NPR: Stephen Thompson http://weku.fm en Indie-Pop Albums That Make The Cut Are More Than Mere Collections http://weku.fm/post/indie-pop-albums-make-cut-are-more-mere-collections Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days?<p>STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular.<p>CORNISH: OK. Tue, 10 Dec 2013 21:29:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 52991 at http://weku.fm Jittery Jams: 10 Songs For Coffee Lovers http://weku.fm/post/jittery-jams-10-songs-coffee-lovers <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb5qqoQgPlk</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVGXcjM9SOQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUx5z9O2ZGk</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WfQN_M1pQc</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZk2LYsBIi8</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRxS7Q64xUQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFURd_EOIuU</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nzMS_YrgFk</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk_wVO7NBMQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oqXVx3sBOk</p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 01:52:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 43208 at http://weku.fm Jittery Jams: 10 Songs For Coffee Lovers Baby Bands, Pop Stars And Room-Filling Joy: What To Expect At SXSW 2013 http://weku.fm/post/baby-bands-pop-stars-and-room-filling-joy-what-expect-sxsw-2013 <em>Listen to Stephen Thompson's conversation with Audie Cornish on </em>All Things Considered<em> by clicking the audio link.</em><p><hr /><p>The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies.<p>Finding a prevailing trend at SXSW isn't easy; the festival is like 50 events in one, so it's possible t Wed, 13 Mar 2013 21:35:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 41196 at http://weku.fm Baby Bands, Pop Stars And Room-Filling Joy: What To Expect At SXSW 2013 Play-By-Play: Read Along With The Grammy Awards http://weku.fm/post/sunday-8-pm-et-spend-grammy-night-staring-screens-us <em>With the conclusion of Sunday night's ceremony, Linda Holmes and I have now live-blogged fully one-eleventh of the Grammy Awards' 55 annual incarnations. Below is our original post and an archived live blog of the telecast:</em><p>For the fifth straight year, whether we're marveling at Taylor Swift's capacity for surprise or trying to figure out what to type during the combined 37 minutes of Bruno Mars performances, we're here to serve your reading-along needs. Fri, 08 Feb 2013 20:49:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 39612 at http://weku.fm Play-By-Play: Read Along With The Grammy Awards Another Year, Another 'Christmas With The Chipmunks' http://weku.fm/post/hail-chipmunks-holiday-classic-re-revisited <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rnPHlOHb7g</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ_9bL7i-Zs</p> Mon, 24 Dec 2012 20:22:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 37527 at http://weku.fm Another Year, Another 'Christmas With The Chipmunks' This One's For The Chicken: A Super Bowl Party With A Purpose http://weku.fm/post/ones-chicken-super-bowl-party-purpose This Sunday will mark the 16th annual installment of "Chicken Bowl," my Super Bowl party, which doubles as a grand fried-chicken-eating contest. As many as 80 friends, coworkers, enablers and hangers-on will cram into my long-suffering house for this noble occasion.<p>But even with all the extravagances I've cobbled together to keep them happy — large TVs, vintage arcade machines, working toilets — there has never been a shred of doubt that chicken is king.<p>I spend more at Popeye's on this particular Sunday than I spend on my wardrobe in a year, so great is the demand. Sat, 04 Feb 2012 11:49:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 20807 at http://weku.fm This One's For The Chicken: A Super Bowl Party With A Purpose Noah And The Whale: A Folk-Pop Band, Forever In Flux http://weku.fm/post/noah-and-whale-folk-pop-band-forever-flux <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/95489079/noah-and-the-whale">Noah and the Whale</a> has inspired a devoted following ever since its first album landed in the British Top 10 in 2008. But success hasn't come easily for the group: Key members have left, prompting striking changes in Noah and the Whale's sound. Wed, 10 Aug 2011 03:30:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 10245 at http://weku.fm Noah And The Whale: A Folk-Pop Band, Forever In Flux The Decemberists: Tiny Desk Concert http://weku.fm/post/decemberists-tiny-desk-concert "I was sort of always under the impression that these things were done while everybody was just trying to work," <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15189635/the-decemberists">The Decemberists</a>' Colin Meloy says a little ways into this Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices. "I kind of like the romance of that."<p>The next time I'm writing on deadline while someone tunes a pipe organ seven feet away, I'll remind myself of the romance involved, but Meloy was making a different point: He wasn't expecting to be staring into dozens, if not hundreds, of rapt faces. Mon, 20 Jun 2011 14:00:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 6920 at http://weku.fm The Decemberists: Tiny Desk Concert First Listen: 'Rave On Buddy Holly' http://weku.fm/post/first-listen-rave-buddy-holly The cover of <em>Rave On Buddy Holly</em> is wisely splashed with huge names, from <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15158238/paul-mccartney">Paul McCartney</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15286579/lou-reed">Lou Reed</a> to <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15193815/the-black-keys">The Black Keys</a>, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15183593/fiona-apple">Fiona Apple</a>, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15359915/cee-lo">Cee Lo Green</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15168072/modest-mouse">Modest Mouse</a>. Mon, 20 Jun 2011 03:00:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 6878 at http://weku.fm First Listen: 'Rave On Buddy Holly' First Listen: Bon Iver, 'Bon Iver' http://weku.fm/post/first-listen-bon-iver-bon-iver "Beth/Rest," the closing song on <em>Bon Iver</em>, is an absolutely diabolical bit of provocation. Thu, 09 Jun 2011 11:45:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5948 at http://weku.fm First Listen: Bon Iver, 'Bon Iver' The Black Angels: Tiny Desk