{News & Press}

San Diego Uptown News, March 2014

Against the Sun
Muruch's Top 25 Albums of 2013

Against the Sun
2013 Best Albums of the Year

Against the Sun
2013 Best Album Covers of the Year

Against the Sun / DJ Amperdan's Best Albums of 2013

Against the Sun review:

"With this new album, Rykarda Parasol confirms her qualities as a singer and songwriter. Her deep and gravelly voice will vibrate more than once. If you like Marianne Faithfull and Nick Cave, try the adventure again."

- MusicinBelgium

Against the Sun review:

"The strongest album of her career , being more mature , confident and determined than ever..."
- Mic, Greece.

"Each time I listen to (Against the Sun) I fall more and morein love with it"

- Music Is, Warsaw

"Candidate for
album of the year

"...definitely one of the best female albums of the year"

"...and finally the voice of Rykarda: dark, sensual, often raw and powerful"

Rykarda Parasol comes to Nuremberg. She looks and sounds like a mysterious, dangerous seductress who tells stories with her songs about love, yearning, whiskey and death. With her deep, quiet-cool voice, she gives her songs a sinister such intensity that draws the listener from the first moment in its spell.

Rykarda Parasol
Seit uber 10 Jahren fegt sie uber die Buhnen der Welt und hat bereits zwei hochgelobte Alben selbst herausgebracht. "Against the Sun" heist nun der dritte Streich, den es zum Beispiel heute Abend im K4 in Nurnberg bei ihrer Show im Programm der formidablen Parenthetical Girls live zu erleben gibt. Ihren Sound beschreibt sie selbst als Rock Noir, was die Sache ziemlich gut trifft, denn Einflusse und Geschwister im Geiste sind durchaus herauszufiltern: Nick Cave und PJ Harvey grusen von der Seitenlinie, wenn Rykarda ihre Stimme ins Tremolo gleiten lasst. Die Poesie ihrer Lyrics wird von der Presse gern neben stilistische Ikonen wie Lou Reed oder WIlliam Faulkner gesetzt. Eine seltene Perle des Songwritertums, die vor allem in Deutschland noch unentdeckt unter der Aufmerksamkeitsschwelle des Mainstreams verborgen liegt.

Rykarda Parasol -- Against The Sun
Rykarda has self-released another accomplished rock-noir album, this time in an acoustic format that showcases her striking vocals and perceptive lyrics even more than before.  Rykarda's albums have always been a reflection of her personal journey through life and Against The Sun is no exception.  Travel -- of body, mind, and soul -- is a prevalent theme that runs through the album.   Rykarda focuses specifically on departure -- from a place, a person, and even from life itself -- as well as the inevitable destination.  While these themes and her lyrics may sound bleak, there's a spirit of vitality and hope, and a survival instinct, which informs Rykarda's emotions and vocal delivery.

Light, spare beds of acoustic guitar lines, drums, rich layers of Rykarda's vocals, and sometimes piano notes support her stark lyrics.  She gravely stalks through "Atheists Have Songs Too", dolefully sing-talking "Suffering is life's common thread."  The song title "Island of the Dead (O mi, O my)" speaks for itself, although a sly, albeit macabre, humor does run through the lyrics.  A few songs, like "The Cloak of Comedy" and "Your Arrondissement or Mine?", leaven the gravitas with a dreamier mode that harks back to a 1960s singer-songwriter style. - April 26, 2013

"... latest album, the masterful, arresting, and personal Against The Sun"
Full interview here >

Muruch's Top 25 Albums of 2013
Album Review: Rykarda Parasol's new album, Against The Sun, gives her signature noirish rock sound a modern polish without compromising its dark, artistic integrity...

What impresses me most about Against the Sun are the little details, particularly the vocal embellishments woven into the arrangements. Rykarda uses her voice as much as any instrument: haunting moans and surprising ooh la la's in "The Cloak of Comedy"; echoing yelps in "I Know Where My Journey Will End"; the chilling multi-tracked glory of "Island of the Dead (O mi, O my)"; ... The outlaw anthem "Take Only What You Can Carry" is the standout track. There aren't many songs that possess lyrical references to graves and a beat catchy enough to clap your hands along with. - Muruch.com

Netherlands Live Review: "The American Rykarda Parasol visits the Haniahof. The tone for the evening is put. The stakes are high and it is Rykarda Parasol, also described as the female Nick Cave is a touh level to hold. The blonde singer succeeds with flying colors and more than meets the expectations of the public." -- Jort Klarenbeek, May 2012.

BUST Magazine. EP Album Review, April 2012: Collaborating with Polish super group Heart & Soul, San Francisco's Rykarda Parasol expands her rock noir sound on a fatantabulous new EP. "Elaine", Parasol's duet with Lukasz Lack of Polish band, L.Stadt, shows us how a hardtfelt power ballad with edge is done. The buzz-saw groove of "Don't Panic, Children" are reminiscent of Blondie and the Pretenders, while the pulsing bass line and killer drum beats recall the Cure and Joy Division. "I Don't Want to Fail You" begins with a mid-tempo, Massive Attack-esque pace before transitioning into a frenzy of industrial beats. Parasol's sultry, deadpan voice is a kindred spirit to Nico and Siouxsie Sioux at their darkest. With any luck, the EP's perfect mix of musical styles, brooding synths, and alluring vocals will get these proficient Polish musicians noticed in the US, and allow Rykarda Parasol to shine brightly like the star she already is. - Michael Levine.


