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Baker's Dozen

How Was It For You? Tim Booth Of James' Favourite Albums
John Freeman , March 31st, 2016 08:03

After the release of James' Girl At The End Of The World, lead singer Tim Booth tells John Freeman about clandestine childhood listening and the redemptive powers of Iggy Pop in choosing the LPs that "saved his life"

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Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch
Along with Sufjan, I think Regina Spektor is the other genius of this generation. I could have picked a number of Regina's records. Soviet Kitsch is the crossover, when she became accessible to a larger audience. Her first two records are records that only if you are slightly bipolar and, like me, a fantasist in music, are going to love. Soviet Kitsch found the language that was going to meet that wider audience. The songs are crazy masterpieces. They straddle a line between pop – there are catchy choruses – and craziness. 'Us' is one of my favourite songs ever written and will be played at my funeral.

I got into Regina because I had bumped into her producer [Gordon Raphael], who was also the producer for The Strokes, at a festival. He has just finished working with her and he raved about this crazy woman who would play piano while hitting a drumstick against a drum stool. I had to go and check her out after that. Soviet Kitsch is astonishing, as are the ones that follow.

I saw her play at The Greek in LA and realised I was watching genius. I couldn't write a song for three months after seeing her show, as I was so in awe at what I had witnessed. I have never had that experience happen before. I went back and bought every single piece of her music and for three months listened to her day and night, trying to work out what the fuck she was doing. I still haven't worked it out. I think she is channelling – she is a witch and she is channelling and that is all there is to it.

I fell in love with her and was lucky enough to meet her. I was even luckier to become friends with her and her husband, and it has been amazing to have her as a genuine friend. Her husband, Jack [Dishel], made this fabulous YouTube video [:DRYVRS] with Macaulay Culkin and it became a viral sensation. Jack is fantastically talented and a natural-born stand-up comedian. He will have you belly-laughing whenever you talk to him with his honesty and gawkiness. I haven't told many people that I have become friends with both of them, and I am a little shy about telling you that.


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