Concert http://weku.fm/post/black-angels-tiny-desk-concert <a href="represent a bold and surprising mix of sensibilities — at once icy and rustic, cavernous and confined.">The Black Angels</a>' music is hardly the stuff of stripped-down acoustic confessionals: It's the sound of a distant rumble, possibly beamed from a garage in the early '70s. Wed, 08 Jun 2011 18:33:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5892 at http://weku.fm The Black Angels: Tiny Desk Concert The Kopecky Family Band: Tiny Desk Concert http://weku.fm/post/kopecky-family-band-tiny-desk-concert A few times a year, various representatives of NPR Music head off to music festivals, sometimes to webcast or broadcast the events and sometimes to scout for tomorrow's obsessions. The loftiest goal we set for our scouting jaunts — whether at <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/sxsw/">South by Southwest</a> in March or at <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130818428">CMJ</a> in New York each fall — is to come home smitten with a new band or singer we'd never heard of a week earlier. Mon, 06 Jun 2011 15:32:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5665 at http://weku.fm The Kopecky Family Band: Tiny Desk Concert Sasquatch 2011: Noah And The Whale, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-noah-and-whale-live-concert <strong><em>Language Advisory:</em></strong><em> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>It's hard to find a <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/95489079/noah-and-the-whale">Noah and the Whale</a> fan who fully endorses all three of the U.K. folk-pop group's three albums, which is a testament to the group's versatility and unpredictability. Thu, 02 Jun 2011 14:38:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5368 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Noah And The Whale, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-rodrigo-y-gabriela-live-concert <em><strong>Language Advisory:</strong> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>The phrase sounds as if it ought to describe some sort of misbegotten genre fusion — "heavy-metal flamenco"? — but damned if something approximating heavy-metal flamenco doesn't sound awesome in the ridiculously fast-moving hands of Rodrigo y Gabriela. Wed, 01 Jun 2011 20:29:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5304 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: Deerhunter, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-deerhunter-live-concert <em><strong>Language Advisory: </strong>This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>Bradford Cox, the enigmatic mastermind behind <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96823037" target="_blank">Deerhunter</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90991798" target="_blank">Atlas Sound</a>, isn't exactly the prototype for a rock 'n' roll frontman: A spindly studio craftsman with a mile-wide streak of self-loathing, he cuts a tortured and ungainly figure on stage. Wed, 01 Jun 2011 18:10:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5283 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Deerhunter, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: The Globes, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-globes-live-concert <strong><em>Language Advisory:</em></strong><em> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>A young pop-rock group on the cusp of a promising journey beyond its Pacific Northwest home, The Globes just released a moody but spirited full-length debut called <em>Future Self</em>. Tue, 31 May 2011 19:09:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5157 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: The Globes, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-sharon-jones-and-dap-kings-live-concert <strong><em>Language Advisory:</em></strong><em> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>It's almost unfair to put <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15325312/sharon-jones">Sharon Jones</a> on a bill with a bunch of mopey young indie-rock whippersnappers: The savvy soul veteran's energy, power, control and almost supernatural on-stage confidence are liable to blow away anyone who surrounds her. On albums like last year's crisply cool <em>I Learned the Hard Way</em>, studio polish has a way of muting the singer's force-of-nature fury. Tue, 31 May 2011 14:54:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5120 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings, Live In Concert Wilco, Live In Concert: Sasquatch 2011 http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-wilco-live-concert <em><strong></strong></em><a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15164119" target="_blank">Wilco</a> never makes the same record twice, which makes it doubly remarkable that so many of them are tremendous. As formidable as frontman Jeff Tweedy's catalog is, the sonically inventive rock band really stands out on stage — the place where extreme technical skill meets the chemistry and rousing showmanship of passionate rock veterans. Of course, it helps that the group has the luxury of drawing highlights from seven very different records when it performs. Tue, 31 May 2011 13:57:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5116 at http://weku.fm Wilco, Live In Concert: Sasquatch 2011 The Decemberists, Live In Concert: Sasquatch 2011 http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-decemberists-live-concert <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15189635/the-decemberists" target="_blank">The Decemberists</a> must have brainstormed many ways to follow the massively ambitious, best-selling 2008 "folk opera" <em>The Hazards of Love</em>: After all, not every Decemberists album can feature a large supporting cast, interlocking narratives and a generous body count. Tue, 31 May 2011 13:55:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5113 at http://weku.fm The Decemberists, Live In Concert: Sasquatch 2011 Sasquatch 2011: Wavves, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-wavves-live-concert <em><strong>Language Advisory:</strong> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>Launched as a solo project for San Diego singer and guitarist Nathan Williams, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/128954715/wavves" target="_blank">Wavves</a> got off to a brash start, buoyed by willful punk primitivism and skepticism-inducing blog buzz. But on last year's <em>King of the Beach</em>, Williams and