Rykarda Parasol
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Rykarda Parasol

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Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter

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May
22
Rykarda Parasol @ rickshaw stop

san francisco, California, USA

san francisco, California, USA

May
15
Rykarda Parasol @ red devil lounge

san francisco, California, USA

san francisco, California, USA

Apr
26
Rykarda Parasol @ madrone lounge

san francisco, California, USA

san francisco, California, USA

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Music

Press


In the lazy, hazy tradition of fellow salvation shucksters Nick Cave and Siouxie Sioux, singer Rykarda Parasol leads this fourpiece from Frisco, delivering a smoky, gin-tinged salve to soothe the souls of the wicked, like Opal, OP8, and opium combined. - Kate X Messer - Austin Chronicle


The music played like a soundtrack to a David Lynch movie, equal parts sexy and creepy. "En Route" provided one of the set's most uppity moments and the band's treatment of Gun Club's "She's Like Heroin" was heightened by Parasol's richly dark vocals. SK - Exclaim! Canada's Music Authority


Ever since Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, I've been grieving over the loss of the old PJ Harvey, the one who screamed and slithered her way through song after song of raw, angsty passion, heart wound open and bleeding. My ears ache for the original deal, and while that erstwhile Harvey may never return, thankfully San Francisco dark chanteuse Rykarda Parasol has filled this niche for me. A genuine musical force in her own right with a Harvey-laced smokiness to her voice, Parasol weaves gothic, bluesy tales of desire and strength, compassion and solitude. She's just what I need. - Eliana Fiore - San Francisco Bay Guardian


Rykarda Parasol is well versed in tragedy. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and a Swedish mother who obsesses about death, Parasol was practically born morbid. So on the San Francisco songwriter's debut album, Our Hearts First Meet — an extension of her 2003 EP Here She Comes — she can't help but lasso the listener into her haunted country theater. With inspiration from a brief time spent in Texas, the singer and her band build simple arrangements of piano and guitar to showcase her deep and affecting voice. No matter what comes out, there's an inclination to listen. She effortlessly harnesses the attitude of PJ Harvey, the magnetic power of Nico, and the whiskey-soaked swagger of Mark Lanegan in her lonesome tales of heartbreak. Yet it can seem a bit overwrought at times. In the best moments, like "Weeding Time," and "Texas Midnight Radio," Parasol's voice doesn't force emotion but moves with the same subtle ease of the music, while "Candy Gold," the most upbeat song on the album, induces uncontrollable swaying. She may be obsessed with the dark side, but on Our Hearts First Meet, that obsession makes everything seem more alive. - East Bay Express, Oakland


I love this album. Really, I don’t even want to write anymore than that – just leave you all hanging, so that you would always wonder and then make yourself go and listen to it. Rykarda Parasol (not the easiest name to remember) is the throaty singer-songwriter at the front of this folk/goth act... The stories that these songs tell take you into places and situations that you don’t want to be in, or would be uncomfortable in. “En Route” tells the story of a woman being the only one with dry eyes at her man’s funeral. “Night on Red River” really makes you think of walking down cold unfriendly streets – alone and nervous. “Lonesome Place” touches on race issues, telling the story of a Klansman’s attack and a lynching, the Klansman saying “nigger/look me in the face/tell me you believe in the great white race.”.... Dark, brooding, haunting, ambient and intelligent – that’s how I want to sum up this one. -M. Kara. - TwoWayMonologues.com


With vocals both unsettling and sublime, Rykarda Parasol beckons us to share her place overlooking the whistling, barren Texan plains at dusk in her promising debut release. Comparisons to PJ Harvey and Nick Cave are commonplace and inevitable, though Parasol lends a distinctly delicate quality to her weighty, blues-inspired compositions both lyrically and vocally. "Lullaby for Blacktail" and "How Does a Woman Fall?" showcase Parasol's mastery of combining whisky-tinged masculine vocals with those more distant, soothing and feminine. A highlight is the haunting "Hannah Leah", which serves as a creepy introduction to the album with swooning instrumentals as accompaniment. Perhaps the clearest example of Parasol's penchant for the blues, and certainly the sultriest vocals, can be found in the Langston Hughes-inspired "Lonesome Place", which chugs by as a ghost-train in the desert. If no other song induces chills, this will. - TheOwlMag.com


