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James Acaster's Perfect Sounds

James Acaster's Perfect Sounds

For James Acaster 2016 is the greatest year for music of all time. Following a breakup James set out to rekindle his love for music by buying hundreds of new and niche releases from 2016. Now he's sharing his obsession with fellow comedians, exploring his favourite albums: from Beyoncé's internet-breaking Lemonade, to Colombian math rock fusion, and everything in between.


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Fatiha El-Ghorri is in Heavn

Heavn by Jamila Woods fuses R&B, Jazz and various other genres including classic indie.

Surely it must appeal to Cure-loving Fatiha!

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Aparna Nancherla & Freetown Sound

Freetown Sound by Blood Orange is such an "immaculate" album that James worries he might burst into tears just talking about it.

Here's hoping Aparna feels the same, otherwise trouble could be afoot.

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Jen Ives & An Escape Into Space

Splendor & Misery is a sci-fi concept album by experimental rap trio Clipping.

Lyrics and soundscapes combine to tell an Afrofuturist story of an escape from oppression into the void of space. Jen Ives prepares to be transported.

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Stuart Laws & ScHoolboy Q

James confesses to being in love with ScHoolboy Q's Blank Face LP.

With a Gangsta rap core but with psychedelic overtones and great production, is there enough to seduce Stuart Laws too?

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Toussaint Douglass & The Life Of Pablo

The ever-polarising Kanye West can be controversial at times but James can't help but like the music. After all, his 2016 album The Life of Pablo has a vein of weirdness running through it that is right up James' street. However, is it a path Toussaint Douglass is willing to tread?

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Fern Brady & The Punk Beyonce?

Black Terry Cat by Xenia Rubinos is a magical album drawing on many influences and described by the artist herself as "a punk Beyonce?".

However, is it enough to impress one of Scotland's finest, Fern Brady?

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Sadia Azmat & Black Girl Blues

Fetish Bones by Moor Mother delivers a powerful message via a sonically abrasive backdrop.

Labelled by the artist herself as Black Girl Blues, Project Housing Bop or Slaveship Punk, it's an album that demands the listener's full attention.

However, was it enough to hold Sadia Asmat's attention?

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Sara Barron & Emily's D+Evolution

Emily's D+Evolution, a brilliant Jazz-Rock-Funk fusion album by Grammy Award winning Esperanza Spalding, is usually the last thing Sara Barron would listen to.

However, some finely crafted lyrics start to reel her in.

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Nathan Caton & an OST to Nothing

Wes Borland you may remember as the guitarist in '90s rock/rap outfit Limp Bizkit. In 2016 he released Crystal Machete, a soundtrack to an imagined film.

James and Nathan try to imagine what that film would look like.

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Thanyia Moore, Illusion & Destruction

Mahoroboshiya by Japanese folk singer Ichiko Aoba is an album with such a delicate and intimate feel that James can't help but relax to it.

However, is it enough to chill '90s R'n'B-loving Thanyia Moore?

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Jayde Adams & Hard Pop Opera

Rien by Perrine en Morceaux has a sound so big, it envelopes James and (in his words) makes him feel like a little boy. But is it too big for Jayde Adams to handle?

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Rhys Nicholson & That '70s Funk Thang

Awaken My Love was a massive left turn for Childish Gambino and produced one of the best songs of 2016 in the form of Redbone.

Influenced by George Clinton's '70s band Funkadelic but with modern techniques, it made Rhys Nicholson "Horny... but not for sex".

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Charlie George, Vampires and Periods

Jenny Hval?s 2016 concept album, on the theme of blood, is a collection of light and beautiful melodies interspersed with dark and haunting soundscapes.

James tasks Charlie George to have a listen and report back.

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Fatiha El-Ghorri & Cohen's Final Bow

Fatihah El Ghorri, by her own admission, loves Cliff Richard and Shrek. So will the mournful, gravelly tones of Leonard Cohen appeal to her?

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Sikisa Bostwick-Barnes & Bollywave

Ami Dang, a classically trained sitar player, fuses ancient Sikh hymns and poems of Gurus with a modern dance feel and calls it "Bollywave".

Will it be enough to sweep Sikisa Bostwick-Barnes off her feet?

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Aaron Chen & ??? ??????

