“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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