VICE Interview with Rykarda, Feb. 2012: More and more it takes a lot for music to actually make me feel something. Usually I'll put on an album and then go about my business of eating a ham sandwich or picking crumbs out of the throw rugs, while the notes just toot away in the background. If something is especially good, I'll listen to it more than twice and learn a few lyrics, but even then, it probably won't take me on "an emotional journey" or whatever. Continued here >

Rykarda Parasol's "Your Safety Is My Concern" featured on Bust Radio! October 2010

Rykarda Parasol > Top Ten San Francisco "Bands to Watch For"

Rykarda's 2010 Top Ten for PopScene: See what she recommends here >

March 9, 2010: Rykarda Parasol spills her heart out with Blood and Wine
The San Francisco singer bares the dark shadows that influence her rich songwriting
, By Katherine Hoffert

"Like her characteristic blonde/black hair, Parasol's music is full of careful contrasts and balance—sorrow and joy, elegance and grit, femininity and masculinity. It's also laced with death, absinthe, broken promises, and lily-white light...full interview here >

Rykarda Parasol to Play NYC!
Posted by: Intern Laura in Music Stuff on Apr 14, 2010

Hopefully everyone's filed their taxes already, and now that that's done it's time to celebrate. If you're into the likes of The Velvet Underground, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, don't miss singer-songwriter/gitarist extrodinaire Rykarda Parasol and her great band from San Francisco tear the shit out of it tomorrow at Pianos on Lower East Side and Friday at Littlefield in Brooklyn. Not to be missed!

San Francisco Chronicle: Rykarda Parasol's 'For Blood and Wine'
by Aidin Vaziri, Chronicle Pop Music Critic, Sunday, April 18, 2010

... The striking Bay Area native with two-toned hair is not one for doing things in half measures. She writes, records and releases her own music.

The album is defiant and extroverted. But for all her ambition - and that bone-chilling growl - that childhood sense of vulnerability still rises. The last image on "For Blood and Wine" is a person sitting alone in a room... Full Story Here >


As heard on Live 105's Soundcheck with Aaron Axelsen, KUSF, and KALX

San Francisco Chronicle Datebook, Jan 24, 2010

Flavorpill, San Francsico, October 2009:

Rykarda Parasol's smoky, deep voice belies her petite frame and shares a brooding tone with songstresses like Marianne Faithfull and Nico. With Southern-gothic lyrics exploring standard mope-rock tropes of love and loss, Parasol weaves together stories of delicate reflections and ominous foreshadowing... -- Tanya Feldman

The Deli Magazine, San Francisco. July 3, '08:

"The Lady to Watch"

And while her name might make you think of an umbrella, her music will inspire slightly more complex imagery... Her voice draws an easy comparison to Nico in the days of the Velvet Underground or PJ Harvey circa anytime, but with a lighter edge and range of sound. In a way, Rycarda Parasol blends Tom Waits' noir tendencies with Nick Cave's stinging rock, but maintains uniqueness with the fact that she's, you know, female."

SF Weekly, Dec 18, 2010: SF IndieFest: Our Picks for the Local Acts You Shouldn't Miss

Rykarda Parasol is San Francisco's Nick Cave, a lithe, gothy singer who delivers aching poetry in smoky tones over multilayered musical atmospheres that feel straight out of the 1920s. With a brittle voice, wintry appearance, and painful, personal stories to spare, Parasol combines the elegant intimacy of lounge with the sonic palette of rock. Parasol's dark, romantic music is perfect for a mysterious late January night.

The LA Weekly, October 2009 by Falling James:

"Rykarda Parasol croons grandly over the circling "Peter Gunn" guitar riffs and decadently swanky sweep of horns on "A Drinking Song," from her upcoming album, For Blood and Wine. The "rock noir" chanteuse from San Francisco is all about shadowy atmosphere, but rueful ballads like "Widow in White" possess a melodicism and elegance that's more affecting than most goth-cabaret dirges. The gigantic introductory chords of "Maggie" slam like Link Wray's iconic "Rumble," before melting into a funereal procession that sounds like Siouxsie Sioux fronting the Gun Club — it's weirdly gorgeous. "Covenant" has an incantational, Patti Smith--style momentum, and "No Sir (Ain't No Man Gonna)" is defiantly moody. Parasol, who created the "secret location art salon" the Hive and has worked with the Bad Seeds' Blixa Bargeld, is obviously kind of intense, finding great beauty in great sadness. For her, every day is gloomy Sunday. - Los Angeles Weekly

Rolling Stone
Jan. 2008, Germany
3.5 stars

"Sweetest Things of 2008"

The Portland Mercury, Portland, Oregon. September 2008:

