Shintaro Sakamoto begins a new and perhaps unexpected chapter in his storied career with the release of his debut solo album, the otherworldly folk-pop masterpiece How to Live with a Phantom. For over two decades Sakamoto was the frontman and leader of Japanese psychedelic phenomenon Yura Yura Teikoku, a Tokyo-based band that formed in 1989 as part of the burgeoning underground scene based around Koenji's legendary UFO Club, appearing on the PSF label's iconic Tokyo Flashback compilations and signing to the Captain Trip imprint. And yet across their 20-year trajectory, they rocketed out of the underground and achieved massive mainstream success throughout Japan with an always-evolving psych-pop sound that eventually found them working with Sony Music and headlining major music festivals across the country. It was a rare case where great, boundary-breaking music resonated with the masses. While the group only ever played handful of shows outside of their homeland, they achieved cult status throughout the world and saw several albums reissued in limited pressings in the U.S., including the critically acclaimed Hollow Me/Beautiful on Hames Murphy's DFA label.
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