Here She Comes is the excellent debut EP from San Francisco's own Rykarda Parasol. It's hard to find comparisons to her powerful, self-described "gothic American rock" locally. For that we need to look thousands of miles to the east, to Siouxsie Sioux, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and to the Deep South of Faulkner's works. Her lyrics are drenched in the darker side of Americana. The album begins with Parasol singing, "Texarkana en route to New Orleans/My baby fell from his bike/And I was told he lay conscious/And he knew death would arrive" on "En Route" and she uses Langston Hughes as inspiration for the lyrics of "Lonesome Place." Parasol’s voice is undeniably powerful as she twists sounds. - Mesh Magazine


If you missed this show last night, you completely blew it. Rykarda Parasol and Two Ton Boa were completely amazing. If you live in San Francisco, make sure you go out to see Rykarda and her band soon. - Brophy - Mesh Magazine


If Rykarda Parasol isn't hired by Tim Burton or David Lynch for soundtrack work soon, she should be. With her deep, husky voice, Parasol is almost the reincarnation of Nico, the late female vocalist who sang icy, gloomy chamber rock with the passion of a torch singer. While Parasol's music doesn't have the European flavors that Nico had a preference for, it's just as sultry and dark. "En Route" features creepy organs and pummeling drum sounds; however, it is Parasol's smoke-baked voice that makes the track boom through the speakers. If Siouxsie Sioux had stripped the Banshees of their synthesizers and appetite for danceable rhythms, she would've produced something like "En Route." This is American Gothic in its most compelling form. On "Lonesome Place," Parasol aims for the blues, and she nails it. 8 stars. - Whisperin and Hollering, UK


Our Hearts First Meet is Rykarda Parasol’s first full length after the Ep Here She Comes, but it sounds as though it should be the soundtrack to a noir film. A gothic instrumental introduction makes way for the first vocal track, “Hannah Leah,” that opens with sparse acoustic guitars and Parasol’s smoky yet sensual voice. The song is soon transformed into a dark, cinematic tale when Parasol’s haunting vocals are joined by a piano and then layers of lush harmonies during the chorus. I got a chill when I heard the piano enter the scene for the first time during the lines “Toodle loo / They’ve all abandoned you.” The song not only has an amazing amount of depth and soul, but it sounds perfect with her deep voice...

...The dark and depressing material treats Parasol well. Her voice reaches out in a way that will send a chill up your spine. In “Night on Red River,” Parasol turns to anger as she grits her teeth and hisses her lines above the persistent guitars and banging piano keys. The chilling voices near the end of the track sound like the wind whistling through distant trees at night, like ghosts calling out to the living.
Setting the scene and building up a mood is Rykarda Parasol’s specialty. Her voice will wrap around you like a blanket of shadows and give you goose bumps as you proceed further into the depths of the album. So turn off the lights, turn up the volume, and get ready for a complete cinematic experience. - Delusions of Adequacy


Discography

1) Our Hearts First Meet, by Rykarda Parasol
Released July 2006, LP, Three Ring Records

2) Just Like Gin, song featured on comp "at the crossroads". 2007. Three Rign Records

3) Here She Comes..., Rykarda Parasol
Released April 2003, EP.
Originally Released by Blood of the Young Records

Photos

Bio

San Francisco's Rykarda Parasol plays rock noir and aptly describes her sound as underhanded and white-collar criminal. The music draws comparisons to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Nico and the Velvet Underground, Black Heart Procession, and Johnny Cash. These cinematic songs tell stories of bad deeds and betrayed loves with stark simplicity.