"San Francisco's moody goth-folk collective Rykarda Parasol (has) more than a few things going... The arsenal is rife with Jim Jarmusch-esque musical imagery: Reverb-dripping whammy-bar leads anchor saloon-piano vignettes, all cemented by Parasol's sinister vocals. Her rustic croon (the female counterpoint to a broodier Nick Cave) sounds as if it could crumble under the weight of its own vulnerability; it's less the focal point for lyrical profundity as it is the lead instrument in her catalog. When live, Rykarda Parasol employs only as much enthusiasm as it would take to roust a crew of zombies at a cemetery set—gravely gothic and extremely good." RJP

Venus Interview, 2009, Chicago: Fans who take to her have done so fully, offering up comparisons to everything from Edith Piaf to a Tarantino movie soundtrack, two auteurs with similar niche appeal. The comparisons cement Parasol's acute self-analysis of her own appeal.

BUST MAGAZINE. Rykarda Parasol: For Blood and Wine, Mar 05, 2010 > San Francisco musician Rykarda Parasol describes her music as rock noir, a sound that evokes film noir mixed with such heavies as the Velvet Underground, Nico, and Leonard Cohen. Younger folks might draw Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, and Mark Lanegan comparisons, as Parasol employs a similarly low vocal range to deliver her torrid tales, but she creates her own otherworldly atmosphere by accompanying herself on guitar and piano.

Rykarda Parasol looks and sounds like a mysterious, dangerous seductress smoking a cigarette and waiting for you in the dark shadows that exist somewhere among love, death, and rock ‘n' roll. [Michael Levine]

Undisputed Album of the Year, 2008 *****

Westzeit, Germany's premiere rock magazine

7x7 Magazine Cover, July 2007:
Rykarda Parasol: The Americana Beauty
by Melissa Goldstein
See the full article here >

"For Blood and Wine" - BEST OF LISTS 2009

99 Most Popular Emerging Songs in the Word

"One of the best albums this year"
- tranzistor.gr review of "For Blood and Wine"

#2 spot, www.Mic.gr (Greece)

#2 spot, Head-case.org (USA)

#2 spot, Dandy Pop (USA)

#3 spot Musiciswhatlifesoundslike.blogspot.com (Germany)

Top 10 Albums of 2009 - KUSF's "Time Warp" (San Francisco, USA)

SFGate.com: Best Local Bands of the '00s (San Francisco, USA)

Top 15 albums of 2009: Muruch (USA)

# 19 Farinelka.blox.pl (Poland)

Top 2009 Albums Geistmann.com, (Germany)

Best of 2009, Esensja Arts and Culture Magazine (Poland)
Rykarda Parasol -- For Blood and Wine
Komu spodoba? si? debiut i nie wymaga stylistycznej wolty ju? na nast?pnym nagraniu, drug? p?yt? powinien by? zachwycony. „For Blood and Wine" to zestaw równie dobrych, obdarzonych rewelacyjn?, barowo-po?udniow? atmosfer? piosenek, stylistycznie lokuj?cych si? gdzie? mi?dzy Nickiem Cave'em i alternatywnym country, czasem zadziornych, niekiedy delikatnych. Tak, nihil novi, ale jak nie pokocha? panny Parasol i jej ujmuj?cego g?osu?

Fantastic album covers from 2009 (Seattle, USA)
Dec. '09.
rykarda parasol
For Blood And Wine

It's certainly rewarding when musicians create their own album art and are able to bridge the gap between their music and visuals. For Blood And Wine is a record written after Rykarda Parasol left Texas and returned to California, and the use of the poppy is symbolic of this transition. In her own words, she says, "The flower of California, the poppy (which has been used historically as a symbol of passion, sleep, and death) is surrounded by other opiate poppies with a figure facing outward and defiant. The black and white nudes have always represented the exposing of oneself, but [not] yet entirely." Like the artwork, the music is poetic -- inspired by Oscar Wilde and full of personal ties.

June 15, 200Front page of the SF Chronicle newspaper and cover girl on 96Hours Bandwidth inside.

Sometimes you don't get to choose a band name because a band name has already chosen you. Such is the case with San Francisco's romantically moody rocker Rykarda Parasol... read more here >

Time-Out New York Apr 14, 2010: Rykarda Parasol + Bootblacks + Little Annie and Paul Wallfisch

In the headline slot, doomy glamourpuss Rykarda Parasol takes her cues from Nick Cave's Birthday Party. Notable support includes Little Annie and Paul Wallfisch; Annie fronted Annie and the Asexuals in the '70s, and her work with Botanica leader Wallfisch brings the erstwhile punk into a kind of experimental cabaret. [Levine]

Delusions of Adequacy: Interview with Rykarda Parasol, May 17, 2010 by Jen Stratosphere Fanzine

"I start with the aim to dissect the emotional state and apply logic to it and by doing it in song. I capture these life's flashes as though they're souvenirs. Like gritty photographic reminders. Of course, I'm a storyteller and stories often have a beginning, middle, and end. Without conflict there's not much meat. My aim is also to define its meaning and give resolve."
Read the full interview here

Artists on Albums: Read Rykarda's much talked about essay on the Afghan Whigs inspired album "Black Love": Full article here on Adequacy >

The Red Alert May 2010. Rykarda Parasol: For Blood and Wine
(self-released), Record Review by Marcel Feldmar

Dark, moody, lovely.

