Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson appears in the following:

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 ...


Small Batch: The VMAs, From Speeches To Singing To Squads

Monday, August 31, 2015

[You can hear Stephen Thompson and Linda Holmes chat about the VMAs on a Small Batch edition of Pop Culture Happy Hour by hitting the play button at the top of this post.]

There are awards shows bolstered by social media — Grammy telecasts, for example, that lend themselves to ...


The Good Listener: Should Fans Fear Side Projects?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the T-shirt we bought to express our love of goats is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts on side projects.

Ann in County Cork writes via Facebook: "I am ...


First Listen: Lou Barlow, 'Brace The Wave'

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lou Barlow's circuitous path as a recording artist has taken him through key roles in Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr., not to mention The Folk Implosion, which cracked the pop charts with "Natural One" back in the '90s. He's also put out a ...


The Giant Foam Finger: Is Winning Everything?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The weekend before last, a pro athlete by the name of James Harrison announced on Instagram that he'd returned the participation trophies his kids had received for playing youth sports, writing, "While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till ...


Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Straight Outta Compton' And Too Much TV

Friday, August 21, 2015

Linda Holmes is finally back from two and a half weeks cooped up in an L.A. hotel for the Television Critics Association's press tour, but her return coincides with Glen Weldon's vacation, so Linda and I are joined by two guest panelists this week: All Things Considered cohost Audie Cornish ...


First Listen: Beach House, 'Depression Cherry'

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Beach House works with a simple set of ingredients — a few vintage keyboards, programmed drums, an electric guitar and the drowsily alluring voice of Victoria Legrand — to evoke a specific tone that rarely varies. And yet Depression Cherry, the Baltimore duo's fifth album in the last decade, ...


Kacey Musgraves: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, August 17, 2015

Given the timing of Kacey Musgraves' appearance in the NPR offices — the Supreme Court had legalized gay marriage across America mere hours earlier — it was inevitable that the singer would trot out "Follow Your Arrow," the most anthemic go-your-own-way jam on Musgraves' 2013 debut album, Same Trailer ...


The Giant Foam Finger: What We Talk About When We Talk About Brett Favre

Monday, August 17, 2015

In the first two episodes of The Giant Foam Finger — a new, sports-themed offshoot of Pop Culture Happy Hour — NPR Code Switch blogger Gene Demby and I have discussed one play in a decade-old NFL game, and we've tackled the phenomenon of fan hatred. This ...


The Good Listener: Are Tall People Obligated To Stand In The Back At Concerts?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the mammoth box someone used to ship us a single bottle of beer is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives. This time around: thoughts on tall folks at concerts.

Stephanie B. writes via ...


All Songs +1: Marking The Demise Of 'The Spotify Of The '80s'

Friday, August 14, 2015

Columbia House (actually, the company that has owned Columbia House since 2012) filed for bankruptcy this week, which will mean a great deal to those who were music lovers in the 1980s and '90s, and probably close to nothing to listeners under the age of 30. Columbia House was a ...


Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Difficult People' And Amusement Parks

Friday, August 14, 2015

Linda Holmes is this close to returning home from two and a half weeks at the Television Critics Association press tour — so close, she swears can practically feel the fabric of the sheets on her very own bed — but she's absent from this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour ...