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ECHOES OF THE DREAMTIME:

 

 

 

 

Echoes Of The Dreamtime

Invisible Hands Music. CD LP

 

After six years away, a coming of age return by the San Franciscan singer-songwriter.

 

"Richards’ third and follow up to 2009’s Light Of X couldn’t be better titled. The eight songs here, recorded with her husband, producer Rick Parker in The Sandbox, their LA home studio, with a group of musician friends, conjure a feeling of time out of time. Opener 7th Ray captures that spine-tingling otherworldly sense perfectly: “You came in on the 7th ray of the 7th day of the year,” she sings over seasoned pedal steel. "Colours So Fine", another stand out, is five and a half minutes of consciousness reawakening cloaked in rich Byrdsian country. The sublime "First Light Of Winter" though is the moment it all comes together; Richards’ transcending, perhaps, for the first time, her influences, and no longer constrained, arriving at psychedelia’s higher plane."

 

-- Lois Wilson, MOJO Magazine (four stars)

 

 

 

Born in San Francisco somewhere between Woodstock and Saturday Night Fever, Richards is a former early member of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and married to Rick Parker, who, among other things, produced Bohemian Like You for the Dandy Warhols. None of which, other than he produced this too, is particularly relevant in the appreciation of this dreamy collection of eight, pastoral tracks that average around five and a half minutes and lean heavily on atmosphere in her self-professed quest to have people slow down, listen and reflect. Indeed, the ethereal Americana of 7th Ray would feel at home in some early hours chill out room. That said, Tokyo’s Dancing is more up-tempo with its jangling guitars and a folksy air reminiscent of 10,000 Maniacs at their most light-footed. There’s a similar feel to Little Radio, her pure, comforting voice and simple acoustic guitar giving way to a fuller band sound with flashes of electric guitar overriding the softer backdrop.

The seven minute First Light of Winter is a moodier piece, the scene set with dark reverb guitar and echoey vocals before an swirling empty desert ambience embraces it, Even longer is It Was Given, a musical saw evoking the sound of the wind and backgrounding the acoustic strum through a decidedly folk number with its narrative based on Michael Haneke’s enigmatic drama The White Ribbon which, set in Germany in the run up to WWI, explores the origins of cruelty.

Elsewhere, the closing Already Fine also has a folk sensibility, more traditionally inclined this time, Colours So Fine is fairly straightforward 70s West Coast folk rock and Julian weaves Eastern colours (sitar, tabla) into its mix of flute, violin, guitar and looped percussion mix for a six-minute account of a relationship foundering through lack of trust and selfishness as she sings “I see you as a child who has needs/It’s so easy to forgive you, but it’s always me, me, me.”

While readily accessible, the combination of literate lyrics and subtle, complex arrangements means this may take longer to unfold its deeper charms than is usual, but the time spent will be well worth it.

 

-- Mike Davies, ROOTS AND BRANCHES

 

 

 

A growing trend in 2016’s musical landscape appears to be female singer-songwriters with all of the potential in the world finally ascending beyond past expectations into a lane that is fully their own. We’ve seen it with Sierra Hull’s Weighted Mind, and simultaneously it has happened with Miranda Lee Richards’ Echoes of the Dreamtime, released on the same day. Both releases see their respective artists reaching that higher plane, and for Richards, especially, it has been a long time coming. First making her solo mark as an individualistic “dream folk” artist in her mid-20s with 2001’s The Herethereafter, it has taken Richards a solid decade and a half to transcend past previous criticisms and develop an album that is fully herself as she is in the now. Matured by her years of experience performing, a now 40-year-old Richards comes across as more world-aware than she ever has been, and, as a result, more of a fresh commodity worth lending an ear to than she ever has been before.

Right off the top of Echoes of the Dreamtime, Richards opens the album with deistic sentiment laced between lilting psychedelia in her instrumentation that her fans have become acclimated towards, at this point. Still, there is something more assured, more authentic about Richards in the now that makes her latest efforts come across as more listenable affairs, that makes her latest efforts come across as more than just neat experiments, but an entire adventure waiting to delve into. She takes us on a journey as she searches for herself, coming across as a spiritual traveler looking for their own personal light as she sings of her journey, critiquing world corruption and the state of humanity along the way. This is real folk listening with modern inventiveness tossed in for good measure.

 

--Jonathan Frahm, FOR FOLKSAKE BLOG

 

 

San Francisco-born and Los Angeles-based Miranda Lee Richards is a moving singer-songwriter who once sang on early recordings of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Richards appeared with them in the rock documentary 'Dig!'

 

Her new album 'Echoes of the Dreamtime' is a hypnotic and atmospheric record, both meditative and thought provoking. It was fully recorded at her home studio, the Sandbox.

 

“You came in on the seventh ray of the seventh day of the year.” '7th Ray' begins with a gorgeous mellifluous flow. Richards’ vocal is striking from the start - sultry and rich. The opener is a story song describing a character marching to the beat of his or her own drum, who chased the night until ultimately finding a new road. The lyric “found a new way” echoes to the close.

 

'Tokyo’s Dancing' is lovely with lyrics about sleeping in a bed of roses and searching for fossils in the canyons, as well as speaking to planetary motion: “I see the earth moving slowly as she turns.”

 

These songs feature heartfelt lyrical imagery - at times a touch dark, but poignant, poetic and full of meaning. 'First Light of Winter' is beautiful and haunting: “I’ve been travelling down a dark road/Going places that no one knows… Brace yourself for the first light of winter.” The lyric and melody cut to the bone; Richards’ vocal is both chilling and resonant. A brilliant number, the song ends with hope: “The coast is clear/You will survive this.”

 

Beginning with an Eastern mystic like flow, 'Colours So Fine' captures vision from the mind’s eye. Richards sings of seeing forever, new dimensions, and colours so fine, falling from heaven.

 

The heartfelt closer 'Already Fine”'is melancholy tinged and touching, but a song of hope: “Like a soldier who fights for good/You were already fine.”

 

Resonant strings with violin and cello help to take this album home. In the end, 'Echoes of the Dreamtime' is a rich, evocative effort from Miranda Lee Richards.

 

--Carl Bookstein, PENNYBLACK MUSIC

 

 

 

A daughter of the sixties, her parents being contemporaries of Robert Crumb in the Underground Comix world of San Francisco Miranda Lee Richards first came to attention as a member of the anarchic Brian Jonestown Massacre, appearing in the acclaimed film, Dig!, which, if you haven’t seen, you should. Echoes of The Dreamtime is her third solo album and it leans more towards what one might expect from a flower child’s child as opposed to The Jonestown’s more combatative efforts. Recorded at her home studio with husband, Rick Parker producing, the eight songs here are sumptuous slices of ethereal folk/pop/rock, bathed in a sunny glow, the instruments sparkling like reflections from a crystal pool.

Richards has a glorious voice, at times reminiscent of Laura Cantrell, which is here:

-- FOR FOLKSAKE BLOG REVIEW “ECHOES OF THE DREAMTIME” – UK – 2-20-16

 

A growing trend in 2016’s musical landscape appears to be female singer-songwriters with all of the potential in the world finally ascending beyond past expectations into a lane that is fully their own. We’ve seen it with Sierra Hull’s Weighted Mind, and simultaneously it has happened with Miranda Lee Richards’ Echoes of the Dreamtime, released on the same day. Both releases see their respective artists reaching that higher plane, and for Richards, especially, it has been a long time coming. First making her solo mark as an individualistic “dream folk” artist in her mid-20s with 2001’s The Herethereafter, it has taken Richards a solid decade and a half to transcend past previous criticisms and develop an album that is fully herself as she is in the now. Matured by her years of experience performing, a now 40-year-old Richards comes across as more world-aware than she ever has been, and, as a result, more of a fresh commodity worth lending an ear to than she ever has been before.

Right off the top of Echoes of the Dreamtime, Richards opens the album with deistic sentiment laced between lilting psychedelia in her instrumentation that her fans have become acclimated towards, at this point. Still, there is something more assured, more authentic about Richards in the now that makes her latest efforts come across as more listenable affairs, that makes her latest efforts come across as more than just neat experiments, but an entire adventure waiting to delve into. She takes us on a journey as she searches for herself, coming across as a spiritual traveler looking for their own personal light as she sings of her journey, critiquing world corruption and the state of humanity along the way. This is real folk listening with modern inventiveness tossed in for good measure.

 

--Jonathan Frahm, FOR FOLKSAKE BLOG

 

 

 

A daughter of the sixties, her parents being contemporaries of Robert Crumb in the Underground Comix world of San Francisco Miranda Lee Richards first came to attention as a member of the anarchic Brian Jonestown Massacre, appearing in the acclaimed film, Dig!, which, if you haven’t seen, you should. Echoes of The Dreamtime is her third solo album and it leans more towards what one might expect from a flower child’s child as opposed to The Jonestown’s more combatative efforts. Recorded at her home studio with husband, Rick Parker producing, the eight songs here are sumptuous slices of ethereal folk/pop/rock, bathed in a sunny glow, the instruments sparkling like reflections from a crystal pool.

 

Richards has a glorious voice, at times reminiscent of Laura Cantrell, which is heard to best advantage on the flowing Tokyo Dancing, gliding over the shimmering guitars and on the closing contemplative Already Fine where she’s multi tracked over a string section with the guitar underlay recalling the English folk revival of the late sixties; the weeping cello and viola melancholic. Lyrically she veers towards the self aware meanderings and symbolic portentousness common amongst some Seventies freak flag carriers (yeah, Dave Crosby, we mean you) but when the words are wrapped up in the hypnotic swoon of a song like 7th Ray the effect is just so appealing.

 

7th Ray opens the album with a bang and the following Tokyo Dancing promises a full garden of delights here. However Little Radio is somewhat clumsy, the guitars too charged up as if the aim here is FM radio play (if that still exists), the same applying to the menacing First Light Of Winter while It Was Given tends too much towards the twee pastoral psychedelic folk that stuffed record racks back in the days. However there’s pay dirt in the two songs that are the centrepiece of the album. Julian is a direct hit into the heart of the sixties, tabla and sitar pinning the song into the Indian music fetish of the times while Colours So Fine shines, its arabesque guitars and busy drum sound hitting a Byrds like groove, the harmonies soaring aloft. More of this and the album would be that much better.

 

--Paul Kerr, BLABBER N’ SMOKE

 

 

 

“The neatest aspect of Miranda Lee Richards’ third long-player may be found in the glaring detail that it’s clearly assembled for the vinyl market.

 

Miranda’s a pretty Californian with a producer husband and a bunch of handy musician friends, making this homegrown, country-flecked pop album all just a bit of a charmer.  Straight out of the Gary Louris/Elliott Smith school of melody and stacking up a slim eight songs, Echoes Of The Dreamtime is a sweet and mystifying affair.

 

The opening triplet of ‘7th Ray’, ‘Tokyo’s Dancing’ and ‘Little Radio’ are by far the most dominant, and couple Miranda’s honeyed (double-tracked?) vocals with a confident lead guitar.  That said, Echoes trails a little for this listener, only just catching up with the folksy closer, ‘Already Fine’ – the spirit of The Wicker Man soundtrack is sent to haunt us, and Miranda Lee lands perfectly on her feet. A more than pleasant surprise.”

 

--Louis Comfort-Wiggett, SHINDIG! (Issue #53)

 

 

 

“Miranda Lee Richards is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter.  Her album Echoes Of Dreamtime is realeased on January 29th and is a tuneful mis of folk, psychedelia, country and indie pop, which comes as a slight surprise as she was taught to play guitar by her friend Kirk Hammet of Metallica.”

 

--Michael Hingston, AMERICANA ROUNDUP, COUNTRY MUSIC PEOPLE MAGAZINE

 

 

 

“ECHOES OF THE DREAMTIME is a perfectly named album.  This latest offering from American singer and songwriter, Miranda Lee Richards, has a beautiful hazy, dreamy feel.  Richards opted to focus on producing eight longer, high quality songs rather than lots of short soundbites and here it definitely pays off allowing the listener to become fully immersed.

 

The music has a mellow feel with Richards’ soft vocal soothing the listener, especially on the final track Already Fine.  I also enjoyed the Eastern-influenced Julian and more brooding First Light of Winter.

 

Many of Richards’ friends and neighbours played on the  album which was recorded at her home studio, and this comes across in the music giving it a homely feel.  Overall, a beautifully made and relaxing listen.”

 

--Helen Thomas,  MAVERICK MAGAZINE (four stars)

 

 

"Miranda Lee Richards isn’t a newbie to the Americana scene. The San Francisco singer-songwriter has two albums and an EP out, but her last, Light Of X, was back in 2009. Today, we have Richards’ new track “7th Ray” off her upcoming record Echoes Of The Dreamtime out in January. It’s a gorgeous midtempo track that sounds a bit like what Beach House come up with if they tried to write roots rock."

 

-- Grace Birnstengal, STEREOGUM

 

 

 

"What does it mean to describe a song as “psychedelic?” Most dictionaries say psychedelic pertains directly to “suggesting the effects of psychedelic drugs by having bright colors, strange sounds, etc,” which is a little close-minded. By that definition, Miranda Lee Richards’ new song is not psychedelic. It isn’t strange at all. In fact, it’s extremely mellow, easy to sink into and relaxing as a bath. But in this warm bath you come to consider the journey of your soul and subconscious experience, and perhaps the dictionary would argue that people only come into contact with that abstract sense of self on drugs. And since “7th Ray” begins with the line “You came in on the 7th ray of the 7th day of the year,” we’re all clearly high if we can connect to the imagery.

 

OK, this concludes our brief battle with the limited worldview of online dictionaries. Instead let’s get back to Miranda Lee Richards and her folk-rock stuff, a woman who learned guitar from Kirk Hammet of Metallica, by the way. “7th Ray” is a cut from her first album in six years, “Echoes Of The Dreamtime,” recorded at home with producer Rick Parker (who has worked with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Lord Huron). It will be released by Invisible Hands Music on Jan. 29. Setting the mood, Richards says her first single is “about transformation, about the journey of the soul in this lifetime. You start off beautiful, innocent and sure of yourself, and along the way, things happen that allow disillusionment to set in.” The song comes to a positive conclusion “where you find a new way to experience more joy and contentment, reclaiming a relationship with your true self in the process,” she says. Anyone can benefit from putting that in their pipe."

 

-- Daiana Feuer, BUZZBANDS L.A.

 

Darkly Atmospheric, Articulate Tales of Love and Loss.

 

The slightly psychedelic and 60’s inspired album cover very nearly put me off listening to this delightful album for a couple of weeks; as I was expecting something in the mode of Pentangle or perhaps some Indie-Hippie pastiche like Kulashaker; but I was a little bit wrong.

Opening track, 7th Ray made me sit back and listen intently as soon as Miranda’s smoke voice entered the frey; as she immediately reminded me of Caution Horses era Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies). The lyrics are quite deep; but listening on headphones was quite a ‘buzz’ and took me back to those heady days of being a teenager; trying to deconstruct songs.

The Cowboy Junkies theme came back to me during the spiky Littleradio; an soft acoustic song but with a slightly Gothic edge when the fuzzy guitars kick in. Just what I needed in the aftermath of those Christmas excesses.

Aha! I knew she couldn’t get through this album without a cursory nod towards psychedelia; and it arrives courtesy of Julian; a rather beautiful song with a violin, cello and viola that could have been recorded in West London between 1968 and 70; but it’s not and will sound as fresh as a daisy to anyone under 25.

Later on Colours So Fine; someone manages to make their instrument (possibly a slide guitar) sound like a sinister sitar; an odd thing to do, sounding spooky and wonderful in equal measures; as does the song itself.

While there are only 8 tracks here; don’t worry as the shortest song is four and a half minutes long and the epic It Was Given clocks in slightly shy of eight minutes with not a second wasted; as Miranda cloaks us in a story of Percy Bysshe Shelley proportions.

Echoes of a Dreamtime is another album that should be listened to as a complete work; preferably late at night with candles flickering and the third glass of something strong and alcoholic by your side; but if pushed I would recommend the stunning First Light of Winter as your entry portal to see if you might like the album.

I mentioned the Cowboy Junkies earlier; and Miranda Lee Richards will certainly appeal to their fans; alongside lovers of Lucinda Williams, The Handsome Family and most of all Tift Merritt.

Although Miranda Lee Richards released her first LP in 2001 on the fledgling Virgin Records label; she’s actually a new name to me; but on hearing this beautifully constructed album; I will actively be seeking out her earlier work.

 

Released January 29th 2016

 

--THE ROCKING MAGPIE BLOG

 

 

 

Miranda Lee Richards - Echoes of the Dreamtime : Invisible Hands Music

 

"With the strains of 2016 just barely breaking through, a strong candidate for the most appropriate title of the year has emerged. Instead of being the name of the record, ECHOES OF THE DREAMTIME is a heaven sent quote to describe its sound which floats in a celestial haze throughout a pleasurable forty-five minutes spent within listening distance. In fact to be more accurate, Miranda Lee Richards has been the source of a gorgeous album packed full of ethereal ambience while being underpinned by a sturdy substance. For definition purposes, the album resides at a multi-sound junction where the paths of folk, pop, indie and Americana meet. It has hardly been a prolific solo recording career for Miranda, a San Francisco born LA native, with this just being her fourth full length release since 2001. However if such inactivity in populating her own solo back catalogue has led to bundles of suppressed creative energy, then the clear winners are those who will be smitten by the new record. The Californian laid back feeling may just be an illusion for those of us thousands of miles from the Pacific west coast, but this idyllic concept is further fuelled by melting your senses into the eight tracks which configure the album. Don’t be misled by this apparent low number as plenty of six and eight minute songs are on offer, each blending Miranda’s sumptuous vocals with a mix of indie-driven subtle guitars and more cultured string arrangements.The album is being given a worldwide release through Invisible Hands Music and is virtually a home produced record with Miranda’s husband, Rick Parker undertaking the production role. The team have certainly come up trumps with perhaps two tracks vying for number one appeal led by the great hooks and delightful melody which adorns ‘Tokyo’s Dancing’, with the added enticing appeal of a super guitar solo in the final stages. ‘First Light of Winter’is a track with a faint slice of twang that builds up to a soaring chorus. There is definitely an indie vibe to both the acoustic and electric parts to ‘Little Radio’ which almost sees the album break out of its shell. However this shell is far from restrictive and adds a comforting protective feel which gives the record a soothing medicinal purpose. It is always handy to possess an opening track with an addictive feel as well and the excellent ‘7th Ray’ pulls this off to a tee. These four aforementioned tracks comprise of the record’s first half with there being a slightly different atmosphere to the second part which climaxes with the dream-laden ‘Already Fine’ where the cello kicks in. Prior to this, the eight-minute epic ‘It Was Given’ continues to mesmerise the listener in perhaps a softer vein than the early stages, but also allowing them to focus more on Miranda’s vocals. It may be a co-incidence but Miranda had a surge of success in Japan early in her career and the track ‘Julian’ does have a slight Eastern mystique to it. ‘Colours So Fine’ completes the track listing and further merges into the well-worn philosophy of an album entity being greater than the sum of its parts. Obviously lesser releases lean heavily on stand-out tracks, but this record has its soul firmly rooted in the complete album camp.ECHOES OF THE DREAMTIME is the antithesis of a throw-away society where shallow music is consigned to the wallpaper or the trash bin. The underlying high quality riffs and beats secure a solid base for Miranda’s vocals to melt the heart with the added bonus of eight marvellously constructed songs. It may only be January, but there is almost a summer glow to the record. Miranda Lee Richards has obviously kept this gem under wraps until now, with a firm prediction that it will float around for a long time."

 

-- David, THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH Blog, UK

 

 

 

"Miranda Lee Richards was a name not known to me prior to receiving this CD for review. It came with a very informative press release and a subsequent look through her excellent website filled in lots of gaps. For the uninitiated like me, Miranda was born in San Francisco after the summer of love and grew up in a bohemian household with her Parents, the well-known comic book writers Ted and Teresa Richards. Graduating from the San Francisco School of Arts her initial forays into music included learning guitar from Metallica's Kirk Hammett and a spell with The Brian Jonestown Band as a singer. As a solo artist, Miranda released albums in 2001 and 2009 and her music has been featured in films and several TV series, primarily in the United States.

 

This latest release was recorded in her home studio with her husband and producer Rick Parker who has worked with artists such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Dandy Warhols. Her mission statement for this CD was to bring together eight pastoral, atmospheric pieces that should amount to her best work yet.

 

So, on to the record itself. The opening track, '7th Ray', certainly sets the albums stall out in terms of feel, playing and atmosphere. It is recorded beautifully and whilst repeated listens reveal how much is going on in the track, never does it sound remotely busy or cluttered. The sound on this and throughout is very hard to pin down, as is her voice. The press release talks of Miranda's first album in 2001 being a mix of folk, psychedelia and country which seems apposite, to which I would add a meditational, new age vibe.

 

So on '7th Ray' I hear almost a Morcheeba like, lazy, leisurely, Trip Hop feel going on with some lovely instrumentation and drum track before Miranda's voice comes in with the lyric 'You came in on the 7th ray, of the 7th day, of the year' which sets a suitably ethereal tone. The recording of her voice on this track is also very interesting I think, warm but slightly distant and sounding on top of the music but still somehow slightly back from it. At times, this and other tracks reminded me of those early 70's recordings by artists like Tim Buckley and Fairport Convention, particularly the vocal take, whilst still sounding polished and new.

 

The second track 'Tokyo's Dancing' is very strong, again full of lovely playing and put me in mind of Natalie Merchant's 10,000 Maniacs with its jangly guitars and harmony vocals.

 

Track three 'Little Radio' starts off simply with acoustic guitar and Miranda's voice before the band come in with electric guitar and drums after about a minute to push the song through as the vocal moves further back in the mix.

 

Other stand out tracks are the nearly seven minute long 'First Flight of Winter' with its deep, gloomy, reverb ridden guitar intro followed by a spacey vocal intoning 'I've been travelling, down a dark road'. I can easily imagine the first 30 seconds of this song introducing the next Peaky Blinders trailer!

 

However, the song is restless and moves on from this feel into something more gentle and meditative as the band comes in.

 

The longest track on the album 'It Was Given' comes in at one second under eight minutes and is another that starts with a gently strummed chord sequence over what I think is a musical saw drone. It is beautifully haunting and reminded me of those sequences in the Jack Nicholson film 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' where something sounding like this was played over key, moving moments. Initially I assumed it was a keyboard getting this sound, but the press release mentions a neighbour playing the musical saw, so I hope it was they!

 

The last track, 'Already Fine' is my personal favourite, starting with a sweetly picked guitar part that Miranda simply hums over before coming in with the full vocal, very much putting me in mind of Sandy Denny and the traditional song 'She Moved Through The Fair.

 

The playing on the album is universally tight and apparently, many friends and neighbours are featured throughout on guitar, cello, viola, violin, backing vocals and the previously mentioned musical saw.

 

In some ways, I think this is a brave piece of work, as Miranda seems to be making no concessions to current sounds or trends and is very much following her own instincts and beliefs. Clearly, this will appeal to her existing fan base, which seems considerable in the United States and I can imagine numerous clips or passages from these songs used in the media, on television or in films.

 

However, her commitment to this sound may also have a limiting effect concerning a more general reception. Firstly, all the songs are long, some very long, certainly by UK radio play standards. Secondly, the meditative nature of the songs mean that by definition they take a long time to get where they are going and as the music is quite one paced, some tracks tend to blend into one another without a clear musical distinction between them. Lastly, I do think the sound and production is somehow not of this time. That is not to say it sounds dated or old fashioned, indeed the recording quality is excellent, just that it may be something of an acquired taste being so stylised, smooth and seamless.

 

Overall though, I see these as possible placement rather than quality problems and particularly with repeated listens, all sorts of textures, tones and depths reveal themselves, which I think was Miranda's stated aim in capturing people's attention and inspiring them to 'slow down, listen and reflect'."

 

-- Paul Jackson, FATEA BLOG

 

 

 

"Miranda Lee Richards first appeared on music fans’ radar via her collaborations with Brian Jonestown Massacre, though she never officially joined the band. The association gained the kind of industry attention that enabled her to record her first solo record, 2001’s The Herethereafter, in which she expertly wove assorted threads of folk, psychedelia, and dreamy pop into a highly praised debut, earning comparisons to Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval and the Innocence Mission’s Karen Peris. 2009’s follow-up Light of X mined similar territory but generated a less warm reception, with some critics worrying that Richards’ lyrical abilities did not live up to the sonic moods and influences she evoked.

 

Whether or not those criticisms struck home, Richards returns seven years on with Echoes of the Dreamtime, an album that fulfills all the promise of her debut and which finds her maturing into the kind of songwriter who can surprise listeners with turns of phrase or sound that seem familiar until examined closely. Richards offers up a deeply spiritual album here, some may say Christian in its referential symbolism, but more deistic to my ears, taking for granted a greater power in the universe but not getting lost in any need to solve the mystery of that power’s origin or purpose, beyond seeing in it a wish for benevolence for its creations.

 

The overarching theme of searching appears from the album’s opening cut, “7th Ray”, with its story of an innocent “born with feathers in your hair” searching for meaning amidst the glitz of the urban club scene, seeking connection amidst the falsity, only to, as layered guitars mix welcoming riffs, find “a new way home”. “Tokyo Dancing” offers a similar story, its subject searching for meaning only to face a beast of indistinct but sinister purpose. Nonetheless, the message is to continue on, for only through persistence will we learn “What’s in store for our future.” In “Colors So Fine” Richards reveals an understanding that, though her vision is promising, she is still far from the path to enlightenment, while “Julian” demonstrates her ability to cut through the bullshit and call out a false prophet. The subject of this song seems like a guru who promises spiritual conversion as a means, simply, of converting faith to profit.

 

One of the album’s highlights is its first single “First Light of Winter”. Accompanied by a swampy psychedelia, Richards embraces the insatiable hunger of her striving, seeing it as the beast inside herself that it is and welcoming it into a warm embrace. There’s a hint of Berryman’s Dream Songs to this internal monologue when she counsels herself to “grab the line before you hit the bottom”. When she states a wish to “write a letter to the government”, it is with a sense of dis-ease with all powers that be, not so much a criticism of any particular administration, but a giving into a general sense that the system is no longer able to protect us from the many terrors surrounding us, both from within and without.

 

This sense of lost compass is amplified in “It Was Given”, a song, Richards notes, that was inspired by Michael Haneke’s film The White Ribbon. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert wrote, “Random wicked acts create disorder and erode the people’s faith that life makes sense. The suspicion that the known facts cannot be made to add up is as disturbing as if the earth gave way beneath our feet.” Richards’ lyrics do a fine job of encapsulating the plot and mirroring a sense of dread where “even the children with their angelic stares” are suspected of hiding something. That order is eventually restored without benefit of the many mysteries being solved is a cold comfort.

 

And perhaps there is something of an answer there. Prayers aren’t answered, but that doesn’t make them false. The spiritual quest should never be concluded. Every possible answer is a possible trap denying progression into perception of a deeper awareness. Album closer “Already fine” offers a psalm’s simplicity in stark contrast to the busy symbolism of the album’s seven other tracks. “Like frankincense, myrrh, and wine / You were already fine.” Each lyric is as simple and direct. At album’s end, the journey is not yet over, but there remains awareness that the striving that drives the journey might itself be misleading. This sense of contentment in the lack of answers is the definition of maturity.

 

Produced by Rick Parker, who also plays multiple instruments, and grounded by the strong lead guitar work of Randy Billings, the musical arrangements on Echoes of the Dreamtime surround Richards’ warm voice in complementary sonic textures that welcome the listener into her musings. The folk-psychedelic accompaniments are never overly busy as they set the mood for each song. In all, the eight tracks that comprise the album flow seamlessly into each other, creating a vibrant whole. Richards has grown beyond her influences and is ready to become, herself, a spirit guide to a new generation of songwriters."

 

 

 

--Ed Whitelock, POP MATTERS

 

 

ECHOES OF THE DREAMTIME

 

Rating: 7/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIGHT OF X PRESS:

 

 

“The follow-up to her debut album evokes her Cali dream-pop heroes Mazzy Star, although Richards' music is airier and poppier — think of it as freak folk with just a schmear of freak. ‘Life Boat’ is a big, warm hug with dub effects, pedal steel and hash-den tambourine; ‘Mirror at the End’ sports a chorus big enough for Sheryl Crow. Delivered in a pure, unblemished voice, even the sad songs are comforting…"

 

--Will Hermes, ROLLING STONE

 

 

 

"Another L.A.-based artist, Miranda Lee Richards, has veered from the trendy norm, with her latest release, LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk). Sonic portraits of Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris color almost every track of this album (particularly ‘Hideaway’ and ‘Hidden Treasure’), and Richards feels no need to disguise her nod to these luminaries--nor should she. The singer successfully channels her hippie-princess vibe through wah-wah pedal steel and lithe soprano, resulting in retro-leaning, Baroque folk-pop perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. X reminds us, once again, that the creative Mecca Laurel Canyon is not just a place but also a sound and state of mind. "

 

--Jessica Draper, PERFORMING SONGWRITER

 

 

 

“The dreaminess that made The Herethereafter so appealing, and popular with film and TV soundtracks, is still there. If anything, she’s dreamier, the tempos a little more down, the mood more twilit. Her songs and vocals are as likely to be accompanied by piano (Breathless) and cello (Hidden Treasures) as acoustic guitar and pedal steel.

 

--SS, MOJO

 

 

 

“California country has always been as much about evoking a magic-hour atmosphere as the genre’s traditional strum-and-twang. Richards’ new album, Light of X, is as beguiling and witchy as Joni Mitchell but also dripped in reverb, distant pedal steel and Richards’ tender alto.

 

--LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

 

 

“Seven years after her critically lauded debut, Richards returns…with touches of airy psychedelia and loping country. The album is full of airy beauty and precious melodies sung in an angelic voice.”

 

--Frank Valish, UNDER THE RADAR

 

 

 

“A self-described practitioner of ‘psychedelic chamber folk rock,’ San Francisco hippie child Miranda Lee Richards certainly has her fair share of friends. She was schooled in rock by her buddy's boyfriend, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, and teamed up with Jon Brion and producer Rick Parker (the Von Bondies, BRMC) for her critically acclaimed debut, The Herethereafter. Fans of that disc were pleased to find her newest record, LIGHT OF X travels similarly moody terrain, employing equally impressive support from the likes of Mars Volta bassist Eva Gardner, Mazzy Star drummer Keith Mitchell, and Beachwood Sparks guitarist Josh Schwartz.”

 

--FLAVORPILL

 

 

 

“On LIGHT OF X, Richards sounds like a Southern California incarnation of ethereal Canadians Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt, dressing these 12 tracks with warmly swelling melodies; poetic, melancholy lyrics; carefully nuanced arrangements; and smooth dynamics that ebb and flow in a low-key manner.”

 

--Gary Graff, BILLBOARD

 

 

 

"The soft but assured vocals of Miranda Lee Richards cast a glow upon the delicate, 60's inspired folk-pop on her new CD, LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk). The chiming guitars, strings and piano shine with a melancholy dreaminess, and so do Richards's lyrics. (‘Finally, there's something/I can hold onto that isn't broken’)."

 

--Scott Frampton, O (THE OPRAH MAGAZINE)

 

 

 

“A mash-up of Mazzy Star’s etherealness and Lucinda Williams’ folksy lyricism creates a composite of wind, sea and cotton-soft tracks that have a familiar, time-tested feeling. This Cali-coastal coolness is something Richards refers to as ‘Psychedelic Chamber Folk Rock’ equally soothing as the sun’s breaking or setting.”

 

--Laura Schooling, ANGELENO

 

 

 

 “The Herethereafter, the debut album from Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Miranda Lee Richards, was one of my favorite albums of the early part of this decade. Nearly eight years later, Richards returns with Light Of X, twelve tracks (plus one hidden track) that more than deliver on the promise of that first record. Like its predecessor, Light Of X is a mixture of folk, rock, and psychedelia, though with a little less emphasis on the latter this time out. Richards calls the music found here ‘Psychedelic Chamber Folk Rock,’ the ‘Chamber’ part referring to the lovely string arrangements that appear on some of the songs. Since Richards released her last record, her singing voice and her songwriting abilities have matured: Light Of X represents both a continuation of The Herethereafter and a progression forward. It’s a elegant and lovely work, filled with warmth and compassion, and it’s done with enough intelligence and built in resistance to easy sentimentality that it should appeal to even those listeners for whom the word ‘folk’ is a red flag. It’s enough to give ‘Pixie Fairy Dust Chick Music’ (as Courtney Taylor from the Dandy Warhols teasingly refers to Richards’ music) a good name. Standout cuts: ‘Breathless,’ ‘Life Boat,’ ‘Early November’ and ‘Last Days Of Summer.’

 

--THIS IS JUST A MODERN ROCK BLOG

 

 

 

“Her latest album, LIGHT OF X is arranged for maximum magic-hour scintillation, and Richards' willowy voice brings deceptively cutting lyrics to life."

 

--August Brown, LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

 

 

“Part of L.A.’s tastemaking Hotel Café scene, boho pop-folkie Richards has been kicking around the music scene for the past decade, collaborating with the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Joe Brion and licensing songs to film and TV. Light of X, helmed by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club producer Rick Parker, is a subtly crafted platter of dreamy, Mazzy Starr-meets-One Tree Hill pop. ‘Am I crazy, or are you blind?’ Richards asks over a gently chugging rhythm on ‘Early November.’ As with the cryptic single ‘Lifeboat’ (‘Freedom, my love, is a double-sided coin/What have you done to earn your keep?’), the answer’s not in the lyrics; it’s in the ride over waves of brooding electric guitar, piano and pedal steel, and the melancholy contours of Richards’ soprano."

 

--Bliss Bowen, FADE IN

 

 

 

“...when some darkness descends, as on ‘Pictures of You,’ her perky nature adds a bittersweet twist to the added emotional weight.”

 

--Andy Fyfe, Q

 

 

 

“In 2001, Richards made a dreamy little pop record that hardly anyone heard, but it'll be hard to ignore her when her sophomore release, LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk), arrives Feb. 10. The boho-chic California native really honed her sound in the interim, even if she rarely stays in one spot for long on the new album. One minute she sounds like a sun-kissed pop chanteuse, the next she's channeling a dusky torch singer reminiscent of Cat Power. Miranda wrote all the songs on X, but her supporting cast brings a wealth of obvious influences: drummer Keith Mitchell (Mazzy Star), bassist Eva Gardner (Mars Volta), and guitarist Josh Schwartz (Beachwood Sparks).”

 

--James Reed, BOSTON GLOBE

 

 

 

“[The songs] are triumphant, even exultant…the songs on this ol’ long-player manage to bridge the gap between melancholy and aw-shucks happiness, like the freedom found in finally letting go of all that once was good to you…Light of X is good when the lights are out and all around is dark.”

 

--Dan Collins, L.A. RECORD

 

 

 

”Glorious sun-dappled cosmic country from the one-time BJM associate. Like Mazzy Star blinking into the morning light, the yellow vinyl makes it even more sunny.”

 

-- NME

 

 

 

“Her long-awaited follow-up album, the new LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk), produced by Rick Parker, charms with delicate, carefully rendered balladry and gently laid-back pop tunes. There’s a hint of country music and wide-open spaces with Ben Peeler’s pedal-steel adornments on ‘Savorin’ Your Smile’ and ‘Olive Tree,’ and Richards’ radiant voice lights up the dusky guitar riffs of ‘Early November.’ She gives good jangle on the power-pop reverie ‘Pictures of You,’ while Parker frames her solemn piano chords with shimmering guitar plucking on the ballad ‘Here by the Window,’ which builds a haunting momentum with bluesy grandeur.”

 

--Falling James, LA WEEKLY

 

 

 

 “As ever, while the bigwigs look for the next female singer-songwriter with the perfect package of deep musical talent and great looks in all the wrong places— karaoke bars, shopping malls, and strip clubs, by the look of it —the genuine article sneaked through the back door unnoticed and unannounced. Miranda Lee Richards offered her lovely debut The Herethereafter in 2001, and spent most of the time following that release touring, showing up in hip indie films like Ondi Timoner’s Dig!, and performing with the likes of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Tim Burgess of the Charlatans. Now, with her debut for Nettwerk records, Richards has crafted a gorgeous collection of softly lit chamber-folk songs that highlight her lilting, understated singing. Think Mazzy Starr after a few cups of coffee. The production is warm and billowing, but the generous amounts of reverb only underscore Richards’ subtle, dreamy singing, never obscuring it. Sensitive, mellow, deeply feminine folk music that isn’t boring or overtly precious—well, that’s a rare thing. Light of X is stuffed with it.”

 

--Jeff Miers, BUFFALO NEWS

 

 

 

“Eight years ago, Miranda Lee Richards released her astonishing debut, The Herethereafter, to a cynical, just barely post-9/11 world that somehow didn’t understand her contemporary spin on ’60s Psychedelia and Folk, taking her cues from The Stones, The Doors, Nick Drake and the Mamas and the Papas. I fell hard for the album and her incredible backstory (daughter of underground cartoonists, took guitar lessons from Kirk Hammett as a teenager, professional modeling career, sang with the Brian Jonestown Massacre). Beginning where she left off on The Herethereafter, Richards eases into Light of X with ‘Breathless,’ a gorgeous piano ballad that effortlessly reprises her debut’s stunningly hushed closer, ‘The Landscape,’ based on a poem by Baudelaire. Richards intones emotionally ‘Before I met you, my life was a series of chances/Before I met you, my mind it was racing all the time,’ accompanied by a soundtrack that would make Fleetwood Mac green with Pop envy. Richards invests Light of X with a psychedelic SoCal cowgirl vibe, from the shimmering and ethereally grounded ‘Lifeboat’ to the Cowboy Junkies moan of ‘Mirror at the End.’ At the same time, she deftly channels a little Sarah McLachlan Pop into ‘Hideaway’ and casts a darker Nick Cave pall over ‘Early November,’ at least until brightening slightly for the jangly chorus…Here’s hoping that minds and ears are a little more open in 2009 (and a hopeful wish to Richards that we won’t be praising her third album in 2017). Grade: A”

 

--Brian Baker, CINCINNATI CITY BEAT

 

 

 

“...a fine album that recalls the psych-country of Cali-coastal acts such as Beachwood Sparks and Graham Parsons.”

 

--Michael Ayers, AOL SPINNER

 

 

 

“Richards melds her ethereal vocals with a gentle lyricism, dusky melodicism and a wellspring of country, acoustic dream pop, folk and meditative melancholy. Songs like ‘Breathless,’ ‘Life Boat’ (released last year as a European single) and first stateside single “Early November” rival anything from likeminded artists. For example, ‘Hideaway’ marries Aimee Mann’s rueful honesty with Fiona Apple’s art-pop luster. Civil kiss-off ‘Savorin’ Your Smile’ links Hope Sandoval’s slowcore sensuousness with the Cowboy Junkies sedative country tendencies. Reverb and subtle revolt ground the stirring anti-war ballad ‘That Baby.’ Light of X has a sepia tone that works best with detailed concentration, so listeners can tune into Richards’ hints, clues and intimate truths.”

 

--Doug Simpson, CAMPUS CIRCLE

 

 

 

“Miranda Lee Richards-This songbird grew up amid the bohemia of 1970s San Francisco, which fed her adoration for folk ballads and psychedelic rock. LIGHT OF X mixes those genres with a woozy hand, yielding a number of lilting, echoing gems. Look for the album on February 10--just in time to combat the winter doldrums with hazy California folk. “

 

--Andrew Leahey, WASHINGTON TIMES

 

 

 

“It's tough not to be attracted to someone who describes her music as ‘psychedelic chamber folk rock.’ Others have more accurately termed it ‘ambient Americana’ yet no matter what labels you choose to use, there's something hypnotic and captivating about Miranda Lee Richards' LIGHT OF X. A former member of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Richards' supple vocals occasionally evoke traces of the best side of Natalie Merchant. And with producer/engineer/mixer Rick Parker by her side, she's constructed a dream-weaving, highly-atmospheric set, sometimes turning in steel-splashed, alt-country material like ‘Savorin' Your Smile,’ sometimes showing her growling and passionate side (‘Mirror at the End’) and frequently giving us a taste of her melodic grace, like on the slowly pulsating first single ‘Early November.’

 

--Kevin O’Hare, NEWHOUSE NEWS WIRE

 

 

 

"Featuring 12 gentle and delicate alterna-pop songs, LIGHT OF X highlights Richards' strongest asset-her clear yet ethereal voice."

 

--Kim Newman, VENUS

 

 

 

"You would expect that with a name like Miranda Lee Richards that raw blues would be part of the repertoire.  Long legs in long boots, deep and piercing eyes and a chilling folk blues approach that knocked me over. Belonging to the modern visceral genre of The Pierces and Florence and the Machine yet with clear influences of The Byrds, The Stones and even Eva Cassidy, Miranda Lee Richards showed an experience and attitude greater than her years.  While she wore a big smile that engaged the audience there was a mystery and air of wicked rebellion in her eyes.  This came through in her music.  Potent tunes of warmth on the outside but with dark overtones signaled the eerie wariness of a cat waiting to pounce. I was on the edge of being entrapped, terrified and falling in love at the same time. Her first song ‘Savouring Your Smile’ was a melodic pop tune with gentle harmonica and guitar, and part of the lulling process. ‘Olive Tree’ then told of missing hearts and a wistful sadness before she introduced Life Boat, a new vinyl-only single release that reminded me more of Scottish folk than something of hipster San Francisco origin.  Her only cover came next, Bob Dylan’s ‘She Belongs To Me’, and her repetitive Dylanesque vocals took us to another time. The trance continued as her pure blues ‘Swamp Song’ ventured into John Lee territory and all that was missing was a foot-tapping accompaniment; this was stripped down and intimate.  Miranda told us that she had left the required harmonica behind so we were going to get a nude version. ‘Swamp’ exposed her extraordinary talent for the understated. Talking to her afterwards she explained the thrill of giving the audience nothing in terms of clues and delighted in holding back in order to remain mysterious.  She agreed that a full blues band as backing could take the sound up and over, but for now the feelings of loss and restitution were best served by solo slots such as this.  ‘Worth’ reminded me of the Cowboy Junkies mixed with tones of Ry Cooder before ‘Early November’ ended the set in a catchier encore-like fashion.  Miranda told me her new album, as yet untitled, is out early next year (an evolutionary follow-up to The Herethereafter from 2001) and that she is simply expanding her road experience perhaps in readiness for a larger tour to promote its eventual release.  I’ll be waiting."

 

--Gareth Hayes, BLUES IN BRITTAIN

 

 

 

"Largo fits like a glove for Miranda Lee Richards. The model-turned singer/songwriter played to a near capacity crowd at the relocated Fairfax hideout Thursday night, with a setlist that proved all evidence to Richards' listening-room only status. It was the stripped nature of her Light of X repertoire that became the centerpiece of her set. Considering the airy folk/pop essence of Richards' writing, the singer/songwriter trifecta of guitar, piano, and harmonica accompaniment fared all too fitting in the quiet solo setting. A live backing group would have only hindered Richards' signature inflections; while unlikely timed, the subtle vocal marks of pain and pleasure are pure, and pure evokes the kind of honesty demanded by her works. While Largo does have a strict no-talking/no-distraction policy, the crowd's magnetic attention wasn't owed to venue rules -- it was owed to Richards' songs convincing that not one note, lyric, or moment be spared.”

