Miranda Lee Richards

Miranda Lee Richards
From January 14 to 25 I will be counting down the ten new acts I expect big things from in 2008. As always, it’s tough to predict just who will break through and who will fade into obscurity once the year ends, but really, the point of this exercise is to get you pumped about the artists I’m pumped about. Enjoy reading, and don’t hesitate to point out how right or wrong I was to us when 2009 comes around.

An acoustic songstress from San Francisco with the timeless name of Miranda Lee Richards? Sounds like the next big freak folk hippie for sure, but she’s not (mercifully). But Ms. Miranda Lee certainly is a timeless treasure who dresses like Stevie Nicks (circa ’75) and eschews the singer-songwriter trappings of being too weird, too boring or too wounded. If her name sounds familiar, which it did to me with an eerie sense of déjà vu, it’s because she released an album back in 2001 called The Herethereafter and made an appearance in DiG! as well as two Brian Jonestown Massacre albums after their front-man Anton Newcombe "discovered” her (she’s also been featured on albums by Tricky and Tim Burgess). On top of that, she’s the daughter of underground comic artists Ted and Tessa Richards, as well as the goddaughter of Robert Crumb and good pals with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, who taught her how to play Mazzy Star’s songbook.

And that’s where Richards’s sound comes in; the Mazzy Star comparisons are lazy but spot on (she even filled in for Hope Sandoval’s part in "Sometimes Always” when she supported the Jesus & Mary Chain in Los Angeles). Miranda Lee’s vocal elegance answers the fix Sandoval’s fans have been jonesin’ for, while her woozy slide guitar-heavy acoustic arrangements are the second coming of David Roback’s exquisite touch. Her latest single for Sonic Cathedral (known as the "Label That Celebrates Itself,” because of its dedication to shoegazing), "Life Boat,” is a thing of beauty, carefully gathering all of the right components (carefully plucked guitar, gently brushed drums, a paralysing slide) to try and flatter that stunning voice. The fact that it was remixed by ex-Slowdive/Mojave 3 man Neil Halstead makes all the sense in the world, for this is acoustic dream pop at its finest; you couldn’t imagine this stuff better.

A wise Nettwerk Music Group has signed Miranda Lee Richards, and according to her MySpace blog, the label will release her new album, Light of X digitally in the spring, and then on the physical formats some time in the summer.

Miranda Lee Richards "Life Boat"