Streams

Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson appears in the following:

First Listen: Okkervil River, 'The Silver Gymnasium'

Sunday, August 25, 2013

For Okkervil River's Will Sheff, it's been impossible to let go of Meriden, N.H., circa 1986. He pays tribute to that place and time in a nostalgia-fueled album that floats warmly in the soft spots separating childhood from adolescence.

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The Good Listener: When Is It OK To Wear Headphones In Public?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How do we balance a need to interact with the outside world with a desire for music and alone time?

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First Listen: Volcano Choir, 'Repave'

Sunday, August 18, 2013

If Justin Vernon never releases another record under the name Bon Iver — and he's publicly suggested that that might be the case — more albums like Repave would render the issue largely irrelevant. His second album with Volcano Choir is just that good.

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First Listen: Neko Case, 'The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight...'

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Case's gift for disarming commentary carries over to the quotable, thoughtful, frequently lovely songs on The Worse Things Get: She can be bracingly acerbic, boldly inspiring, or achingly tender while conveying equal, virtually boundless charisma.

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Mother Falcon: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What makes the 17-member chamber-rock collective so alluring isn't its size, but rather the way it uses all its members in the service of great, snappy, stirring, frequently uplifting songs. Its many moving parts aren't creating mere volume, but also texture.

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The Good Listener: How Do You Program A Dance Party For Kids?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A parent is throwing a dance party for her 8-year-old and needs upbeat, kid-friendly suggestions.

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Alpine: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Australian sextet crafts busily impeccable pop music with a danceable sway, prominent synths and the charming shared lead vocals of Phoebe Baker and Lou James. But the band does a tremendous job translating its sound to the spare confines of the NPR Music offices.

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First Listen: Superchunk, 'I Hate Music'

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Infused with winning, strident energy, I Hate Music is the sound of a veteran band with its vitality intact, for which fun and fury are essential components of a life thoughtfully lived.

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First Listen: No Age, 'An Object'

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The arty L.A. noise-rock duo's fourth album seethes stubbornly when it could have far more easily opened up at full blast and stayed there. A compact but searching 30 minutes of music, An Object hammers and wanders while upsetting and upending expectations.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'The Bridge' And The Doctor's Many Faces

Friday, August 09, 2013

With special guest Audie Cornish, the gang discusses a new FX series, roles inhabited by many actors, and an assortment of happy-making things.

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Jim James, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2013

Friday, August 09, 2013

As lead singer of My Morning Jacket, James specializes in letting his gigantic voice ring out past the rafters in songs that boom and blare. But on his first solo album, he turns inward and recasts himself as a lost wanderer in search of redemption and comfort. Hear James perform as part of the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.

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The Good Listener: How Do You Break Into Music Journalism?

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Getting a job writing about music isn't easy, but it can be done. Stephen Thompson has some advice.

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Song Premiere: The Avett Brothers, 'Another Is Waiting'

Thursday, August 08, 2013

From an album due out in October, "Another Is Waiting" accomplishes everything an Avetts song should: Fueled by sweet banjo strums, it's catchy, concise and sweet, with a thoughtful and subtle message about rejecting shallow pursuits and staying open to emotional connections with others.

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Stars: 'Wishful' Thinking In A Fizzy New Song

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

"Wishful" finds ample room for sweeping synths and booming guitars, but singer Amy Millan also feeds the song her signature cocktail of vulnerability and wry grace.

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The Mountain Goats, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2013

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle spent the 1990s recording his songs solo on low-fidelity equipment like boom boxes. Darnielle now leads a full, versatile band, and his songwriting retains the capacity to stun. Watch excerpts from the Mountain Goats' Newport set, which includes a song unfamiliar even to diehards: "Animal Mask."

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Jason Isbell, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2013

Monday, August 05, 2013

Jason Isbell was once one of Drive-By Truckers' great songwriting weapons. The Alabama singer-songwriter just released the powerful and profound Southeastern, which candidly addresses his hard fall and hopeful rise. Hear Isbell perform as part of the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.

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First Listen: Julianna Barwick, 'Nepenthe'

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Barwick takes small vocal phrases and bits of instrumentation, samples them and loops them impeccably to create a sound that tentatively recalls the impossible lushness of Enya when it's not fanning out into sounds that can be experimental, spare, artful and alluring.

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The Lumineers, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2013

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Lumineers may have emerged on the pop scene suddenly — scoring a worldwide hit with the band's self-titled 2012 debut album — but the Denver group tooled around in obscurity for years. The Lumineers lead several sing-alongs for a rapturous Newport crowd, including a Dylan cover.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Fruitvale Station' And Yelling At Clouds

Friday, August 02, 2013

It's our 150th episode, but only Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon are around from the usual gang. So we invite Code Switch's Kat Chow and Gene Demby to come in and talk about a powerful new movie, the technologies they've been slow to embrace and what's making them happy this week.

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Rayland Baxter, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2013

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Nashville-bred singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter is your classic folk-rock rambler: He's traveled the world to find inspiration and written songs to reflect his observations along the way. Hear Rayland Baxter perform songs from his debut album as part of the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.

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