 

--Hugo Gomez THE DELI MAGAZINE

 

 

 

"Richard’s voice is powerful, but she rarely wields it that way.  The childlike chanteuse prefers to be a lullaby singer, and with a top notch band keeping equally restrained behind her, she let the melodic grace of her comeback Light of X’s gossamer folk and canyon rock preside.  One hears heart music when her sonorous, bird-like voice appears, as simple, homespun, and unaffected as her hippy-vestige dress.  Most often she strums a guitar or massages a keyboard as lightly as her vocal delivery, fresh examples of how “soft is the new loud.”  Or, on the tunes requiring belting, especially showstopper “Early November,” she betrayed passion to go with smiling charm, talent, and wholesome blonde ex-model looks.  In the end, she made hipster-central seem like an enchanted coffee house.  How’d she pull that one off?

 

--Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover

 

 

 

“Former Brian Jonestown Massacre member Miranda Lee Richards debuted new material from her forthcoming solo album in Los Angeles last night (November 19, ‘08). Richards, who learned to play the guitar from Metallica's Kirk Hammett, performed her wistful pop-rock tunes for a packed house at Tangier. She played several tracks off of LIGHT OF X, which is due out in the U.S. on February 10 and features Mazzy Star's Keith Mitchell on drums and Josh Schwartz of Beachwood Sparks on guitar."

 

--Laura Ferreiro, NME.com (Live review)

 

 

"Possibly keeping the peace by momentarily standing in between the Reids was L.A.-based guest vocalist Miranda Lee Richards. (You may remember her from the rockmumetary Dig, in which she stares at the camera and begs Brian Jonestown Massacre basket case Anton Newcombe, "Please don't die!") Miranda sang the girly part of "Just Like Honey" last night, and though she may not have as marquee-worthy a name as Scarlett Johansson, I must say she did a better job."

 

--Lyndsey Parker, NME.com

 

 

 

"For my first official showcase of South By Southwest 2010 I chose the St. David Episcopal Church and Miranda Lee Richards. The former member of Brian Jonestown Massacre hasn't been through St. Louis in maybe nine years (correct me if I'm wrong; that's what Miranda recalls), but her 2009 album Light of X and her first solo album The Herethereafter are as pure as neo-psych-folk-adult-contemporary-pop get. This night she appeared with just guitar, harmonica and a sideman on 12-string and cigar box slide, a grittier presentation than I would have guessed. In the sanctuary, she sounded like nothing so much as a dreamier Patty Griffin, and when she closed out the night with two songs on the Steinway baby grand, not even the fools shooting with flash could distract her or the small crowd from the breathtaking beauty of her songs. That will be the set to beat this year.

 

--Roy Kasten, The Riverfront Times Blog

 

 

 

“On LIGHT OF X, Richards sounds like a Southern California incarnation of ethereal Canadians Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt, dressing these 12 tracks with warmly swelling melodies; poetic, melancholy lyrics; carefully nuanced arrangements; and smooth dynamics that ebb and flow in a low-key manner.”

 

--Gary Graff, BILLBOARD

 

 

 

"The soft but assured vocals of Miranda Lee Richards cast a glow upon the delicate, 60's inspired folk-pop on her new CD, LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk). The chiming guitars, strings and piano shine with a melancholy dreaminess, and so do Richards's lyrics. (‘Finally, there's something/I can hold onto that isn't broken’)."

 

--Scott Frampton, O (THE OPRAH MAGAZINE)

 

 

 

“A mash-up of Mazzy Star’s etherealness and Lucinda Williams’ folksy lyricism creates a composite of wind, sea and cotton-soft tracks that have a familiar, time-tested feeling. This Cali-coastal coolness is something Richards refers to as ‘Psychedelic Chamber Folk Rock’ equally soothing as the sun’s breaking or setting.”

 

--Laura Schooling, ANGELENO

 

 

 

 “The Herethereafter, the debut album from Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Miranda Lee Richards, was one of my favorite albums of the early part of this decade. Nearly eight years later, Richards returns with Light Of X, twelve tracks (plus one hidden track) that more than deliver on the promise of that first record. Like its predecessor, Light Of X is a mixture of folk, rock, and psychedelia, though with a little less emphasis on the latter this time out. Richards calls the music found here ‘Psychedelic Chamber Folk Rock,’ the ‘Chamber’ part referring to the lovely string arrangements that appear on some of the songs. Since Richards released her last record, her singing voice and her songwriting abilities have matured: Light Of X represents both a continuation of The Herethereafter and a progression forward. It’s a elegant and lovely work, filled with warmth and compassion, and it’s done with enough intelligence and built in resistance to easy sentimentality that it should appeal to even those listeners for whom the word ‘folk’ is a red flag. It’s enough to give ‘Pixie Fairy Dust Chick Music’ (as Courtney Taylor from the Dandy Warhols teasingly refers to Richards’ music) a good name. Standout cuts: ‘Breathless,’ ‘Life Boat,’ ‘Early November’ and ‘Last Days Of Summer.’

 

--THIS IS JUST A MODERN ROCK BLOG

 

 

 

“Her latest album, LIGHT OF X is arranged for maximum magic-hour scintillation, and Richards' willowy voice brings deceptively cutting lyrics to life."

 

--August Brown, LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

 

 

“Part of L.A.’s tastemaking Hotel Café scene, boho pop-folkie Richards has been kicking around the music scene for the past decade, collaborating with the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Joe Brion and licensing songs to film and TV. Light of X, helmed by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club producer Rick Parker, is a subtly crafted platter of dreamy, Mazzy Starr-meets-One Tree Hill pop. ‘Am I crazy, or are you blind?’ Richards asks over a gently chugging rhythm on ‘Early November.’ As with the cryptic single ‘Lifeboat’ (‘Freedom, my love, is a double-sided coin/What have you done to earn your keep?’), the answer’s not in the lyrics; it’s in the ride over waves of brooding electric guitar, piano and pedal steel, and the melancholy contours of Richards’ soprano."

 

--Bliss Bowen, FADE IN

 

 

 

“...when some darkness descends, as on ‘Pictures of You,’ her perky nature adds a bittersweet twist to the added emotional weight.”

 

--Andy Fyfe, Q

 

 

 

“In 2001, Richards made a dreamy little pop record that hardly anyone heard, but it'll be hard to ignore her when her sophomore release, LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk), arrives Feb. 10. The boho-chic California native really honed her sound in the interim, even if she rarely stays in one spot for long on the new album. One minute she sounds like a sun-kissed pop chanteuse, the next she's channeling a dusky torch singer reminiscent of Cat Power. Miranda wrote all the songs on X, but her supporting cast brings a wealth of obvious influences: drummer Keith Mitchell (Mazzy Star), bassist Eva Gardner (Mars Volta), and guitarist Josh Schwartz (Beachwood Sparks).”

 

--James Reed, BOSTON GLOBE

 

 

 

“[The songs] are triumphant, even exultant…the songs on this ol’ long-player manage to bridge the gap between melancholy and aw-shucks happiness, like the freedom found in finally letting go of all that once was good to you…Light of X is good when the lights are out and all around is dark.”

 

--Dan Collins, L.A. RECORD

 

 

 

”Glorious sun-dappled cosmic country from the one-time BJM associate. Like Mazzy Star blinking into the morning light, the yellow vinyl makes it even more sunny.”

 

-- NME

 

 

 

“Her long-awaited follow-up album, the new LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk), produced by Rick Parker, charms with delicate, carefully rendered balladry and gently laid-back pop tunes. There’s a hint of country music and wide-open spaces with Ben Peeler’s pedal-steel adornments on ‘Savorin’ Your Smile’ and ‘Olive Tree,’ and Richards’ radiant voice lights up the dusky guitar riffs of ‘Early November.’ She gives good jangle on the power-pop reverie ‘Pictures of You,’ while Parker frames her solemn piano chords with shimmering guitar plucking on the ballad ‘Here by the Window,’ which builds a haunting momentum with bluesy grandeur.”

 

--Falling James, LA WEEKLY

 

 

 

 “As ever, while the bigwigs look for the next female singer-songwriter with the perfect package of deep musical talent and great looks in all the wrong places— karaoke bars, shopping malls, and strip clubs, by the look of it —the genuine article sneaked through the back door unnoticed and unannounced. Miranda Lee Richards offered her lovely debut The Herethereafter in 2001, and spent most of the time following that release touring, showing up in hip indie films like Ondi Timoner’s Dig!, and performing with the likes of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Tim Burgess of the Charlatans. Now, with her debut for Nettwerk records, Richards has crafted a gorgeous collection of softly lit chamber-folk songs that highlight her lilting, understated singing. Think Mazzy Starr after a few cups of coffee. The production is warm and billowing, but the generous amounts of reverb only underscore Richards’ subtle, dreamy singing, never obscuring it. Sensitive, mellow, deeply feminine folk music that isn’t boring or overtly precious—well, that’s a rare thing. Light of X is stuffed with it.”

 

--Jeff Miers, BUFFALO NEWS

 

 

 

“Eight years ago, Miranda Lee Richards released her astonishing debut, The Herethereafter, to a cynical, just barely post-9/11 world that somehow didn’t understand her contemporary spin on ’60s Psychedelia and Folk, taking her cues from The Stones, The Doors, Nick Drake and the Mamas and the Papas. I fell hard for the album and her incredible backstory (daughter of underground cartoonists, took guitar lessons from Kirk Hammett as a teenager, professional modeling career, sang with the Brian Jonestown Massacre). Beginning where she left off on The Herethereafter, Richards eases into Light of X with ‘Breathless,’ a gorgeous piano ballad that effortlessly reprises her debut’s stunningly hushed closer, ‘The Landscape,’ based on a poem by Baudelaire. Richards intones emotionally ‘Before I met you, my life was a series of chances/Before I met you, my mind it was racing all the time,’ accompanied by a soundtrack that would make Fleetwood Mac green with Pop envy. Richards invests Light of X with a psychedelic SoCal cowgirl vibe, from the shimmering and ethereally grounded ‘Lifeboat’ to the Cowboy Junkies moan of ‘Mirror at the End.’ At the same time, she deftly channels a little Sarah McLachlan Pop into ‘Hideaway’ and casts a darker Nick Cave pall over ‘Early November,’ at least until brightening slightly for the jangly chorus…Here’s hoping that minds and ears are a little more open in 2009 (and a hopeful wish to Richards that we won’t be praising her third album in 2017). Grade: A”

 

--Brian Baker, CINCINNATI CITY BEAT

 

 

 

“...a fine album that recalls the psych-country of Cali-coastal acts such as Beachwood Sparks and Graham Parsons.”

