Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson appears in the following:

Cheyenne Mize: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, July 20, 2013

In the years since she first surfaced as a suitably rustic duet partner for Will Oldham — the two Kentuckians released an EP together back in 2010 — Cheyenne Mize has broadened and deepened her sound, injecting it with slinkiness and sparkle. Her new album Among the Grey continues that ...

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'The New Black' And Secret Names

Friday, July 19, 2013

With host Linda Holmes taking the week off to focus on suffering and nose-blowing, we needed only to ask our beloved producer Jess Gitner into the room with us to complete a full Pop Culture Happy Hour lineup. (In historic Studio 44, Jess is usually sealed in an adjacent room, ...

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The Good Listener: Does Ignoring A Friend's Mix Make You A Bad Person?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the aluminum-siding pamphlets disguised as jury summons is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a blistering rebuttal of last week's column.

Last week's installment of The Good Listener offered ...

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First Listen: 'Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros'

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On the live stage, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros' music is intoxicatingly celebratory, as 10 or more musicians combine to create a joyously uplifting mass clamor. Its good-natured live presence — a perfect vehicle for the group's achingly sincere tone of compassion and whimsy — is genuinely inspiring, ...

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First Listen: Weekend, 'Jinx'

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's hard to imagine a less descriptive (or less searchable) moniker than Weekend — a word so ubiquitous in music, it even spawned its own handy checklist of band names on this website back in 2011. But the San Franciscans' sound is thankfully more distinct than all that, as ...

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Frank Turner: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Frank Turner writes folk songs that harness the fury of punk and the majesty of Springsteenian rock 'n' roll. But more than anything else, his music is playful: There's conversational wit and bite to Turner's music, even as he's bellowing to the back rows. His songs ...

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The Good Listener: When You Make Someone A Mix, What Do They Owe You?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the shampoo samples we accidentally tossed into the fireplace is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, the etiquette surrounding the giving and receiving of mix CDs.

Kevin writes: "I've ...

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First Listen: Mayer Hawthorne, 'Where Does This Door Go'

Sunday, July 07, 2013

In the course of three studio albums, Michigan-bred soul singer Mayer Hawthorne has refined his gift for songs that emulate and update his home state's Motown sound. As he's picked up major-label backing — as well as guest assists on the new Where Does This Door Go from the ...

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First Listen: Andrew Cedermark, 'Home Life'

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Andrew Cedermark used to play guitars in the New Jersey band Titus Andronicus, whose songs are so stuffed with words, they're often sent flying out like spring snakes — as a listener, you're left wondering how they all fit in there in the first place. But as a ...

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The Good Listener: How Do You Pick The Songs For Your Wedding?

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Click the audio link on this page to hear The Good Listener columnist Stephen Thompson and Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin discuss the intricacies of wedding music — where and when to play everything from sacred music to Salt N Pepa's "Push It." (The column below originally appeared on ...

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The Good Listener: Does A Confession Of Love Require A Soundtrack?

Friday, July 05, 2013

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the package of Omaha Steaks that sat on our front porch for the duration of a three-week vacation is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how to incorporate music ...

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Laura Mvula: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, July 01, 2013

Listen to Laura Mvula's terrific full-length debut, Sing to the Moon, and you'll hear soulful pop music in Technicolor. The U.K. singer's sonic ambition is boundless: Her intricately layered songs straddle genres, locations and eras in ways that sound entirely original.

Squeezing that sound behind Bob Boilen's desk is ...

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First Listen: Maps, 'Vicissitude'

Sunday, June 30, 2013

James Chapman, a U.K. musician who records under the name Maps, writes earnest synth-pop songs in the tradition of The Lightning Seeds, Erasure and other artists whose use of machines is incidental compared to the pursuit of thoughtful songwriting. Chapman's charming songs sound fizzy and bright throughout Vicissitude, Maps' third ...

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Patty Griffin: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, June 24, 2013

Patty Griffin has always had a gift for locating a song's nerve endings; for surveying her subject matter and identifying the most efficient possible pathways to listeners' emotions. Her warm, wise voice is comforting, inviting and relatable, even — perhaps especially — as she tackles weighty subjects like middle ...

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First Listen: Cheyenne Mize, 'Among The Grey'

Monday, June 24, 2013

Though she'd released a fine full-length debut earlier in the year, singer, songwriter, music therapist and multi-instrumentalist Cheyenne Mize first entered the public consciousness with a 2010 mini-album full of 19th-century parlor music. Titled Among the Gold and recorded with fellow Kentuckian Will Oldham, it's by definition rustic ...

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First Listen: Mavis Staples, 'One True Vine'

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Now in its seventh decade, Mavis Staples' career has taken her through chart-topping hits with the gospel-soul family band The Staple Singers, performances for Martin Luther King Jr., enshrinement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a recent string of highly regarded solo albums. One of Staples' ...

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First Listen: Smith Westerns, 'Soft Will'

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Given that Smith Westerns' first record came out when its members were teenagers, it makes sense that the Chicago band has evolved from a garage-y pop-rock outfit — all shambling T. Rex-isms and impeccable hair — to something sweeter, dreamier, slicker and sunnier. Just in time for the season ...

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The Good Listener: For Music-Festival Rookies, A Survival Guide

Thursday, June 13, 2013

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the American Girl catalogs we never ordered is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how first-time music-festival attendees can survive and thrive in an overwhelming setting.

Kendall Levinson writes: ...

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The National: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, June 10, 2013

The first thing you might notice about this video is the change in surroundings: NPR recently moved to a new building, and though we worked to make the Tiny Desk as visually similar as possible to the old space — a process we recently documented with the help of ...

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First Listen: Primal Scream, 'More Light'

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Some bands survive decades by locating a sound and sticking with it, giving fans what they want the entire time. But the Scottish group Primal Scream has survived a remarkably lengthy and tumultuous existence through relentless zigzagging and reinvention. At times, that's meant chasing trends — it's been a dance-pop ...

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