Streams

Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson appears in the following:

For 20 Minutes, The Grammys Transcend The Awards-Show Blahs

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sometime tomorrow, Linda Holmes and I will break down Monday night's Grammys telecast in a Small Batch edition of Pop Culture Happy Hour. And, for a variety of reasons, we're not likely to spend much time on the awards themselves.

The headlines there, after all, aren't shocking: Taylor Swift's 1989 ...

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Palehound, Live In Concert

Monday, February 01, 2016

Finding a songwriting voice takes time — and then there's the process of pinpointing the best way to send that voice hurtling through speakers. Palehound's Ellen Kempner has long had the words: scathing and evocative, certain even when swimming in an ocean of doubt. And with every live show, ...

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Leon Bridges, 'River'

Monday, February 01, 2016

Leon Bridges' music hearkens back to the soul of old: He may be a charismatic singer in his 20s, but his music draws on a crisply appointed, pure, decades-old sound. But watch the new video for his song "River," and it's clear that Bridges has his eye fixed on ...

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: In Conversation With Fred Armisen And 'Welcome To Night Vale'

Friday, January 29, 2016

Pop Culture Happy Hour entered this week juggling a couple of problems. For one, a gigantic blizzard had just dumped roughly two feet of snow on the D.C. area, making transportation virtually impossible and, it turns out, stranding Glen Weldon in a Virginia cabin for much of the week. Getting ...

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Playing SXSW 2016? Send Us Your Songs

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Every year around this time, many of us on the All Songs Considered team — including Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers and me — each dredge through nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. And every year, we wind up missing something. In ...

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First Listen: Elliott Smith, 'Heaven Adores You'

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

There's an untouchable quality to the works of Elliott Smith, the singer-songwriter whose 2003 death haunts his already-haunting songs about pain, longing, love and survival. As with the similarly ill-fated Nick Drake, attempts to emulate or cover Smith's music tend to capture the feathery beauty while missing the ...

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First Listen: Walter Martin, 'Arts & Leisure'

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

After The Walkmen announced an "extreme hiatus" at the end of 2013, the band's members scattered in many artistic directions: Singer Hamilton Leithauser, for example, made a Walkmen-esque solo record that showcased his brooding side, while multi-instrumentalist Walter Martin made a playful, guest-star-laden album for kids ...

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The Giant Foam Finger: How Do You Choose Your Favorite Team?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A few months ago, Code Switch lead blogger Gene Demby turned to Twitter in an attempt to crowd-source a solution to a problem he'd been having. Gene had begun watching Premier League soccer but couldn't settle on a rooting interest, so he asked the league's fans to convince ...

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Song Premiere: Eric Bachmann, 'Mercy'

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Eric Bachmann has reinvented himself several times in the last quarter-century: After breaking through in the '90s, with the jagged, sneering indie rock of Archers Of Loaf — and releasing an album of rock instrumentals as Barry Black — Bachmann took on the name Crooked Fingers, which ...

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First Listen: Shearwater, 'Jet Plane And Oxbow'

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Officially, Jet Plane And Oxbow is Shearwater's ninth studio album, so it's fair to expect a tapering-off of ideas at some point, to assume that 15-plus years of recording and touring would begin draining the vitality from Jonathan Meiburg's grandiose and ambitious compositions. After all, Meiburg has plenty of ...

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Songs We Love: Jeff Buckley, 'Just Like A Woman'

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

To be a fan in 2016 is to be super-served: If you love a musician today, you're likely to find a complete catalog on streaming services, have the option of falling down YouTube rabbit holes full of bootleg recordings and rare performances, while tracking down radio and video sessions all ...

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Song Premiere: Chris Bathgate, 'Calvary'

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Michigan singer-songwriter Chris Bathgate takes just enough time off between records that he needs to be reintroduced every time he resurfaces. His 2011 album Salt Year followed a four-year gap — watch him perform a few of its songs at the Tiny Desk — while its forthcoming follow-up, an ...

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2015: Looking Back On A Year At The Tiny Desk

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In just a few weeks, NPR Music will publish its 500th concert recorded live at the famed Tiny Desk — in fact, in 2015 alone, we've put out a whopping 84 of them. Winnowing those 84 down to the 15 you see here wasn't easy, but we settled on an ...

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Song Premiere: Damien Jurado, 'Exit 353'

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

On paper, Damien Jurado seems like just another sad guy with a guitar, but his discography is incredibly varied: Sure, he's cut his share of sad-guy acoustic ballads, but he's also wandered down an exciting assortment of detours, and his sound has only grown more expansive and searching with ...

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Pop Culture Happy Hour Small Batch: Frank Sinatra At 100

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Frank Sinatra was born 100 years ago this past Saturday, which at NPR can mean only one thing: an opportunity to talk to the biggest Sinatra superfan we know, business reporter Sonari Glinton, about the singer's formidable legacy.

Of course, we weren't the only ones to think of Sonari ...

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Stephen Thompson's Top 10 Albums Of 2015

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

If 2015 has felt musically overstuffed, that's at least in part because the year's many highlights seem to spring from every musical direction. This is just one writer's list of favorites — fueled by a unique set of biases, personal circumstances, genre preferences, neuroses and disorders — and yet it's ...

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Live On Halloween, With Fred Armisen

Friday, November 13, 2015

Months had passed between live Pop Culture Happy Hour tapings, so when the time finally came to record in front of a crowd, we made sure to supersize the festivities in every possible way. That meant recording on a weekend, on a holiday — on Halloween, no less! — in ...

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The Giant Foam Finger: What's Your Walk-Up Music?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Baseball is a game of ritual and routine, and traditions aren't adopted lightly. But in the past 20 or so years, major-league stadiums have adopted a system in which each home-team batter takes the plate to his own theme song — usually a piece of popular music announcing his arrival. ...

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The Good Listener: What's The Matter With Canada?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the checks for people who aren't us is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts on music's odd and ever-changing relationship with Canada.

Gregory writes via email: "I have a ...

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First Listen: Josh Ritter, 'Sermon On The Rocks'

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

On Josh Ritter's most recent album, 2013's The Beast In Its Tracks, the singer-songwriter dredged through the battered ruins of his own post-divorce psyche. As such, the record looked relentlessly inward — to forgiveness and spite, to recovery and despair — as Ritter labored to examine his failed relationship ...

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