 

--Michael Ayers, AOL SPINNER

 

 

 

“Richards melds her ethereal vocals with a gentle lyricism, dusky melodicism and a wellspring of country, acoustic dream pop, folk and meditative melancholy. Songs like ‘Breathless,’ ‘Life Boat’ (released last year as a European single) and first stateside single “Early November” rival anything from likeminded artists. For example, ‘Hideaway’ marries Aimee Mann’s rueful honesty with Fiona Apple’s art-pop luster. Civil kiss-off ‘Savorin’ Your Smile’ links Hope Sandoval’s slowcore sensuousness with the Cowboy Junkies sedative country tendencies. Reverb and subtle revolt ground the stirring anti-war ballad ‘That Baby.’ Light of X has a sepia tone that works best with detailed concentration, so listeners can tune into Richards’ hints, clues and intimate truths.”

 

--Doug Simpson, CAMPUS CIRCLE

 

 

 

“Miranda Lee Richards-This songbird grew up amid the bohemia of 1970s San Francisco, which fed her adoration for folk ballads and psychedelic rock. LIGHT OF X mixes those genres with a woozy hand, yielding a number of lilting, echoing gems. Look for the album on February 10--just in time to combat the winter doldrums with hazy California folk.“

 

--Andrew Leahey, WASHINGTON TIMES

 

 

 

“It's tough not to be attracted to someone who describes her music as ‘psychedelic chamber folk rock.’ Others have more accurately termed it ‘ambient Americana’ yet no matter what labels you choose to use, there's something hypnotic and captivating about Miranda Lee Richards' LIGHT OF X. A former member of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Richards' supple vocals occasionally evoke traces of the best side of Natalie Merchant. And with producer/engineer/mixer Rick Parker by her side, she's constructed a dream-weaving, highly-atmospheric set, sometimes turning in steel-splashed, alt-country material like ‘Savorin' Your Smile,’ sometimes showing her growling and passionate side (‘Mirror at the End’) and frequently giving us a taste of her melodic grace, like on the slowly pulsating first single ‘Early November.’

 

--Kevin O’Hare, NEWHOUSE NEWS WIRE

 

 

 

"Featuring 12 gentle and delicate alterna-pop songs, LIGHT OF X highlights Richards' strongest asset-her clear yet ethereal voice."

 

--Kim Newman, VENUS

 

 

 

"You would expect that with a name like Miranda Lee Richards that raw blues would be part of the repertoire.  Long legs in long boots, deep and piercing eyes and a chilling folk blues approach that knocked me over. Belonging to the modern visceral genre of The Pierces and Florence and the Machine yet with clear influences of The Byrds, The Stones and even Eva Cassidy, Miranda Lee Richards showed an experience and attitude greater than her years.  While she wore a big smile that engaged the audience there was a mystery and air of wicked rebellion in her eyes.  This came through in her music.  Potent tunes of warmth on the outside but with dark overtones signaled the eerie wariness of a cat waiting to pounce. I was on the edge of being entrapped, terrified and falling in love at the same time. Her first song ‘Savouring Your Smile’ was a melodic pop tune with gentle harmonica and guitar, and part of the lulling process. ‘Olive Tree’ then told of missing hearts and a wistful sadness before she introduced Life Boat, a new vinyl-only single release that reminded me more of Scottish folk than something of hipster San Francisco origin.  Her only cover came next, Bob Dylan’s ‘She Belongs To Me’, and her repetitive Dylanesque vocals took us to another time. The trance continued as her pure blues ‘Swamp Song’ ventured into John Lee territory and all that was missing was a foot-tapping accompaniment; this was stripped down and intimate.  Miranda told us that she had left the required harmonica behind so we were going to get a nude version. ‘Swamp’ exposed her extraordinary talent for the understated. Talking to her afterwards she explained the thrill of giving the audience nothing in terms of clues and delighted in holding back in order to remain mysterious.  She agreed that a full blues band as backing could take the sound up and over, but for now the feelings of loss and restitution were best served by solo slots such as this.  ‘Worth’ reminded me of the Cowboy Junkies mixed with tones of Ry Cooder before ‘Early November’ ended the set in a catchier encore-like fashion.  Miranda told me her new album, as yet untitled, is out early next year (an evolutionary follow-up to The Herethereafter from 2001) and that she is simply expanding her road experience perhaps in readiness for a larger tour to promote its eventual release.  I’ll be waiting."

 

--Gareth Hayes, BLUES IN BRITTAIN

 

 

 

"Largo fits like a glove for Miranda Lee Richards. The model-turned singer/songwriter played to a near capacity crowd at the relocated Fairfax hideout Thursday night, with a setlist that proved all evidence to Richards' listening-room only status. It was the stripped nature of her Light of X repertoire that became the centerpiece of her set. Considering the airy folk/pop essence of Richards' writing, the singer/songwriter trifecta of guitar, piano, and harmonica accompaniment fared all too fitting in the quiet solo setting. A live backing group would have only hindered Richards' signature inflections; while unlikely timed, the subtle vocal marks of pain and pleasure are pure, and pure evokes the kind of honesty demanded by her works. While Largo does have a strict no-talking/no-distraction policy, the crowd's magnetic attention wasn't owed to venue rules -- it was owed to Richards' songs convincing that not one note, lyric, or moment be spared.”

 

--Hugo Gomez THE DELI MAGAZINE

 

 

 

"Richard’s voice is powerful, but she rarely wields it that way.  The childlike chanteuse prefers to be a lullaby singer, and with a top notch band keeping equally restrained behind her, she let the melodic grace of her comeback Light of X’s gossamer folk and canyon rock preside.  One hears heart music when her sonorous, bird-like voice appears, as simple, homespun, and unaffected as her hippy-vestige dress.  Most often she strums a guitar or massages a keyboard as lightly as her vocal delivery, fresh examples of how “soft is the new loud.”  Or, on the tunes requiring belting, especially showstopper “Early November,” she betrayed passion to go with smiling charm, talent, and wholesome blonde ex-model looks.  In the end, she made hipster-central seem like an enchanted coffee house.  How’d she pull that one off?

 

--Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover

 

 

 

“Former Brian Jonestown Massacre member Miranda Lee Richards debuted new material from her forthcoming solo album in Los Angeles last night (November 19, ‘08). Richards, who learned to play the guitar from Metallica's Kirk Hammett, performed her wistful pop-rock tunes for a packed house at Tangier. She played several tracks off of LIGHT OF X, which is due out in the U.S. on February 10 and features Mazzy Star's Keith Mitchell on drums and Josh Schwartz of Beachwood Sparks on guitar."

 

--Laura Ferreiro, NME.com (Live review)

 

 

"Possibly keeping the peace by momentarily standing in between the Reids was L.A.-based guest vocalist Miranda Lee Richards. (You may remember her from the rockmumetary Dig, in which she stares at the camera and begs Brian Jonestown Massacre basket case Anton Newcombe, "Please don't die!") Miranda sang the girly part of "Just Like Honey" last night, and though she may not have as marquee-worthy a name as Scarlett Johansson, I must say she did a better job."

 

--Lyndsey Parker, NME.com

 

 

 

"For my first official showcase of South By Southwest 2010 I chose the St. David Episcopal Church and Miranda Lee Richards. The former member of Brian Jonestown Massacre hasn't been through St. Louis in maybe nine years (correct me if I'm wrong; that's what Miranda recalls), but her 2009 album Light of X and her first solo album The Herethereafter are as pure as neo-psych-folk-adult-contemporary-pop get. This night she appeared with just guitar, harmonica and a sideman on 12-string and cigar box slide, a grittier presentation than I would have guessed. In the sanctuary, she sounded like nothing so much as a dreamier Patty Griffin, and when she closed out the night with two songs on the Steinway baby grand, not even the fools shooting with flash could distract her or the small crowd from the breathtaking beauty of her songs. That will be the set to beat this year.

 

--Roy Kasten, The Riverfront Times Blog

 

 

“The follow-up to her debut album evokes her Cali dream-pop heroes Mazzy Star, although Richards' music is airier and poppier — think of it as freak folk with just a schmear of freak. ‘Life Boat’ is a big, warm hug with dub effects, pedal steel and hash-den tambourine; ‘Mirror at the End’ sports a chorus big enough for Sheryl Crow. Delivered in a pure, unblemished voice, even the sad songs are comforting…

 

--Will Hermes, ROLLING STONE

 

 

 

"Another L.A.-based artist, Miranda Lee Richards, has veered from the trendy norm, with her latest release, LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk). Sonic portraits of Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris color almost every track of this album (particularly ‘Hideaway’ and ‘Hidden Treasure’), and Richards feels no need to disguise her nod to these luminaries--nor should she. The singer successfully channels her hippie-princess vibe through wah-wah pedal steel and lithe soprano, resulting in retro-leaning, Baroque folk-pop perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. X reminds us, once again, that the creative Mecca Laurel Canyon is not just a place but also a sound and state of mind. "

 

--Jessica Draper, PERFORMING SONGWRITER

 

 

 

“The dreaminess that made The Herethereafter so appealing, and popular with film and TV soundtracks, is still there. If anything, she’s dreamier, the tempos a little more down, the mood more twilit. Her songs and vocals are as likely to be accompanied by piano (Breathless) and cello (Hidden Treasures) as acoustic guitar and pedal steel.

 

--SS, MOJO

 

 

 

“California country has always been as much about evoking a magic-hour atmosphere as the genre’s traditional strum-and-twang. Richards’ new album, Light of X, is as beguiling and witchy as Joni Mitchell but also dripped in reverb, distant pedal steel and Richards’ tender alto.

 

--LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

 

 

“Seven years after her critically lauded debut, Richards returns…with touches of airy psychedelia and loping country. The album is full of airy beauty and precious melodies sung in an angelic voice.”

 

--Frank Valish, UNDER THE RADAR

 

 

 

“A self-described practitioner of ‘psychedelic chamber folk rock,’ San Francisco hippie child Miranda Lee Richards certainly has her fair share of friends. She was schooled in rock by her buddy's boyfriend, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, and teamed up with Jon Brion and producer Rick Parker (the Von Bondies, BRMC) for her critically acclaimed debut, The Herethereafter. Fans of that disc were pleased to find her newest record, LIGHT OF X travels similarly moody terrain, employing equally impressive support from the likes of Mars Volta bassist Eva Gardner, Mazzy Star drummer Keith Mitchell, and Beachwood Sparks guitarist Josh Schwartz.”

 

--FLAVORPILL

 

 

 

“On LIGHT OF X, Richards sounds like a Southern California incarnation of ethereal Canadians Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt, dressing these 12 tracks with warmly swelling melodies; poetic, melancholy lyrics; carefully nuanced arrangements; and smooth dynamics that ebb and flow in a low-key manner.”

 

--Gary Graff, BILLBOARD

 

 

 

"The soft but assured vocals of Miranda Lee Richards cast a glow upon the delicate, 60's inspired folk-pop on her new CD, LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk). The chiming guitars, strings and piano shine with a melancholy dreaminess, and so do Richards's lyrics. (‘Finally, there's something/I can hold onto that isn't broken’)."

