Tokumaru Shugo

ml12nightcover01Trevor, in town recently and the special guest at last week’s Tokyo Fun Party, runs an indie label from New York called Music Related. The next release is from Tokyo native Tokumaru Shugo, an album called NIGHT PIECE. If you go here, you can download an MP3 preview mix of the album, which I’ve ended up listening to 3-4 times. The official release is May 11, but you can pre-order the album now (which I’ve done) for 8$. Can’t wait for it to get here so I can listen to the whole thing.

On Shugo Tokumaru’s “Night Piece, ” the 23-year old Tokyo native bends the most gentle and familiar pop sounds into a bittersweet backroad journey through a dreamy, imaginary countryside. The instruments are often conventional, but the sound never strays from surprise and bewilderment: Acoustic guitars are almost never strummed, but pluck out exact rhythms and slide from note to note in amazing melodies. Shugo can conjure up the ghosts of bygone Brian Wilson-summers one second only to turn the corner into the best Southern road-movie ever. Even when he stumbles into experimental territory with psychedelic drones, super-fast guitar licks, and jarring backwards-riffs, he retains a quiet honesty. Nothing is forced or “show-off”: “Night Piece” is merely the beautiful pop that flows through Shugo Tokumaru’s world.