While you can't help but listen to this and find echoes of PJ Harvey, there is definitely something else going on as well. The depth of the vocals stretch a little more towards Nick Cave, as, I think, do the lyrics. Perhaps combining PJ Harvey and Nick Cave is an easy route, but it's hard to do it well. Rykarda Parasol do it very well.

The second song on the album bursts into life following a short intro, and this is where the album truly begins. "A Drinking Song" is just that, but it's not your party-rousing drinking here, it's a gothic gutter stormy weather ready for murder drinking song. When these drinks are done, you'd better lock your doors and beware of the night. Rykarda hits on a touch of Siouxsie Sioux, but pushed into a different direction by the haunted Americana twisting rhythms behind her. Like a gloomy and slightly more straightforward 16 Horsepower... Then a lonely piano slides out underneath the vocals, world weary and haunting, on "Widow in White," and time seems to slow down, stop, and all you can do is just listen to the song.
Just listen…

Sometimes the notes and rhythms hit a little towards a Mark Lanegan whiskey-soaked late night cabaret blue velvet seduction, as in the song "Maggie." You can feel the rain falling, you can taste the deep weather and the whiskey glasses slowly emptying. Lush, hypnotic, seductive.

"One For Joy" hits out with a demented carnival Tom Waitsian rhythm, with Rykarda coming in like some Midnight Jim Morrison queen, like a minimal Banshee crawling over the ruins of some ghostly fairground. Then a slight shift, and we're into "Hold Back The Night," which holds on to that Nick Cave storytelling shadow, but the stories are worth listening to. This is poetic, this is music, this is poetry. The vocals move out like a cross between Johnette Napolitano and Marianne Faithfull.

That is, I think, brilliant.
While not the most dynamic song on the album, this song is one I could just keep listening to. It moves like smoke and blood. It tastes like wine.

I want to go back and find previous albums. I want to hear Rykarda's take on the Gun Club's "She's Like Heroin To Me," which is found on the 2003 EP Here She Comes. I want to swim in the notes, and breathe in the lyrics.

There are two instrumentals on this album, "For All Men Kill…" and "…The Thing They Love", which are just short shades of heart-wrenching sorrow and distance. The rest of the songs hold the same shades, but they're broken with that warmth of voice, that human touch. That slow dance for a last chance, and the hope shines through. A little closer to lust than love, but that's quite alright with me.

Read the full review here >

Local Shows, April 24, 2010: Rykarda Parasol, Saturday @ Cafe du Nord.

This woman is dark. Nick Cave is a glitter boy compared to the lyricist talent of Rykarda. Her deep vocals are wrapped up in a sexy, petite package.....if you saw her walking down the street, you'd have no clue that this beauty could tear your heart out with one song.

Rock noir songstress Rykarda Parasol to play at Cafe Du Nord on Saturday, April 24,
San Jose Examiner 4/22/2010

San Francisco-based Parasol has been getting some much deserved attention lately as she performs around the SF-Bay Area and select venues nationwide to support her second full-length album, "For Blood and Wine" (2009), released last fall. The album's title offers an indication of what Parasol has to offer: darkly intoxicating and viscerally affecting music.

Those describing Parasol's style liken her to Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and The Black Heart Procession. All comparisons aside, Parasol's songs are richly expressive, with lyrics that are often poignant poetry set to music. Parasol has the gift of taking life's ugliness and making it hauntingly seductive and beautifully poetic through the alchemy of her songwriting and performance... Not just a talented singer and songwriter, Parasol is a multifaceted and truly independent artist.

Full story here >

Thursday, April 15, 2010 | return to: arts:
Family's past leads sultry songstress into some dark places

by emily savage, staff writer

While her lyrics are born of familial tragedies, Parasol's smoky singing style is a result of her interests in both blues and opera. She likens her bluesy vocals to other deep-voiced artists such as Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Marianne Faithfull. Her opera side comes out in the way her somber lyrics tell a dramatic story.

Although she credits her music to a range of influences — from poet Langston Hughes to the artsy hippie next door — Parasol says the ultimate inspiration for her songs was being the daughter of a Holocaust survivor--Israeli father and a Swedish mother.

Full story here >

I've thrown atleast half a dozen verbal tomatoes at the trend of young girls screeching their lyrics — unless it's through the mouthpiece of Joplinesque talent, I want to run for Finally, there's relief: a young woman who sounds like a w-o-m-a-n (as in Suzanne Pleshette or Lauren Bacall). Another "finally" is inspired by Parasol's molding of noir/cabaret to her own image. most male imitators of Tom Waits and Nick Cave have lost their freshness for me. But when a w-o-m-a-n comes on like a cross between Lotte Lenya, Nick Cave, and Patti Smith, I slump at the bar with a Shirley Temple and take notice.