 

--Scott Frampton, O (THE OPRAH MAGAZINE)

 

 

 

“A mash-up of Mazzy Star’s etherealness and Lucinda Williams’ folksy lyricism creates a composite of wind, sea and cotton-soft tracks that have a familiar, time-tested feeling. This Cali-coastal coolness is something Richards refers to as ‘Psychedelic Chamber Folk Rock’ equally soothing as the sun’s breaking or setting.”

 

--Laura Schooling, ANGELENO

 

 

 

 “The Herethereafter, the debut album from Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Miranda Lee Richards, was one of my favorite albums of the early part of this decade. Nearly eight years later, Richards returns with Light Of X, twelve tracks (plus one hidden track) that more than deliver on the promise of that first record. Like its predecessor, Light Of X is a mixture of folk, rock, and psychedelia, though with a little less emphasis on the latter this time out. Richards calls the music found here ‘Psychedelic Chamber Folk Rock,’ the ‘Chamber’ part referring to the lovely string arrangements that appear on some of the songs. Since Richards released her last record, her singing voice and her songwriting abilities have matured: Light Of X represents both a continuation of The Herethereafter and a progression forward. It’s a elegant and lovely work, filled with warmth and compassion, and it’s done with enough intelligence and built in resistance to easy sentimentality that it should appeal to even those listeners for whom the word ‘folk’ is a red flag. It’s enough to give ‘Pixie Fairy Dust Chick Music’ (as Courtney Taylor from the Dandy Warhols teasingly refers to Richards’ music) a good name. Standout cuts: ‘Breathless,’ ‘Life Boat,’ ‘Early November’ and ‘Last Days Of Summer.’

 

--THIS IS JUST A MODERN ROCK BLOG

 

 

 

“Her latest album, LIGHT OF X is arranged for maximum magic-hour scintillation, and Richards' willowy voice brings deceptively cutting lyrics to life."

 

--August Brown, LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

 

 

“Part of L.A.’s tastemaking Hotel Café scene, boho pop-folkie Richards has been kicking around the music scene for the past decade, collaborating with the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Joe Brion and licensing songs to film and TV. Light of X, helmed by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club producer Rick Parker, is a subtly crafted platter of dreamy, Mazzy Starr-meets-One Tree Hill pop. ‘Am I crazy, or are you blind?’ Richards asks over a gently chugging rhythm on ‘Early November.’ As with the cryptic single ‘Lifeboat’ (‘Freedom, my love, is a double-sided coin/What have you done to earn your keep?’), the answer’s not in the lyrics; it’s in the ride over waves of brooding electric guitar, piano and pedal steel, and the melancholy contours of Richards’ soprano."

 

--Bliss Bowen, FADE IN

 

 

 

“...when some darkness descends, as on ‘Pictures of You,’ her perky nature adds a bittersweet twist to the added emotional weight.”

 

--Andy Fyfe, Q

 

 

 

“In 2001, Richards made a dreamy little pop record that hardly anyone heard, but it'll be hard to ignore her when her sophomore release, LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk), arrives Feb. 10. The boho-chic California native really honed her sound in the interim, even if she rarely stays in one spot for long on the new album. One minute she sounds like a sun-kissed pop chanteuse, the next she's channeling a dusky torch singer reminiscent of Cat Power. Miranda wrote all the songs on X, but her supporting cast brings a wealth of obvious influences: drummer Keith Mitchell (Mazzy Star), bassist Eva Gardner (Mars Volta), and guitarist Josh Schwartz (Beachwood Sparks).”

 

--James Reed, BOSTON GLOBE

 

 

 

“[The songs] are triumphant, even exultant…the songs on this ol’ long-player manage to bridge the gap between melancholy and aw-shucks happiness, like the freedom found in finally letting go of all that once was good to you…Light of X is good when the lights are out and all around is dark.”

 

--Dan Collins, L.A. RECORD

 

 

 

”Glorious sun-dappled cosmic country from the one-time BJM associate. Like Mazzy Star blinking into the morning light, the yellow vinyl makes it even more sunny.”

 

-- NME

 

 

 

“Her long-awaited follow-up album, the new LIGHT OF X (Nettwerk), produced by Rick Parker, charms with delicate, carefully rendered balladry and gently laid-back pop tunes. There’s a hint of country music and wide-open spaces with Ben Peeler’s pedal-steel adornments on ‘Savorin’ Your Smile’ and ‘Olive Tree,’ and Richards’ radiant voice lights up the dusky guitar riffs of ‘Early November.’ She gives good jangle on the power-pop reverie ‘Pictures of You,’ while Parker frames her solemn piano chords with shimmering guitar plucking on the ballad ‘Here by the Window,’ which builds a haunting momentum with bluesy grandeur.”

 

--Falling James, LA WEEKLY

 

 

 

 “As ever, while the bigwigs look for the next female singer-songwriter with the perfect package of deep musical talent and great looks in all the wrong places— karaoke bars, shopping malls, and strip clubs, by the look of it —the genuine article sneaked through the back door unnoticed and unannounced. Miranda Lee Richards offered her lovely debut The Herethereafter in 2001, and spent most of the time following that release touring, showing up in hip indie films like Ondi Timoner’s Dig!, and performing with the likes of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Tim Burgess of the Charlatans. Now, with her debut for Nettwerk records, Richards has crafted a gorgeous collection of softly lit chamber-folk songs that highlight her lilting, understated singing. Think Mazzy Starr after a few cups of coffee. The production is warm and billowing, but the generous amounts of reverb only underscore Richards’ subtle, dreamy singing, never obscuring it. Sensitive, mellow, deeply feminine folk music that isn’t boring or overtly precious—well, that’s a rare thing. Light of X is stuffed with it.”

 

--Jeff Miers, BUFFALO NEWS

 

 

 

“Eight years ago, Miranda Lee Richards released her astonishing debut, The Herethereafter, to a cynical, just barely post-9/11 world that somehow didn’t understand her contemporary spin on ’60s Psychedelia and Folk, taking her cues from The Stones, The Doors, Nick Drake and the Mamas and the Papas. I fell hard for the album and her incredible backstory (daughter of underground cartoonists, took guitar lessons from Kirk Hammett as a teenager, professional modeling career, sang with the Brian Jonestown Massacre). Beginning where she left off on The Herethereafter, Richards eases into Light of X with ‘Breathless,’ a gorgeous piano ballad that effortlessly reprises her debut’s stunningly hushed closer, ‘The Landscape,’ based on a poem by Baudelaire. Richards intones emotionally ‘Before I met you, my life was a series of chances/Before I met you, my mind it was racing all the time,’ accompanied by a soundtrack that would make Fleetwood Mac green with Pop envy. Richards invests Light of X with a psychedelic SoCal cowgirl vibe, from the shimmering and ethereally grounded ‘Lifeboat’ to the Cowboy Junkies moan of ‘Mirror at the End.’ At the same time, she deftly channels a little Sarah McLachlan Pop into ‘Hideaway’ and casts a darker Nick Cave pall over ‘Early November,’ at least until brightening slightly for the jangly chorus…Here’s hoping that minds and ears are a little more open in 2009 (and a hopeful wish to Richards that we won’t be praising her third album in 2017). Grade: A”

 

--Brian Baker, CINCINNATI CITY BEAT

 

 

 

“...a fine album that recalls the psych-country of Cali-coastal acts such as Beachwood Sparks and Graham Parsons.”

 

--Michael Ayers, AOL SPINNER

 

 

 

“Richards melds her ethereal vocals with a gentle lyricism, dusky melodicism and a wellspring of country, acoustic dream pop, folk and meditative melancholy. Songs like ‘Breathless,’ ‘Life Boat’ (released last year as a European single) and first stateside single “Early November” rival anything from likeminded artists. For example, ‘Hideaway’ marries Aimee Mann’s rueful honesty with Fiona Apple’s art-pop luster. Civil kiss-off ‘Savorin’ Your Smile’ links Hope Sandoval’s slowcore sensuousness with the Cowboy Junkies sedative country tendencies. Reverb and subtle revolt ground the stirring anti-war ballad ‘That Baby.’ Light of X has a sepia tone that works best with detailed concentration, so listeners can tune into Richards’ hints, clues and intimate truths.”

 

--Doug Simpson, CAMPUS CIRCLE

 

 

 

“Miranda Lee Richards-This songbird grew up amid the bohemia of 1970s San Francisco, which fed her adoration for folk ballads and psychedelic rock. LIGHT OF X mixes those genres with a woozy hand, yielding a number of lilting, echoing gems. Look for the album on February 10--just in time to combat the winter doldrums with hazy California folk.“

 

--Andrew Leahey, WASHINGTON TIMES

 

 

 

“It's tough not to be attracted to someone who describes her music as ‘psychedelic chamber folk rock.’ Others have more accurately termed it ‘ambient Americana’ yet no matter what labels you choose to use, there's something hypnotic and captivating about Miranda Lee Richards' LIGHT OF X. A former member of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Richards' supple vocals occasionally evoke traces of the best side of Natalie Merchant. And with producer/engineer/mixer Rick Parker by her side, she's constructed a dream-weaving, highly-atmospheric set, sometimes turning in steel-splashed, alt-country material like ‘Savorin' Your Smile,’ sometimes showing her growling and passionate side (‘Mirror at the End’) and frequently giving us a taste of her melodic grace, like on the slowly pulsating first single ‘Early November.’

 

--Kevin O’Hare, NEWHOUSE NEWS WIRE

 

 

 

"Featuring 12 gentle and delicate alterna-pop songs, LIGHT OF X highlights Richards' strongest asset-her clear yet ethereal voice."

 

--Kim Newman, VENUS

 

 

 

"You would expect that with a name like Miranda Lee Richards that raw blues would be part of the repertoire.  Long legs in long boots, deep and piercing eyes and a chilling folk blues approach that knocked me over. Belonging to the modern visceral genre of The Pierces and Florence and the Machine yet with clear influences of The Byrds, The Stones and even Eva Cassidy, Miranda Lee Richards showed an experience and attitude greater than her years.  While she wore a big smile that engaged the audience there was a mystery and air of wicked rebellion in her eyes.  This came through in her music.  Potent tunes of warmth on the outside but with dark overtones signaled the eerie wariness of a cat waiting to pounce. I was on the edge of being entrapped, terrified and falling in love at the same time. Her first song ‘Savouring Your Smile’ was a melodic pop tune with gentle harmonica and guitar, and part of the lulling process. ‘Olive Tree’ then told of missing hearts and a wistful sadness before she introduced Life Boat, a new vinyl-only single release that reminded me more of Scottish folk than something of hipster San Francisco origin.  Her only cover came next, Bob Dylan’s ‘She Belongs To Me’, and her repetitive Dylanesque vocals took us to another time. The trance continued as her pure blues ‘Swamp Song’ ventured into John Lee territory and all that was missing was a foot-tapping accompaniment; this was stripped down and intimate.  Miranda told us that she had left the required harmonica behind so we were going to get a nude version. ‘Swamp’ exposed her extraordinary talent for the understated. Talking to her afterwards she explained the thrill of giving the audience nothing in terms of clues and delighted in holding back in order to remain mysterious.  She agreed that a full blues band as backing could take the sound up and over, but for now the feelings of loss and restitution were best served by solo slots such as this.  ‘Worth’ reminded me of the Cowboy Junkies mixed with tones of Ry Cooder before ‘Early November’ ended the set in a catchier encore-like fashion.  Miranda told me her new album, as yet untitled, is out early next year (an evolutionary follow-up to The Herethereafter from 2001) and that she is simply expanding her road experience perhaps in readiness for a larger tour to promote its eventual release.  I’ll be waiting."