??? ?????? (or Oesch Magziu to you and me) by ?? (or Glintshake to you and me) is an album inspired by the Russian avant-garde, a creative movement popular in Russia in the early 20th Century and worked into a more modern sound. However, will it translate across the globe? Australia's finest, Aaron Chen, is here to tell us.

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Jen Ives & A Journey Into Darkness

The Caretaker's Everywhere At The End of Time is a 6-hour project exploring the descent into dementia. It had a profound effect on James, but what effect will it have on Jen Ives?

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Kiri Pritchard-McLean & Portuguese Fusion Pop Jazz

James and Kiri discuss Portuguese maestro Bruno Pernadas's 2016 album, Those Who Throw Objects at the Crocodiles Will Be Asked to Retrieve Them.

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Dai Henwood & Pop Royalty

Carly Rae Jepsen's 2016 album Emotion: Side B is 110% pure pop, with enough sweetness to thaw James' cold heart towards the genre. However, is there too much sugar for Dai Henwood to digest?

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Isy Suttie & International Prog Folk

With music inspired by improvisational Jazz, Persian and African folk and vocals in myriad languages, it's hard to tie Léonore Boulanger to a specific genre. Will Isy Suttie, with her background in jazz and prog rock bands, be won over?

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Chloe Petts On The Quest...

We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service. Hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest released their final album in 2016 and surely reinforces James' claim that this was indeed, the greatest year in music - of all time! But will Chloe Petts agree?

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Ahir Shah & Baroque Classic Pop

Inspired by classic art, sculpture and a year in Rome, Meilyr Jones' album 2013 is quite simply beautiful. James is hoping that Ahir will agree.

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Rosie Jones and Isolation Indie Rap

The Impossible Kid is a charming and personal album written by Aesop Rock whilst isolating in a cabin in the woods.

Full of fables and colourful characters, surely Rosie Jones will be charmed..?

James has his fingers crossed.

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Sikisa Takes A Seat At The Table

Sikisa thought R'n'B was dead... Then came Solange's 2016 album, A Seat At The Table. A masterpiece that brought Solange out of the shadow of sister, Beyoncé.

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Aparna Nancherla & A Rich, Heavy Ethereal Blanket

Mirror Breathing by Shield Patterns is an electronic album of inventive melodies, set in atmospheric and sometimes haunting soundscapes.

But will Aparna Nancherla be scared or (like James) seduced?

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Bonus Sounds: Zach Phillips of OSR Tapes

Whilst trawling for music from 2016, James noticed a common thread through some of his favourite records - OSR Tapes. A label founded by Zach Phillips. James gets to speak to Zach about what inspired him to start a label, why he closed it and everything in between.

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Harriet Kemsley and 'Absolute Chaos!'

Hello New York by Maher Shalal Hash Baz is an album described by founder Tori Kudo as "a revolving cast of players from varying backgrounds and varying experience".

Described by Harriet Kemsley as "chaos". However, the more she listens...

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Stuart Laws & Angela Sawyer

Ukulele strumming, high-pitched yodelling and dissonant keyboards - Angela Sawyer?s On The Pedestrian Side is an album ?not designed to make you feel comfortable?.

No wonder Stuart Laws feels he is being pranked!

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Maisie Adam & Who-Pa-Zoo-Tic Sounds

James and Maisie discuss Hartley C White's album Something Better and his attempt at creating a whole new genre. Maisie loved the last album James sent her, so James is hoping she'll be equally impressed with this one.

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Fern Brady & Emo R&B

James Acaster talks about one of the many albums he collected from the year 2016 with one of his comedy friends. This week Fern Brady states from the outset that Half of My Love by Fauxe is not for her? oops. Even though the title comes from one of her favourite albums. Can James change her mind?

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Bonus Sounds: Anthony Fantano Explains Himself

James delves deeper into the online music community with founder of The Needle Drop and gets him to explain why his WORST album of the decade came from 2016.

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Sadia Azmat & Cheltenham Trip Hop

James Acaster talks about one of the many albums he collected from the year 2016 with one of his comedy friends.

This week, Sadia Azmat discusses the album One Tusk by Moth Equals.

But will Sadia be impressed by the plethora of different influences and Bollywood samples?

