This Is Not a Music Blog, So Shugo Tokumaru

I know this isn't a music blog, and I'm not very good at playing the music discovery game. My iTunes is full and robust and replete with names that most of my peers have never heard of, but whenever I try to drop a musician full hipster style, it never works. Instead of going with whatever obscure Portuguese indie electro-pop group that plays non-stop in my house and in my head, I screw it up. "Have you ever heard of Radiohead? I just discovered them. Looks like they've been making music for awhile. Pretty heavy stuff. You should check them out."

But, hey, for real, I just found an album, a few years old, sure, but this is it. This is the music that comes closer to sounding like the inside of my head that anything I've come across. Plus, the artist is Japanese (+2 hipster points), the album is in Japanese (+3), features traditional instruments (+5), and has a sweet video that kills when you get into a game of Youtube tennis with friends (+10). Watch this.

Reddit's r/music shared this video, and I watched it twenty times in a row, then bought the album, and discovered that "Katachi" wasn't even my favorite song of the bunch.

This album has everything I love. It is one-hundred-percent, unabashedly, unapologetically happy. You'll hear clapping, and lots of people singing together. Tokumaru is a multi-instrumentalist, and the album contains plenty of weird ones. I wish I knew enough about music to describe what I mean, but it has a light-hit aesthetic delivered with with full pop music energy. The filler tracks between songs tread a little too far into Loony Tunes soundtrack territory even for me, but they are fun. This is fun music, get up in the bright, sunshiny morning music, go for a stroll and have a picnic music. It's probably WAY too sweet for most, but mixed in with all the sugar are some amazing flavors, flavors that are hinted at by acts like Sufjan Stevens in his more playful moments. This is pretty much what I hope for every time I buy a new album.

I don't know what it is, but Mr. Tokumaru will be one of three artists whose entire catalog I will acquire and love and be super proud of (the other two are Sufjan Stevens and They Might Be Giants). This is not a music blog, but I had to share. All the hand clapping and group singing and bubbly happiness has me far too excited.

Eric Rasmussen