Parasol's dynamics make her work more than predictably noir. Tracks like "Covenant" and "A Drinking Song" are woven with fierce guitars and kinetic rhythms. also integral is Parasol's ability to glide from spoken word to the cracked syllables of heartbreak to clear, hard anger. Unusually, my focus is held through most of Blood and Wine's 16 stories, which are colored by San Francisco circa the Barbary Coast, Parasol's history, and a slew of European and literary influences. those influences don't preclude occasional missteps (from "You Cast a Spell on Me": "I'm a shady spot/I'm a Tater Tot/I'm a woman who bleeds/I'm a can." as in Patti Smith's best work, Parasol's vehemence rescues her from the ridiculous.

ZAPTOWN, Feb 25, 2010: Rykarda Parasol -- For Blood And Wine (Music Review)

Rykarda Parasol sounds like a great American Gothic novel reads. Brockden Brown in essence but take out the madness and psychopathy, For Blood And Wine raises a glass to the lost and lonely. A pre-noir feeling, it's the long pre-dawn drive across the basin after a night being buried in the dark underbelly of the Bayou. It's the grayness that blends into army green wool that hide out in the backstreets of Warsaw. It's the fog that blinds Frisco and the smell of gunpowder permeated on the barstools.

There is a degree of cabaret within Parasol's demeanor. "One For Joy!" sings like Marlene Dietrich, dominating over a dragging worker's beat. "One for joy, and one for sorrow," one of the more realistic songs about the true spirit of life. Whichever it is, someone is going to drink to something.

For most of the album, Parasol carries a thick skin, but there are moments of fragility, with Parasol's range of gruff to feminine, it's as fragile as Concrete Blonde was sincere. "Hold Back The Night" is a combination of haunting retrospection and beautiful dialogue that blends folklore and conviction that will keep you on the end of your seat like a child being told an incredible tale filled with adventure and mystique.

Although the album carries that lost highway sound and does not really deviate for from it, there is not a bad tune on this album. Strike it up to the band's passion to have the sound stay true to the colors of the album's theme. Parasol is one of the more interesting vocalists of the 21st Century that will make you shiver like a cold wind blew in as much as hypnotically entrance you.

More Sultry and Darkly Affecting "Noir Rock" from Rykarda Parasol

"For Blood and Wine" (2009) gives a telling indication of what San Francisco based indie artist Rykarda Parasol has to offer with her new album:  darkly intoxicating, sultry and viscerally affecting music.  Parasol has been getting a lot of local attention lately as she performs around the SF-Bay Area region to support her second album released last fall (see here, here, here, and here for example). I must say, the praise she is getting is well deserved.

Parasol characterizes her own sound as "rock noir" and those describing her music liken her to a female Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and even The Black Heart Procession. Others note a passing similarity to Siouxsie Sioux (of Siouxsie and the Banshees). Like those artists above, Parasol's sound is richly expressive, with lyrics that are often poignant poetry set to music. The songs from her new album - as well as her debut Our Hearts First Meet  (2006/2007) - are crafted as compelling vignettes, recreating pieces of stories, emotional states, and glimpses into life's darker corners. This is music for walking the grittier urban byways under the cover of night, for tawdry hotel rooms, and for moments of drunken dissolution. Regret, pain, loneliness, mourning and disillusionment provide the themes.  Parasol's sultry, jazz-cabaret style vocal delivery amplifies the emotional impact. This is music that will get under your skin and intrude into your subconscious.

Take for example "A Drinking Song" where Parasol gives us exactly what the title suggests. But she also creates in our mind's eye the sort of grimy dive bar where the song should be sung. A place where the patrons no longer maintain even the pretense of expecting something better -- and where the best respite is to be had in the drunken, carnal passions of the moment:

Let's all sing a song
A song along while we drink
A thinking song, a drinking song
For the ship we're on sinks
Lo life is short and life is sad
So let's carouse - we'll pretend we're glad
What so care we of some woe and hurt?
Girls let us come raise our skirts!

Parasol's press bio describes her as "the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and Swedish mom" who began writing and performing music upon returning to her native San Francisco after years spent in Los Angeles and Texas. According to the bio, true accounts and experiences inspired the songs of "isolation, detachment and death" on her two albums. The semi-autobiographical themes of Parasol's songwriting explain the emotional power she packs into her songs. There is a rawness to the music, one that combines a tone that is sometimes tough-as-nails and jaded, sometimes world weary and vulnerable, and yet always defiantly unbowed and passionate. Parasol has the gift of taking life's ugliness and making it hauntingly seductive and beautifully poetic through the alchemy of her songwriting and performance.

Another remarkable fact about Parasol is that she is a truly independent indie artist, self-producing and releasing  For Blood and Wine on her own. For a taste of what this new album has to offer, be sure to check out "A Drinking Song," "Covenant," "Widow in White," "Hold Back the Night," and "Maggie." If you like what you hear, also give a listen to Parasol's first album, Our Hearts First Meet (2006/2007) -- in particular "Hannah Leah" (video below), "Candy Gold" (video below) and "Night on Red River."