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Nathan Caton & old-school hip hop

James breaks his own rules by picking a 2016 album which sounds "old-school", rapper Westside Gunn's debut Flygod. He discusses it with guest Nathan Caton, plus they delve into Nathan's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles obsession.

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Sara Barron & retro indie-pop

Sara Barron confesses to James that she has very questionable music taste but is left feeling very Parisian listening to Cate Le Bon?s Crab Day, an album about a fictional day.

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Thanyia Moore & Rihanna's ANTI

Thanyia Moore goes on a rollercoaster journey with Rihanna's most personal album yet, ANTI.

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Bonus Sounds: James' dad - Johnnie Frierson - Have You Been Good To Yourself

James sits down with his dad David Acaster to talk about the Johnnie Frierson album Have You Been Good To Yourself. They chat about the records played in the house growing up, the musical game they played when James was young and the 2016 mixtape he made for his dad.

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Jayde Adams & self-penned gospel

Jayde reminisces life through 'lost album' Johnnie Frierson's Have You Been Good To Yourself which was found by a crate digger in a thrift store.

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Harriet Kemsley & Krip Hop

Harriet Kemsley warms to Wheelchair Sports Camp's avant-garde rap album No Big Deal. The record features humorous and political lyrics from disabled rapper Kalyn Heffernan, who is part of the Krip-Hop movement which uses hip-hop as a means of expression for disabled artists.

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Rhys Nicholson & gothic Americana

Despite not expecting to like someone called Marissa, Rhys Nicholson enjoys a negroni while enjoying Marissa Nadler's dreamy gothic American folk album Strangers.

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Charlie George & Kendrick Lamar's untitled unmastered.

Charlie George is pushed out of her dad rock listening habits, and finds much to love in the lyrical imagery created by Kendrick Lamar, in his sort-of B-side album untitled unmastered.

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Toussaint Douglass & eccentric indie

Toussaint thinks James hates him after listening to Four Thing, the eccentric indie project based around the number 4, created by Zach Phillips. Four vocalists, singing alternate lines written by four lyricists, to create 16 songs. But does Toussiant?s nan like it?

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Bonus Sounds: Andrew Falkous - Christian Fitness

James and friend David Trent chat to the man behind Christian Fitness, Andrew Falkous. James delves deep into the album's meaning and David asks if his son can have one of his guitars, (among other very awkward and unsavoury questions).

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Maisie Adam & comedic post-punk

Maisie Adam feels grabbed and shoved against a wall by the one-man-band Christian Fitness and their post-punk album This Taco Is Not Correct that features darkly funny commentary on Britain.

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Aaron Chen & dark reggae

Aaron Chen gets into a plunge pool to rid himself of the dark and sad vibes of Mournful Skank's Ghost Hunter.

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Kiri Pritchard-Mclean & experiemental sampling hip hop

Kiri Pritchard-Mclean feels shoved around by Coin Locker Kid's 90's influenced experimental hip hop album The Salmon of Doubt, featuring a dense sound collage of samples.

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Dai Henwood & the house party concept album

James introduces Dai Henwood to an indie concept album that he regularly gets recommended. Singer-songwriter Andy Shauf's The Party features a series of closely observed and intersecting characters at a house party, and Dai enjoys doing his taxes to it.

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BONUS SOUNDS: Radiohead's Colin Greenwood

James visits Colin Greenwood at home to discuss making 2016's A Moon Shaped Pool, plus Colin suggests what Radiohead tracks James should get into, whether music scenes are cool, and Colin's impending Radiohead tribute act!

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Isy Suttie & a drum duo

Multi-instrumentalist and comedian Isy Suttie is engulfed by the purely percussive self-titled album Rattle, featuring two drummers and their vocals.

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Chloe Petts & bedroom indie pop

Chloe Petts discovers that Frankie Cosmos - the stage name of Greta Kline - and her 2016 album Next Thing is exactly her kind of cap-wearing DIY bedroom indie pop.

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Ahir Shah & a blissful sound collage

Ahir Shah discovers 'Good Will Come to You' from artist Jean-Sebastian Audet's project Un Blonde. A blissfully mellow sound collage that incorporates field recordings, vocal harmonies and acoustic guitars, it was released on tape cassette in 2016. And for Ahir it's the perfect music to chop vegetables to.

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