Parasol began the first incarnation of her band after returning to her native San Francisco following some years living in both Los Angeles and Austin. Originally, she was asked to replace a singer of another SF band who’d gone missing on an opiate binge. That band, riddled with problems from the start, soon settled into a smaller lineup and reformed with Rykarda’s songs and vision at its center in 2002. Though she now lives in San Francisco, Parasol visited Texas frequently for long stays over the next five-years. Her experiences during this time became the inspiration for a collection of poignant songs about isolation, detachment, bad love, and death. Those accounts have a dominant space on her 15-track album “Our Hearts First Meet”, the follow-up to the well-received EP “Here She Comes (Blood of the Young 2003).

With each evolving lineup, Parasol recorded tracks along the way. And although she encountered many knocks on the journey, she has created a connected and conceptual work. In the past two years, changes to her lineup have yielded a very focused and assured presence. The album features performances by Colleen Browne (Pale Saints), Rich Douthit (the Drift), and Jeffrey Luck Lucas. Along with a production collaboration with Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart, PJ Harvey, and Polyphonic Spree).

Parasol was named after her father, Ryszard, a holocaust survivor. Her mother’s Swedish accent distorted the name, which means “leader”, forming Rykarda. She is of Swedish and Israeli decent. Her older parent’s dark tales of European life during WW San Francisco's Rykarda Parasol plays rock noir and aptly describes her sound as underhanded and white-collar criminal. The music draws comparisons to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Nico and the Velvet Underground, Black Heart Procession, and Johnny Cash. These cinematic songs tell stories of bad deeds and betrayed loves with stark simplicity.

Parasol began the first incarnation of her band after returning to her native San Francisco following some years living in both Los Angeles and Austin. Though she now lives in San Francisco, Parasol visited Texas frequently for long stays over the next five-years. Her experiences during this time became the inspiration for a collection of poignant songs about isolation, detachment, bad love, and death. Those accounts have a dominant space on her 15-track album “Our Hearts First Meet”, the follow-up to the well-received EP “Here She Comes (Blood of the Young 2003). Rykarda will begin recording a new albumin Spring 2007 in Austin with Spoon Producer, Mike McCarthy.

With each evolving lineup, Parasol recorded tracks along the way. And although she encountered many knocks on the journey, she has created a connected and conceptual work. In the past two years, changes to her lineup have yielded a very focused and assured presence. The album features performances by Colleen Browne (Pale Saints), Neil Busch (And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead), and Jeffrey Luck Lucas. Along with a production collaboration with Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart, PJ Harvey, and Polyphonic Spree).

Parasol was named after her father, Ryszard, a holocaust survivor. Her mother’s Swedish accent distorted the name, which means “leader”, forming Rykarda. She is of Swedish and Israeli decent. Her older parent’s dark tales of European life during WW II and the transition of San Francisco during the Beat era have played a role in both her upbringing and empathy towards strangers and underdogs. Parasol studied literature and art and traveled alone extensively, often spending summers in Sweden with her grandmother. There she worked on a strawberry farm, read many books, and became familiar with a stark Scandinavian aesthetic that has informed her artistic approach. Though she has some vocal opera training, Parasol’s music education is limited and she is sparingly self-taught – giving way to a style that is both raw and sparsely elegant. Parasol relates to Southern American writers, Like William Faulkner, who told malevolent tales of interlopers in conflicting environments. Inspired by travels and losses she set out to write and sing dark stories uniquely and authentically. One such example is “En Route”, which describes events surrounding a friend’s death.

In the past few years, Parasol and her band have shared the stage with artists such as Frank Black, the Trail of Dead, 50Foot Wave (Kirsten Hirsh), Chuck Prophet, Broken Social Scene, Jonette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde), and Jolie Holland. She and her band have performed at SXSW, The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, The Mission Creek Musi