SF WEEKLY, FEB 19 2010: Show review: Rykarda Parasol cannot possibly own pajama pants. That would be too normal, and she never seems like a normal person. Last night at Hemlock Tavern, the Scandinavian-descended, noir-blues poet ruled her small stage like a foreign princess, weaving lyrical tales of murder and vice with a remote, enchanting presence. Her music owes much to Nick Cave, but while he is grotesque and gothy, like some erudite, cave-dwelling mutant, Parasol's more a precious vixen -- an inhumanly elegant entity that emerges from an ice palace each sunset, poured into a smoky evening gown, ready to wield her piercing stare in the service of some unsavory end. Though filled with reckless freedom, her songs-as-stories often tackle error, failure, and betrayal. The sense that Parasol really knows a thing or two about those feelings managed to break through her performance's otherwise pristine remoteness last night. Only two songs from the end, Parasol seemed ready to return to the ice palace. "It's like we're in a Finnish sauna together," she joked. "Think you can hang in there?"

Parasol slung a sexy white Gibson Melody Maker, fingering open chords and slamming the strings to reach grungy heights even more fevered than what has so far come out of the studio. Her voice wound into eerie howls and fell into her trademark throaty sing-speak.

CRAWDADDY.COM, FEB 19 2010 You Should Listen to Rykarda Parasol if You Don't Already, by Angela Zimmerman

I came into work this morning debating what to listen to, and nothing seemed quite right until I started playing Rykarda Parasol's newest album, For Blood and Wine. This is gorgeous, gothy, dark, sensual stuff, lush but never heavy-handed, sparse when it needs to be, like the chilling, "Hold Back the Night." It's haunting and gorgeous, dense and easy to get lost in. Well worth you getting your ears wrapped around. Parasol lives in San Francisco, and apart from her presence on the local music scene, she also founded the Hive, a secret location art salon in Russian Hill (exact location is a secret, of course). Crawdaddy! was an early proponent of her talents; we wrote about her way back in June of 2007, but her music has continued to evolve and garner her accolades well beyond the fair city that we share. Parasol's rock noir style has been likened to Nick Cave, the Black Heart Procession, and she's been considered the West Coast's answer to Nico. Her lyrics are intimate and searching, while underneath brews a range of instrumentation, which includes piano, guitar, and weepy strings, thumping drum beats and eerie backing vocals


A Room To Breathe in Blog: Feb 2010: Rykarda Parasol is an American artist who creates beautiful dark rock music... Often compared to Nick Cave, Nico and the Velvet Underground, and Johnny Cash, Parasol weaves intricate tales infused with dark meaning and simmering atmosphere. The end result is a highly stylized aesthetic of both sound and imagery. Most of the lyrics on "Our Hearts First Meet" are drawn from Parasol's personal life and sewn into cohesive songs which, though seemingly simple, offer themselves up for multiple interpretations. This is a must-have for everyone! Absolutely brilliant!

J Weekly: Husky-voiced local Jewish vocalist Rykarda Parasol will perform TONIGHT (Thursday, Feb. 18) at the Hemlock Tavern alongside ambient math rockers Chambers. Parasol, who lives and plays in San Francisco, was born to a Polish father who escaped the horrors of the Holocaust and stunning Swedish mother who taught her about the past. The result? Parasol sings gothy, noir-tinged rock ditties full of soul and swagger. Want more on Parasol? Do not fret, dear reader, a full feature is in the works…

East Bay Express feb 17 2010: Rykarda Parasol, For Blood and Wine. Imagine that Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen had a baby and raised her in a cool dive bar — that baby would be Rykarda Parasol. With a deep, throaty voice and some deliciously nasty lyrics, she's a great antidote to all that is banal and tedious in the current music scene. Think dark cabaret — it's awesome stuff. (self-released)

NITEWISE, SF: Feb 18 2010: Rykarda Parasol > Rykarda Parasol has one of the more distinct voices of our generation... The depth of her sultry sound is uncommon, and worth a visit to Hemlock Tavern tonight. She's sold out plenty of shows already, and her musical themes of "bad deeds and betrayed loves" will no doubt get you into her gin-fused groove. She may be just what you need. Check her out! (Kuze)

SF Weekly > Thursdays Picks > Week of Feb 14, 2010

PUSH, SF Weekly Email Newsletter, Feb 2010: Darkness becomes her: There's something unmistakably noirish about San Francisco, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that one of goth-folk's finest chanteuses is based here. Rykarda Parasol likes to call what she does "rock noir," a sound that has attracted comparisons to Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, and Siouxsie Sioux.

Rykarda Parasol opened up Winter Music Fest at the Bottom of the Hill on Friday night
SJ Examiner, Feb 3, 2010:

Rykarda Parasol is one of those musicians who make you believe that music is something that comes form within of its own volition. That it is something not so much created, as birthed, by the artist. Ms. Parasol cuts quite a striking figure and always seems to wrap herself in long slinky outfits. Then she takes off the jacket and puts on her performer persona, and she becomes something extraordinary... When Rykarda steps onstage, and picks up her guitar, she gets a swagger in her step and a fierceness in her voice. She plays with an unabashed intensity... All in all it was a powerful performance, and a fantastic beginning to the night. If past performance is an indication of future success, then this set bodes well for the remainder of the Winter Music Fest.

