Still Parade
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Still Parade

Berlin, Berlin, Germany | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Berlin, Berlin, Germany | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Concrete Vision - Album Review"

There's a deep and genuine respect for the 1970s apparent on Still Parade's latest offering. That Niklas Kramer does away with the pristine production of previous release Fields here in favour of a coarser, tape recorder sound isn't to put the musical equivalent of the Instagram "Nashville" filter over something modern in an attempt to garner nostalgia; rather, it's all part of a larger aesthetic that leans closer to the bright AM pop of Todd Rundgren than the lush arrangements of chillwave contemporaries like Washed Out. It's in the soft grooves of "Walk in the Park" and the tinges of psychedelia in the phaser-heavy guitars lining "7:41," cut straight from the likes of Pink Floyd's Dark Side instrumental "Any Colour You Like," which tether Kramer's debut LP to a decade long passed.

Concrete Vision may pay homage to another era, but its shimmering keys and hypnotic vocal melodies make it a natural fit for summer 2016, capturing the essence of long, scalding days in the concrete jungle. The lo-fi guitar leads of the album's title track seem to melt away just out of earshot, and the synth mortar holding together "Everything is Going Down (Again)" evaporates like steam off a sidewalk in mid July.

There's an overwhelming lightness to Concrete Vision, even when the lyrics veer into darker territory on tracks like the rippled ballad "True Love" or the title track. The comforting timbre of Kramer's voice keeps the vibe mellow and even-keeled, a lifeline throughout the record's changing synth textures. Still Parade's debut album is a leisurely walk to a slower-paced, radio-driven '70s summer that embodies the chorus of "7:41": "There's no reason to hide, there's no reason to cry." (Heist or Hit Records) - Exclaim!

"New band of the week: Still Parade (No 96)"

New band of the week: Still Parade (No 96)
A tiny bedroom in Berlin seems an aptly romantic setting for one-man wonder Niklas Kramer to produce his dreamy, soft, summer pop
Niklas Kramer, Still Parade
Still Parade’s musis alludes to other big players in the pop field, such as Tame Impala and Toro Y Moi. Photograph: PR company handout
Paul Lester

Hometown: Berlin.

The lineup: Niklas Kramer (vocals, instruments).

The background: Still Parade is Niklas Kramer, the new one-man-band of the week. His first releases – debut single Actors and the Fields EP – were recorded in proper, well-equipped professional studios with experienced producers. Then, in 2014, his dad bought him a tape machine and he began experimenting with sounds and recording techniques in his Berlin apartment. He soon realised he preferred what he could achieve in his tiny bedroom: a dreamy, soft, shimmering sound, all radiant synths and woozy drum beats, allied to some lovely pop melodies. The results are impressive: Concrete Vision, an album due to be released in June, displays the full range of his abilities on a variety of instruments, notably keyboards, as well as his smart songwriting, inventive production and his way with a breathy vocal. And if that sounds like a recipe for the sort of DIY indie and budget-glossy yacht rock that barely registers beyond blogs, it’s worth pointing out that Kramer’s music has as much in common with Tame Impala (and Todd Rundgren, his all-time hero) as it does Toro Y Moi. There is a commercial precedent here. Indeed, Kramer – who made his North American live debut at South by Southwest recently and will be performing at this year’s Isle of Wight festival – received 700,000 plays on Soundcloud for Actors, while the track also featured in a TV ad campaign for Victoria’s Secret.

If ever an album was designed to evoke pangs of summer nostalgia even before the season has arrived, it’s Concrete Vision, with its achingly pretty chillwave. The latter term identifies the music as much as it does the milieu and delivery system. Kramer is the archetypal studio hermit who does everything himself – because he can, and because he doesn’t know how to communicate to other musicians the multifarious ideas in his head. Some will find the smorgasbord of synth sumptuousness somewhat sickly, will recoil from that wispy, whispery voice and overall air of chaste longing and ethereal rapture. But for fans of fx-drenched fizzy pop that explodes in the ears, Concrete Vision will be a poolside essential. Let Go artfully compresses the “bouquet of ear-catching melodies” on side 1 of Rundgren’s Something/Anything?; 07:41 is a fond nod to the Class of 2010, to Neon Indian, Memory Tapes, Washed Out, Millionyoung and the rest. The title of Everything Is Going Down (Again) suggests a self-awareness regarding the wall-to-wall melancholia. Morning Light is like a 1970s radio staple drained off all life, the husk of a hit, with handclaps that heighten the sense of a disco full of the ghosts of sad, departed lovers. Still, only someone as quietly confident as Kramer puts a track as fine as this towards the end of their album. He maintains the infectious mood of despondency all the way to LP closer Reason, which finds him wondering, “Why is it so hard to change?” over a typically bubbly arrangement and wan melody. He may not have the alien charisma of a Rundgren – in the video to Walk in the Park the bearded wunderkind looks distinctly creepy hiding in the bushes – but it doesn’t matter, as long as our new favourite lonerist stays in that Berlin bedroom of his and keeps making music like this.

The buzz: “Succumb to Still Parade’s dream-funk sounds …”

The truth: Perfect pop is a walk in the park to this young Berliner.

Most likely to: Let it happen.

Least likely to: Keep on lying.

What to buy: Concrete Vision is released on 3 June by Heist or Hit.

File next to: Toro Y Moi, Tame Impala, Todd Rundgren, Wayne Coyne.

Links: - Guardian


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