Shintaro Sakamoto


I guess I discovered this band around the time of the release of this album in 1998. ゆらゆら帝国 (Yura Yura Teikoku which translates roughly to “wobbly or shaky empire”) was a 3 piece band out of Tokyo comprised of Shintaro Sakamoto (坂本慎太郎) vocals, guitar, Chiyo Kamekawa (亀川千代) bass guitar, Ichiro Shibata (柴田一郎) drums.

This is their 3rd or 4th album out of about a dozen they released over a 20 year career and remains among my favorites. They have so many great songs but 3x3x3 really holds up as an entire album for me. Although they have the label as psych-rock, I don’t really subscribe to it. They have elements of psychedelic sounds but really they have a really good unique rock sound highlighted by Sakamoto’s guitar playing and voice (although each member kicks ass).

One of the things I really like about them is Sakamoto chose to write his lyrics in Japanese. I don’t understand them really but they’re pretty abstract from what I can gather. It’s one of those things where the music is so good, his voice just blends in as another instrument. That happens in lots of rock I guess really. I don’t know if that kept them out of the spotlight on the international scene though. America kind of sucks like that. They hardly ever promote bands in their native languages (at least in the rock scene). Too bad cuz they miss out on a lot of great stuff.

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of these guys and wish I had seen them live before they broke up. You can find some live performances on the YouTube now and then. Their stuff seems to come and go on that platform. Also, I recently found them on Apple Music and they have 5 or 6 albums on there. Check em out!