sort of way.
It can be very sparse at times, with the guitar barely clinging to the drums, a loose vocal track placed on top of that. It has a stripped down folk aesthetic with some experimental sounds put in — this could be a great soundtrack for reading old Jack Kerouac writings. That’s it! Luna crossed with Kerouac crossed with transcendental existentialism.
Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong did most of the work on this album. They’re also in a psychedelic pop band called Mixel Pixel. The music here was created under escapist tendencies back in 2001, with Rob and Kaia writing music in their Koreatown, Manhattan loft, to escape the other chaos around them. In a way they were going back to 1961, musically speaking. The music really has some retro-nostalgic vibes to it, in the same way that listening to the Carpenters can take you back in time instantly upon hearing it. The atmosphere of the music is permeated with the aesthetics of the early 60’s, not in a superficial way, but in a comfortable way.
There’s a haunting harmony betweeen Rob’s low tones and Kaia’s higher pitch. They sound ghost-like, their voices breathing out an aural glow over the top of slightly reverbed acoustic guitar.
There’s some really interesting forays here, but the music sometimes suffers from sounding incomplete. Experiments indeed, some of these songs start sounding like demos or unaltered recordings all done in one take. I keep wanting them too pull it off and sometimes they just barely miss the mark. Sometimes they confidently hit the mark though, and faith is restored. It’s interesting to listen to. Which is great for the folk vibe, and it can be more real than super glossy studio polish, but this sometimes comes across as skinny. It’s also one of the interesting dynamics on the album. Doesn’t that sound complicated? It sounds too rough… but I like how it sounds unfinished! It’s where The Eastern Stars land that’s really captivating. 3.7 out of 5 stars
Brooklyn-based indie folk/pop outfit The Eastern Stars is a band transfixed into another time and space, a simpler era both in American history and in their own personal lives. Hence the title of July 5th, 1961, a date on which nothing of political or social significance occurred, yet a date on which everything imaginable happened: birth, death, tragedy, baseball, and slugging back to work with Holiday hangovers.
Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong provide dualing lead vocals on several songs, often with adorable consequences. Infused with equal parts Galaxie 500, Elliott Smith, Beat Happening, July 5th, 1961 should provide an afternoon lift.
The Eastern Stars is the duo consisting of Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong, better known for their work in the band Mixel Pixel. Rob and Kaia recorded this album on an analogue 8-track recorder in 2004… but the results of those recording sessions are only now seeing the light of day. July 5th, 1961 features eleven tracks, most of which are soft and subtle pop compositions. The duo names a wild variety of influences including The Mamas and the Papas, Galaxie 500, Heavenly, The Shaggs, and Pink Floyd (!). Obviously an artistic project created purely out of the joy of making music, this album is simultaneously peculiar and soothing. Top picks: They Know What To Do, Money Money We Want Yours, In Russian Blue, Jail Bait Baby. (Rating: very good)
“Like Kerouac hanging out with The Carpenters.” There it is. My vote for p.r. line of the year. I didn’t bother reading the rest of it after coming across that winner. It could have said like Kerouac hanging out with The Carpenters with 10 jugs of wine and lines and lines of cocaine backstage with Van Halen. We’ll never know. We’re going to ignore that little gem.
The Eastern Stars, Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong, play this folksy psychedelic style rock. It’s delicate, intimate and engaging. It’s not quite the same words I use to describe the Carpenters or Kerouac. It’s great late night or early morning music. It’s also great for destressing at the cubicle.
The Eastern Stars debut with July 5th, 1961. New York folk singers Rob Corradetti and Kaia Wong got together in the Summer of 2004 to record this album on an 8-track in Rob’s basement in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
The Eastern Stars take their name from Masonic roots. The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women may belong, so they’re all about male/female unity. Their influences are mainly bands which feature a dual boy/girl lead vocals (The Vaselines, The Mamas and the Papas, Galaxie 500, and fellow New Yorkers, The Moldy Peaches) or use multiple “tripped out” voices (Pink Floyd, Love, Sonic Youth). They are also influenced by the Northwest sounds of mid-nineties K and Kill Rock Star bands such as The Softies, Beat Happening, Beck, Heavenly, Elliot Smith, and Lois. I really like the songs They Know What To Do, Little Punk (very 60s psych-pop), The Ticket That Exploded, In Russian Blue and Secret #. All are relatively short with only 3 songs on the whole album going over 3 minutes.