Indiefest/Winter Music Fest: Rykarda Parasol and Dave Smallen.
by Wendy Hill, February 1, 2010

We kicked off Indiefest's Winter Music Fest this Friday night at Bottom of the Hill with Rykarda Parasol and Dave Smallen, a couple of native Bay Area musicians... Parasol, who's been compared to Nick Cave and Johnny Cash, she rocked the crowd, stoking the fires ... Both shows were awesome, and we'd love to hear more from Parasol and Smallen.

SF Weekly, Local Frequency Q&A, Feb 3 2010: On her second full-length effort, For Blood and Wine, Rykarda Parasol invites you on a journey where the main character, a lawless woman trapped in time, drifts between the Barbary Coast and the Wild West. Parasol delivers these stories wrapped in haunting vocals and backed by the occasional violin howl--it's a style that she prefers to call "rock noir."

Parasol is one busy lady. Along with self-releasing For Blood and Wine, she's also the founder of The Hive, an underground art studio--one of many creative projects occupying her time. Local Frequency met up with Rykarda at Place Pigalle to chat about females in the music industry, being told to change your name, and getting inspired by San Francisco's literary scene.

Interview continued here >

"magnificent musician from san francisco. creator of one of the best albums
in recent memory, 'for blood and wine'". -

Famous Blue Raincoats, Jan 29, 2010: Rykarda Parasol is indeed Nick Cave's Tender Prey... "If Nick Cave had a uterus and was impregnated by Johnny Cash, Rykarda Parasol would be their talented daughter with the low voice": an extremely accurate description of this ethereal creature, Rykarda Parasol. Her latest record reminds so much of Nick Cave's superior moment, Tender Prey: she is angry, she is passionate, and when she sings her blues she is heartbreaking. Her voice and singing remind the Johhny Cash of American Recordings- yes this voice is a natural gift, but she doesn;t spend it on jazz standards for example, she attacks music and sense alike. Sometimes she sounds like Diamanda Galas without the screaming, other times she shows what Siouxsie always wanted to be but never managed. Comparisons with Nico are plenty, but Nico's voice was monolithic, Rykarda makes you wander with her singing in the far depths of sentiment. And the contrast between her fragile appearance and her passion and voice makes the effect even stronger.

For Blood And Wine was her third record, released last year- and if I could chnage my vote she would be my number 1- this is a classic record, one that we have been waiting for more than 20 years to put beside Tender Prey. There is not a single weakness and it is not easy to choose...

Jan 28th, 2010 By Christy Mannering: Born of a holocaust orphan and distant Swedish royalty, Rykarda Parasol uses her life story and a love of literature to craft music that is vacuously dark while simultaneously a celebration of life and its vices. With a voice and lyrics compared to the likes of a female Nick Cave, and drawing influence from The Doors, Serge Gainsbourg, and Oscar Wilde, Parasol describes her music as "rock noir," evoking moody cinema drenched in gin and white-collar crime. Parasol's nature is strong, her prose is starkly sincere, and she could drink Tom Waits under the table.

Parasol's new self-produced album For Blood and Wine is a true-life narrative depicting the progress and downward spiral of a rake, which in this case is female. "It's witty, darkly romantic, edgy and elegant… It's tales of infidelity, addiction, and death. Mostly sad, but some real moments of joy and hope," Parasol states.

On the press release for Rykarda Parasol, she was described as the female Nick Cave. The first single from her upcoming, For Blood and Wine album pretty much backs up that description. I'd also throw in a comparison to Patti Smith just for good measure.

San Jose Examiner, Jan 24, 2010: On Friday, January 29th, Rykarda Parasol opens up the SF Indie Fest with a show at the Bottom of the Hill. Rykarda is playing in the opening slot, so make sure to get there early if you want to see her perform. The self-described rock noir goddess sings songs with a smoky slow-burn groove. Sounds like a good start to an indie fest, if you ask me.

The Big Takeover, NY, NY > reviews:
by Kristen Sollee, 18 December 2009

Rykarda Parasol‘s dark, rich voice, weathered as if by tragedy and time, leaves you weeping and grinning til the end as she drags you through the dusty back alleys of Gothic Americana. On her second full length album, For Blood and Wine, Parasol paints vivid tableau that are heavy with history. Sorrow and seediness are brought effortlessly to life with her bold language; each track tells such intriguing tales that one can't help but conjure up wild backstories to complement them

While parts of Parasol's work can be easily compared to other classic acts, it is only useful to mention these artists to convey the formidable aura that emanates from the songstress. And while it's often best to avoid discussions of "female artists" as if they are a genre unto themselves, there is an exhilarating gender-defying aspect to Rykarda's vocal timbre and style that must be mentioned. While her deep alto is cut with grit and bolstered by a world-weary confidence that is not too typical for female performers, she does not shy from discussions of love, lust, and vulnerability from the female perspective. A girl can't help but rally when Parasol intones, "Ain't no man gonna put a rope around me" so vehemently as the song crescendos in "No Sir." (And God help anyone who might try.)

