Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson appears in the following:

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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. ...


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 ...


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 ...


The Good Listener: How Do We Pick 'Our Song'?

Saturday, October 03, 2015

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the assortment of coloring books for grownups is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts for an engaged couple who can't decide on their first wedding dance.

Peter writes via ...


First Listen: Saintseneca, 'Such Things'

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Ohio band Saintseneca made a national name for itself with its moodily stellar 2014 album Dark Arc, on which it showcases an arsenal of unlikely instruments, from the bulbul to the bouzouki to the bowed banjo. Throughout Dark Arc, all those worldly (and alliterative!) sounds got channeled ...


Pop Culture Happy Hour: Stephen Colbert's Return And Great Talk-Show Guests

Friday, September 18, 2015

On Sept. 8, Stephen Colbert made his debut in David Letterman's spot as host of CBS's Late Show, a role he took over after Letterman's retirement and the conclusion of his own nine-year run at the helm of Comedy Central's Colbert Report. This week's Pop Culture Happy Hour panel — ...


The Giant Foam Finger: If Serena Williams Loses, Is It Still The U.S. Open?

Monday, September 14, 2015

When Gene Demby and I were planning this week's sports discussion, we didn't say, "We should sit down Monday to discuss the U.S. Open." We'd planned to discuss Serena Williams, the most dominant player in women's tennis, who was expected to complete a rare Grand Slam in Saturday's final. (To ...


The Good Listener: How Can Parents Make Time For Music?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside a new Wii U game that cost more than our gas bill is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts for parents who seek the mental energy to love music ...


Pop Culture Happy Hour: Labor Pains And Inspirations

Friday, September 11, 2015

Labor Day has come and gone, but before it vanishes from memory altogether — taking with it our dreams of barbecues and white pants — the Pop Culture Happy Hour gang gathers here for one last labor-themed discussion. Of course, we're linguistically sneaky in these parts, so Linda Holmes, Glen ...


First Listen: Glen Hansard, 'Didn't He Ramble'

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard has proven incredibly versatile throughout a career spanning more than 25 years. In The Frames, he's mixed vein-bulging intensity, string-laden elegance and a rock star's flair for rafter-shaking anthems. In The Swell Season, he's indulged his romantic side, pairing with ...


Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Mr. Robot' And Title Sequences

Friday, September 04, 2015

Last week, when Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon and I gathered to talk about the great summer entertainment we'd neglected to discuss on the show, we came to a realization mid-taping: All three of us had been watching, and loving, the USA Network series Mr. Robot, which aired the last episode ...


First Listen: Low, 'Ones And Sixes'

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

It's one thing for Low to have made a rewarding career of spare, dramatic, glacially paced music — for song after slow-moving song to have been constructed out of little more than crystalline guitar lines, minimal bass, maybe a few effects here and there, brushes of snare and ...