Free and legal MP3: Shugo Tokumaru (Japanese indie pop with nostalgic flair)

“Parachute” – Shugo Tokumaru

     Acrobatic, lighthearted Japanese indie pop with, somehow, the breezy flair of a European art film from the ’60s. I don’t think any of this is in English except for the title word, which comes across, rather charmingly, as “pra-shoo.” And by saying “Japanese indie pop” I really only mean that Tokumaru is from Japan–the music itself exists in a wonderful sort of trans-cultural, trans-spatial limbo that mixes influences and ambiances in that web-fed, 21st-century way that ends up sounding as new as it does familiar, and as familiar as it does new.
     While exhibiting an almost Leo Kottke-like dexterity with the acoustic guitar, Tokumaru possesses a decidedly un-Kottke-like voice: it’s an airy, wide-ranging tenor that is nicely suited to the breezy, nostalgic melody. (For those who don’t know, Leo Kottke is a guitar virtuoso who once, famously, described his singing voice as “geese farts on a foggy day.” Born in Athens, Georgia.) The tinkly, persistent xylophone adds to the vigorous yet delicate landscape.
     “Parachute” is the opening track on Tokumaru’s Exit CD, which was released in Japan last year, and is slated for a U.S. release in September on Almost Gold Records. MP3 via Pitchfork.

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