By Eleni P. Austin

Miranda & The Beat are set to open for the Black Lips at Pappy & Harriet’s on December 30th. Originally a two-piece consisting of Miranda Zipse on vocals and guitar and drummer Kim “The Beat” Sollecito, they formed in 2018 in New York City.

As the years progressed, they expanded their line-up and the current iteration includes Dean Fernandez on Farfisa organ, Alvin Jackson on bass and Ethan Glenn on drums. They made their bones as part of the NYC club scene, honing a sound incorporated Garage Rock, Punk, Soul and Classic Rock. Pretty soon, they were sharing stages with everyone from The Dirt Bombs and The B-52’s to Ronnie Spector and The MC5. They released a 7” single, via Jack White’s Third Man Record label that was mixed by Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner.

More recently, they toured with The King Khan & BBQ Show, exploring the lower 48 and a bit of Europe. Now, their first official long-player has arrived. The opening track, “Sweat,” unfurls slowly, as scuzzy guitars connect with roiling bass, clammy keys and a walloping backbeat. Miranda’s husky croon land somewhere between Tina Turner and Geraldine Fibbers’ frontwoman, Carla Bozulich. Primitive lyrics mostly shout out the title, as skittery guitars sidle through the mix.


The album’s first single, “Concrete” is both twitchy, and foreboding. A clickity-clack beat folds into a Pogo-riffic Punk attack, all thrashy guitars, skip-to-my-lou bass and woozy keys. Miranda’s wraith-like vocals punctuates each instrumental salvo with lyrics that insist “I don’t want to tell you nuthin,’ I just want to go home.”

Meanwhile, the Gothic crush of “I’m Not Your Baby,” spookily summons the specter of Phil Spector (sans the homicidal aftertaste). Shivery keys partner with slashing guitar, febrile bass and a punishing beat. Miranda’s just not having it: “I’m not your baby, I don’t need you, anymore, I’m done with you baby, I don’t want you.” A churchy organ run ushers the track to a close.

Flipping the script, the action slows with “Not My Guy.” Roller Rink keys connect with swaying guitar, brittle bass and a Doo-Wop beat. Miranda adopts a soulful croon that echoes antecedents like Ronnie Spector and Amy Winehouse (R.I.P. to both). Dissonant harmonies stack on the chorus. Forsaking her tough persona, she bares her soul: “Can’t get over you and I don’t know why, I can’t stand the sight of you not being my guy.” Morricone-flavored whistle underscores the ache on the instrumental break.

The album’s best tracks all pop up on side two. On “Let You Go” flinty Farfisa notes are supplanted by low-slung, prowling guitars, sinewy bass and a kinetic pulse. Lyrics like “I don’t want you back, but I can’t let you go,” distills every romantic dilemma since the dawn of time down to the bare essence. But Miranda’s torchy delivery authenticates the ache. Whiplash guitar riffs and darting organ runs enact an edgy pas de deux on the break that slowly resolves.

Then there’s “When Are You Coming Home,” which weds throbbing bass lines, stinging guitars and nocturnal keys to a caffeinated beat. Her mien is surprisingly deferential: “What more can I do, I depended on you, now you’ve left me, it’s true, when are you coming home?” Fluttery Farfisa fills accentuate the naked vulnerability.

Finally, “Too Afraid” blends fuzz-crusted guitars, rumbling bass lines, swirly keys and a ticklish beat. Despite her brash delivery, ambivalent lyrics like “I don’t know you lately, I just want you to be true, if I hesitate, please just hold me like you do… I’m too afraid to love you it’s true, but I cannot do it without you, without you, without you,” display a measure of equivocation and uncertainty. Shimmering keys dance around spiky, reverb-drenched guitar riffs on the break, mirroring feelings of insecurity and doubt.

Other interesting tracks include the concise slash and burn of “ODR” and the subterranean “Out Of My Head.” The latter is powered by spine-tingling keys, boinging bass lines, jaggy Surf Guitar and a tambourine shake. Lyrics mine the same romantic foibles and frailties: “I don’t want to see your face again, I can’t get you out of my head,” that belies the tough-minded instrumentation.

With everything that has come before, it would be completely on brand for the to close with a bang, but Miranda & The Beat zag where they might have zigged and offer up a lo-fi lullaby, “Don’t Feel The Same.” A stripped-down arrangement is down to a surprisingly sprightly amplified guitar and Miranda’s sing-song vocals. The melody bears a passing resemblance to Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s epochal “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and shambolic Beatles songs during their Hamburg days. The romantic sturm und drang that fueled the record shudders to a halt, as she notes, “I call you up, but you don’t give a damn.” It’s an intriguing finish to a stellar debut. (The Black Lips With Miranda & The Beat play Pappy & Harriet’s Saturday, December 30th 2023. Doors Open: 8:30pm/Show at 9:30pm) 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown {}.