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Baker's Dozen

Bon Appétit: James Acaster's Favourite Albums
Emma Garland , February 9th, 2022 10:36

From the tiny emo scene of noughties Kettering to a love of underground hip-hop and the undying appeal of a cult classic, comedian James Acaster takes Emma Garland through the albums that have defined his life

James Acaster is a refreshing voice in comedy. Whether you know him for his panel show appearances, his one-liner on The Great British Bake Off that went so viral you can now buy it on aprons for twenty quid, or his acclaimed stand-up special Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999, there hasn’t been a British comedian to capture the zeitgeist so comprehensively since Russell Brand back-combed his hair and started flirting with everyone like a Dickensian swindler. Somehow, all the chaos, anxieties and kind comforts of modern life are contained within the talents of one man from Kettering. Because of this he’s one of the few comedians that Dave-watching dads, social media activists, edgy satirists and The New York Times can all agree upon.

Acaster also knows more about music than most. In his late teens he was in a few bands, took up singing lessons, and decided that he was going to be a drummer – a decision that would help to expand his horizons beyond the punk and metal he got into when he was 12 and 13 (Nirvana, Deftones, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine and “a lot of quite bad nu metal”) to encompass everything from alternative rap to Brazilian samba icons like Elza Soares (who sadly passed away after this interview was conducted).

He also believes that 2016 is the best ever year for music, and has been arguing the case in a book called Perfect Sound Whatever and its accompanying podcast, James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds, in which he forces a series of guests from fellow comedian Nish Kumar to YouTube critic Anthony Fantano to listen to a particular album (could be anything from Solange to Bandcamp-only grindcore) and talk about it. Today’s list doesn’t feature any albums from 2016 – that would, I’m told, require its own list that would be approximately 130 albums long. It doesn’t feature some of his top albums of all time either – Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come, At The Drive-In’s Relationship Of Command and Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over the Sea – as you can find him gushing about those in other public places. Here, he says, “I’d rather introduce people to some albums that don't get enough credit.” Bon appétit.

James Acaster's latest show Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999 is available to purchase here. To begin reading his Baker's Dozen, click the image of him below.