Challenging gender and genre with her musical and lyrical prowess, Rykarda Parasol is at once raw and earnest, sensual and callous with just enough wit and wry humor to make it all go down sweet and easy. For Blood and Wine is an intoxicating swig of bitters and a trace of lipstick on a stubbled cheek. Even as the sonic strains dwindle, you can hear her lifeblood beating in every last note.

more here >

Wears the trousers, London, UK Dec. 2009

Rykarda Parasol
For Blood & Wine ••••

Rykarda Parasol is a self-professed purveyor of ‘rock noir', a relatively young genre that can trace its creeping roots back to the more established sounds of Americana, Goth and even cabaret. Nick Cave and The Velvet Underground are cited as some of its progenitors, an allusion previously nodded to in Parasol's 2005 mini album Here She Comes, with current contemporaries including the mighty Elysian Fields. Though her parentage is European -- she's half Polish, half Swedish -- the dark eyed, blonde haired artist spent some formative years in Texas, the landscape of which served as her muse for 2006's debut full-length, Our Hearts First Meet, and continues to shape her material with a countrified drawl and twang in this expertly crafted follow-up.

For Blood & Wine begins with an indicative lack of foreplay, darting straight into themes that persist throughout. "The road is long with treachery," Parasol cries out in her heavy, distinctive baritone, accompanied by mournful violins and evoking the kind of archaic warning proverbs that haloed departing travellers of old. Her guttural vocals shift between the dirty, poetic ruminations of Lydia Lunch and the drawling slurs of Johnny Cash, though there are also elements of Nico and even Kim Gordon in her brash, revelatory notes. Like these greats, Parasol weaves her tunes with a morose glory, taking her part-sung, part-told narratives through twisting, downtrodden alleyways, writhing and exalting at equal turns in her troubling tales.

‘You Cast A Spell On Me' is epic in its crepuscular, orchestral cabaret, and certainly one of the strongest songs in this armoury of missiles, though almost by accident for it's in this self-conscious flamboyancy that Parasol's vocals find enough space to unleash their full dexterity. Sweeping over scales and volumes with the natural grace of wings in flight, her old-soul drawl spans out -- part gospel cry, part curse -- a litany of glitteringly beautiful, knife-edge poetics. Album closer ‘Swans Will Save' punctuates these tragic, passionate proceedings as a sweet, almost nonsensical ditty seemingly sung by a small child. It's hard to know what to make of this unexpected ending, which sits in silence until the one minute mark, though it would seem prudent to assume its innocent jangling serves as an antidote after so much adult anguish.

Brutal in its relentless darkness and visceral in its subject matter, For Blood & Wine is an album that moves its audience mercilessly through desire and pain. Derivative yet entirely genuine, Parasol gives her scarred tales a poetic, salty beauty, ripping away any false placations with a steady, stern hand.

Rykarda Parasol-For Blood and Wine
Review by Ashlee Elfman, Nov. 2009, Los Angeles, CA

She goes where most female singers dread going with their voices, often low and deep in a way that would please the likes of Nina Simone or Diamanda Galas.

For Blood and Wine is an almost intimidating accomplishment.

East Bay Express, Oakland, CA: Your Daily Lick: Rykarda Parasol
For Blood and Wine (self-released)

San Francisco singer Rykarda Parasol's songs are not for the faint of heart, nor for moments of levity. Her gothic lounge-rock bears the stamps of Nick Cave and Siouxie Sioux, with low vocals both spooky and seductive. But don't take her too seriously; it's all in good fun, and she'd rather entertain than frighten you. She can do both, with great songs to boot. October 2009

The Walrus:
Highly Recommended

A sexy woman with an exotic name. Rykarda Parasol could've stopped right there and I would've been sold. But nooo, she had to throw in her amazing voice too. The sound of Rykarda Parasol can be compared to Johnny Cash, Igmar Bergman and contemporaries like Cat Power and Bat For Lashes... Oh so good.

Swampland Zine, April 2008
The April issue has interviews with Rykarda, Bellmer Dolls, and Jail Weddings. Rykarda's interview with Ashlee Elfman is posted here >

"Rykarda Parasol has the voice of a woman who knows the weight of a gun, and the weight of a heavy heart. Her rugged, romantic ballads draw frequent comparisons to the likes of Cash and Cave, and although these comparisons seem to be handed out too freely these days, Ms. Parasol has definitely earned her stripes with her last contribution, Our Hearts First Meet... Sometimes painful and impulsive, yet always beautiful, Ms. Parasol offers up an array of soul plunging songs for those that enjoy their music genuine and unafraid." - Ashlee Elfman

Rolling Stone Magazine Top Ten, April 2008
Rolling Stone Germany asked Rykarda Parasol to list her top ten records and songs. Read here >

Austin Chronicle > SXSW Picks: 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


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