company pulled their boldest stunt yet: They made a charming summer pop record that lives up to its title. Mon, 30 May 2011 21:23:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 5057 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Wavves, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: Iron And Wine, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-iron-and-wine-live-concert <em><strong>Language Advisory: </strong>This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>Less than 10 years ago, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15196139/iron-wine" target="_blank">Iron and Wine</a> was a one-man show: a vehicle for the whispery bedroom folk of Sam Beam. It's hard to fathom an act less likely to balloon into the many-tentacled colossus Iron and Wine has become, complete with backup singers and a horn section. Sun, 29 May 2011 22:44:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4991 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Iron And Wine, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: Aloe Blacc, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-aloe-blacc-live-concert <strong><em>Language Advisory:</em></strong><em> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>One of the great recent records to accompany a late-night drive through the city, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15333117/aloe-blacc">Aloe Blacc</a>'s <em>Good Things</em> synthesizes the sounds of vintage soul with a contemporary vision and an ear for brilliantly chosen covers. Sun, 29 May 2011 17:20:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4968 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Aloe Blacc, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: Wye Oak, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-wye-oak-live-concert <strong><em>Language Advisory:</em></strong><em> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>A young Baltimore duo with a big sound, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/111981602/wye-oak">Wye Oak</a> has already built up a formidable catalog of moody, achy, beautifully blustery rock songs about the futile pursuit of normalcy and contentment. Sun, 29 May 2011 17:08:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4967 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Wye Oak, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: k-os, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-k-os-live-concert <em><strong>Language Advisory:</strong> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>A genre-hating musician with roots everywhere from Toronto to Trinidad, k-os lets his music sprawl across the disparate worlds of hip-hop, reggae, electronic music, indie rock, soul and so on. As such, it's tough to place him within any given scene — which is no doubt what he had in mind — but k-os' socially conscious songwriting and charisma have helped him win a crop of loyal fans anyway. Sun, 29 May 2011 15:17:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4966 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: k-os, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: Rebecca Gates And The Consortium, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-rebecca-gates-and-consortium-live-concert <em><strong>Language Advisory: </strong>This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>For those who swooned over the sweet, sideways indie-pop of The Spinanes back in the '90s, the return of singer-guitarist Rebecca Gates can only be a good thing. Sun, 29 May 2011 01:59:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4951 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Rebecca Gates And The Consortium, Live In Concert Sasquatch 2011: Local Natives, Live In Concert http://weku.fm/post/sasquatch-2011-local-natives-live-concert <em><strong>Language Advisory:</strong> This is a live concert recording, and may not contain language suitable for all audiences.</em><p>One of the breakout bands of 2010, the L.A.-based quintet <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122220880" target="_blank">Local Natives</a> plays briskly infectious, harmony-rich folk-pop music that benefits greatly from its propulsive, Afrobeat-inspired rhythms. Sun, 29 May 2011 01:49:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4950 at http://weku.fm Sasquatch 2011: Local Natives, Live In Concert First Listen: Death Cab For Cutie, 'Codes And Keys' http://weku.fm/post/first-listen-death-cab-cutie-codes-and-keys <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15163859/death-cab-for-cutie">Death Cab for Cutie</a>'s music has long had a certain innocence to it; a boyish, vulnerable charm that feels unmistakably collegiate. When the Bellingham, Wash., band broke big in the early '00s, its records played like the soundtracks to breathless long-distance romances between young adults who'd always been just a little too smart for the rooms they were in. Mon, 23 May 2011 03:02:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4431 at http://weku.fm First Listen: Death Cab For Cutie, 'Codes And Keys' First Listen: My Morning Jacket, 'Circuital' http://weku.fm/post/first-listen-my-morning-jacket-circuital <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15189632/my-morning-jacket">My Morning Jacket</a> has been tricky to peg lately, especially after the 2008 release of <em>Evil Urges</em>, which saw the band's cavernous rock sound sprawl out to include absurd forays into loopy funk. At its best, <em>Evil Urges</em> is a monster, but it's not exactly consistent. Mon, 23 May 2011 03:01:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4432 at http://weku.fm First Listen: My Morning Jacket, 'Circuital' Low: Tiny Desk Concert http://weku.fm/post/low-tiny-desk-concert It's been fascinating to watch the evolution of the Duluth, Minn., band <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/16700848/low">Low</a> in the 17 years since the release of its wonderful debut album, <em>I Could Live in Hope</em>. Mon, 23 May 2011 02:40:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4430 at http://weku.fm Low: Tiny Desk Concert Final Encore: Pick Your Song For The End Of The World http://weku.fm/post/final-encore-pick-your-song-end-world <em>[Note: Christian radio host Harold Camping (and others) say the Rapture — in which God separates the wicked from the good — will take place this Saturday, with the end of the world to soon follow.] Thu, 19 May 2011 17:45:00 +0000 NPR: Stephen Thompson 4329 at http://weku.fm Final Encore: Pick Your Song For The End Of The World