The mysterious project Still Parade was launched on May 20, 2013 with the release of the track "Actors" on the indie blog Earmilk. Featuring an arpeggiated guitar hook worthy of José González, pedal steel, falsetto vocals, synth pads, and a minimal drum loop, the song had a lush, romantic, summery, retro vibe that combined '70s folk and AM pop tropes with a more contemporary chillwave sensibility, and immediately became a viral hit. As interest in and speculation about the artist's identity grew, further songs -- "Health," "Fields," "Reunion," and "Hunter" -- slowly leaked out, each channeling the spirits of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Fleetwood Mac, and Todd Rundgren.
Still Parade was eventually revealed as the one-man band of Berliner Niklas Kramer, a multi-instrumentalist and studio wunderkind who produced and played all of the instruments himself. A number of remixes were released on Soundcloud, and Serve & Volley Records put out a 7" of "Actors," before Kramer issued the Fields EP, which collected the titular track and three others. In 2014, Kramer's father made him a gift of a multi-track tape recorder, which fired his interest in home recording. He largely ditched the organic feel of his earlier work for a highly synthesized, faintly psychedelic sound, while keeping the lush pop songwriting. This new style could be heard on his debut album, Concrete Vision, which was released in 2016 by U.K. indie Heist or Hit. ~ John D. Buchanan