 

--Gareth Hayes, BLUES IN BRITTAIN

 

 

 

"Largo fits like a glove for Miranda Lee Richards. The model-turned singer/songwriter played to a near capacity crowd at the relocated Fairfax hideout Thursday night, with a setlist that proved all evidence to Richards' listening-room only status. It was the stripped nature of her Light of X repertoire that became the centerpiece of her set. Considering the airy folk/pop essence of Richards' writing, the singer/songwriter trifecta of guitar, piano, and harmonica accompaniment fared all too fitting in the quiet solo setting. A live backing group would have only hindered Richards' signature inflections; while unlikely timed, the subtle vocal marks of pain and pleasure are pure, and pure evokes the kind of honesty demanded by her works. While Largo does have a strict no-talking/no-distraction policy, the crowd's magnetic attention wasn't owed to venue rules -- it was owed to Richards' songs convincing that not one note, lyric, or moment be spared.”

 

--Hugo Gomez THE DELI MAGAZINE

 

 

 

"Richard’s voice is powerful, but she rarely wields it that way.  The childlike chanteuse prefers to be a lullaby singer, and with a top notch band keeping equally restrained behind her, she let the melodic grace of her comeback Light of X’s gossamer folk and canyon rock preside.  One hears heart music when her sonorous, bird-like voice appears, as simple, homespun, and unaffected as her hippy-vestige dress.  Most often she strums a guitar or massages a keyboard as lightly as her vocal delivery, fresh examples of how “soft is the new loud.”  Or, on the tunes requiring belting, especially showstopper “Early November,” she betrayed passion to go with smiling charm, talent, and wholesome blonde ex-model looks.  In the end, she made hipster-central seem like an enchanted coffee house.  How’d she pull that one off?

 

--Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover

 

 

 

“Former Brian Jonestown Massacre member Miranda Lee Richards debuted new material from her forthcoming solo album in Los Angeles last night (November 19, ‘08). Richards, who learned to play the guitar from Metallica's Kirk Hammett, performed her wistful pop-rock tunes for a packed house at Tangier. She played several tracks off of LIGHT OF X, which is due out in the U.S. on February 10 and features Mazzy Star's Keith Mitchell on drums and Josh Schwartz of Beachwood Sparks on guitar."

 

--Laura Ferreiro, NME.com (Live review)

 

 

"Possibly keeping the peace by momentarily standing in between the Reids was L.A.-based guest vocalist Miranda Lee Richards. (You may remember her from the rockmumetary Dig, in which she stares at the camera and begs Brian Jonestown Massacre basket case Anton Newcombe, "Please don't die!") Miranda sang the girly part of "Just Like Honey" last night, and though she may not have as marquee-worthy a name as Scarlett Johansson, I must say she did a better job."

 

--Lyndsey Parker, NME.com

 

 

 

"For my first official showcase of South By Southwest 2010 I chose the St. David Episcopal Church and Miranda Lee Richards. The former member of Brian Jonestown Massacre hasn't been through St. Louis in maybe nine years (correct me if I'm wrong; that's what Miranda recalls), but her 2009 album Light of X and her first solo album The Herethereafter are as pure as neo-psych-folk-adult-contemporary-pop get. This night she appeared with just guitar, harmonica and a sideman on 12-string and cigar box slide, a grittier presentation than I would have guessed. In the sanctuary, she sounded like nothing so much as a dreamier Patty Griffin, and when she closed out the night with two songs on the Steinway baby grand, not even the fools shooting with flash could distract her or the small crowd from the breathtaking beauty of her songs. That will be the set to beat this year.

 

--Roy Kasten, The Riverfront Times Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HERETHEREAFTER PRESS:

 

 

Interview Magazine:

 

Billy Bob Flails, Ben Folds Fails, and Miranda Lee Sails

 

R. Crumb goddaughter Miranda Lee Richards tosses up a recipe for mescaline salad that calls for tape- looped guitars, sitars, Beatles-esque strings, some Stones psychedelia and a sprig of French romantic decadence  (Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil).  Given time and a taste for sin, she might well be the Marianne Faithfull for a new millennium.

 

--Henry Cobot Beck

 

Blender:

 

Once an underground rocker, Richards turns now to psychedelic pop for her solo debut

 

One might expect a singer formerly associated with the obscure 60's inspired San Francisco rock band Brian Jonestown Massacre to release a debut full of crazy underground rock and roll.  Instead, Miranda Lee Richards has crafted a rapturously tuneful album of soothing '60's pop melancholia, merging breathy melodies and richly orchestrated arrangements into moments of quiet, hypnotic intensity.  On some of the songs, (notably "The Long Goodbye" and her creamy cover of the Stone's "Dandelion"), she gets by with a little help from friends Jon Brion, who produces Aimee Mann, and That Dog drummer Joey Waronker.  With a mildly psychedelic sound rooted in strings, shimmering keyboards, and softly shifting drums, The Herethereafter is a stunning debut from one of pop's prettiest voices.

 

--Michael Moses

 

Paper Magazine:

 

Miranda Lee Richards is Ready to Rock

 

Miranda Lee Richards is ready to rock.  After supporting herself modeling for 10 years, she has recorded her first album.  Due in May, The Herethereafter (Virgin), is a trippy mixture of what she calls "pure psychedelic country-pop."  Raised in San Francisco, she began modeling when she was just 14.  "I tried to keep a low profile, but I ended up posted on every bus bench in L.A," says Richards, who began writing songs with her guitar, piano, and harmonica in her spare time.  She also found time to star in America Year Zero, a movie shot at Burning Man last September, in which she plays a somber young woman whose life is overflowing with messy drama.  It sounds far from her reality---these days, she's pretty happy about her new career---and her life in L.A.  "I love it, a lot of very creative people have moved here," she says.  "You only see the boobs and blonde hair in the summer."

 

--Jason Sellards

 

Pulse:

 

Just as John Lennon did with his 1971 classic Imagine, Miranda Lee Richards wanted "to make the most beautiful music in the world."  The 25-year old singer/songwriter achieves what she calls her "original vision" with her resplendent-sounding debut, The Herethereafter (Virgin).

 

Richards was born and raised in one of the Bay Area's more ultra-liberal environments and it was that hippie-esque carryover that afforded the 26-year-old the wherewithal to live in a tent upon her arrival in Los Angeles six years ago.  "I was pissed about that," Richards calmly reflects about the situation brought on because of her then-boyfriend.  "We were having problems in our relationship and that intensified it.  Yes, it was an issue."

 

After moving out of the tent, and into her own apartment, she soon began modeling for Calvin Klein, but it was playing "soft" music that would ultimately prevail.  "That’s what gave me focus in Los Angeles," she explains, "and made modeling bearable."  Needless to say, with her first single, "The Beginner," and her debut effort raising more than a few eyebrows, the sacrifices have obviously paid off.  "It took a little longer than I thought, but I also got lucky.  It can be very hard in L.A.," exclaims Richards.

 

--Keith Ryan Cartwright

 

Arts and Entertainment Preview:

 

Psychedelic Heaven

 

Miranda Lee Richards, an alumna of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, has a winning cross-generational appeal on her solo debut, The Herethereafter (Virgin). Baby boomers who haven't given up on the sixties will be thrilled with her gentle but authoritative command of melodic psychedelia. (If you thought the Beatles had it right with "Strawberry Fields" and the Stones had it right with "Dandelion," wonderfully updated here, you'll want to smoke a bongful of dried banana peels and stare at the sun.) Non-baby boomers will simply groove on the arrangements and marvel at her songwriting. She never lets the weirdness get in the way of the melodies, which is a miracle of taste in this Digital Age of Unlimited Noises. Lyrically, Richards manages to be personal without descending into the narcissism and excruciating relationship analysis that has flawed the work of many of her peers. Again, it's the sixties influence, the hippie vibe of freedom over societal constrictions. She's also been influenced by that master of nineteenth-century French psychedelia, Charles Baudelaire, whose poem "The Landscape" she adapts for a song. Baudelaire and Richards both are concerned with the transitory nature of beauty and life ("Seasons will pass 'til Autumn fades the rose"), and both believe in compensating with "the sinless Idyll of innocent words." Not a bad description of the Herethereafter.

 

--C.M.Y.

 

Music News of the World :

 

Getting to Know Miranda Lee Richards

 

The folks at the Red Devil bar in San Francisco were chattering away Wednesday night when L. A.-based folk-rocker Miranda Richards took the stage. But as soon as they got a glimpse of the stunning young singer/songwriter, and heard her sing, the talking stopped. Richards, who said she's been in the studio cutting demos with her band, sounds a bit like Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval, and writes sad-core songs that Mark Eitzel would appreciate. Her cover of Bob Dylan's 'She Belongs to Me' was a stunner, but even more impressive was an original called 'Vagabond Angel.' Catch her now, so you can say you saw her when....

 

 

--Michael Goldberg

 

The Portable Infinite :

 

"I met the very beautiful Miranda Lee Richards years ago in the Lower Haight section on San Francisco. She seemed to be destined to have great things happen to her whatever she did. I didn't see her around for many years, and then I heard she had a record coming out this summer. Her album, The Herethereafter, is a perfect reflection of her own aesthetic. It's a mix of a poetic sensibility and pop music. The songs are very well written, full of great melodies and harmonies, just like her 60's heroes, The Rolling Stones and Gram Parsons. I remember Miranda as this poet and artist who was looking for her own voice. I didn't know what to expect.

I saw her play a few weeks later in San Francisco. Her sound was impressive. Songs like "The Beginner" and "Beauty Queen" seem like instant classics. With her partner, Rick Parker, they were able to blend rock and country, and alternative music and hip-hop, into a new cool hybrid form. I talked to both of them after the show, and they both seemed very down the earth and talk about the record they have spent the past year making. They seemed very excited to meet people and to present their music.

 

Miranda has been known in the past as a model. She is known also for her work with Brian Jonestown Massacre. But now she has her own record out and is scheduled to play a bunch of live shows this fall. We hung out at her sound check at The Bottom of The Hill. A film crew was filming us during our chat..."

 

-Alexander Laurence

 

The Herethereafter Top Ten:

 

* The Herethereafter #7 on Rolling Stone.com in 2001 Richard Skanse critic’s pick

 

* The Herethereafter in Gazette, The Colorado Springs Bill Reeds’ top ten

 

 

ALL MATERIAL © 2016 MIRANDA LEE RICHARDS