by Allison Kridle
If the jam-packed noise rock band Melkbelly is on your radar, chances are you’ve heard of singer and songwriter Miranda Winters. When the Chicago based DIYer isn’t ripping through fuzz filled riffs for Melkbelly, she’s writing about dead pets and fighting with loved ones for her solo record Xobeci, What Grows Here? Winters reveals more of herself and talents as she showcases her flute-like vocals against cutting melodic and stripped riffs. It’s as if you are hearing her for the first time, Melkbelly fans.
Winters asks, “Can you hear my voice?/Tell me what does it sound like?” in the track “Hardy Garden Plot.” The song feels as if Winters is engaging in a one-sided conversation as she casually plays a string of distorted cords. The song changes tune when she transitions from fuzz to a twangy and anxiety-ridden melody. Perhaps she’s filling the silence after she’s said her piece, waiting for an answer or response to her worries or insecurities.
When Winters talks about Mickey’s dead pets in the song “Mickey’s Dead Stuff,” she’s at her best. The songwriter expertly combines sugar with grime as she sprinkles twinkly melodies and riffs via the garage. She speaks about heading to the suburbs “in a cool t-shirt” and then sleeping on a bridge. Thankfully she doesn’t pick a lane. Similarly, “Glitter House,” shimmers at first, sounding almost like a Yuck ballad, but the candy turns delightfully sour once Winters says she’ll “rip your guts out.”
Solo projects are a funny and ultimately gratifying thing that musicians do. Listeners get a peak into a band member as an individual and can experience the songwriter’s taste and strengths as a separate entity. As glaring and sometimes unnatural as they may seem, Winters nailed her solo record and now we know her a little better.