Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he curates Song of the Day, fusses over the placement of commas and appears as a frequent panelist on the podcasts All Songs Considered and Pop Culture Happy Hour. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the weekly NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk.

In 1993, Thompson founded The Onion's entertainment section, The A.V. Club, which he edited until December 2004. In the years since, he has provided music-themed commentaries for the NPR programs Weekend Edition Sunday, Weekend All Things Considered and Morning Edition, on which he earned the distinction of becoming the only member of the NPR Music staff ever to sing on an NPR newsmagazine. (Later, the magic of AutoTune transformed him from a 12th-rate David Archuleta into a fourth-rate Cher.) Thompson's entertainment writing has also run in Paste magazine, The Washington Post and The London Guardian.

During his tenure at The Onion, Thompson edited the 2002 book The Tenacity of the Cockroach: Conversations with Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (Crown) and copy-edited six best-selling comedy books. While there, he also coached The Onion's softball team to a sizzling 21-42 record, and was once outscored 72-0 in a span of 10 innings. Later in life, Thompson redeemed himself by teaming up with the small gaggle of fleet-footed twentysomethings who won the 2008 NPR Relay Race, a triumph he documents in a hard-hitting essay for the forthcoming anthology This Is NPR: The First Forty Years (Chronicle).

A 1994 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Thompson now lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his two children and a Frogger machine. His hobbies include watching reality television without shame, eating Pringles until his hand has involuntarily twisted itself into a gnarled claw, using the size of his Twitter following to assess his self-worth, touting the immutable moral superiority of the Green Bay Packers and maintaining a fierce rivalry with all Midwestern states other than Wisconsin.

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Music
8:52 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Jittery Jams: 10 Songs For Coffee Lovers

Frank Sinatra's "The Coffee Song" makes light of a perceived Brazilian coffee glut.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:46 am

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All Songs Considered
12:22 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

We Get Mail: Do CD Hoarders Need An Intervention?

So you've got a ton of CDs. What's the problem?
Lars Gotrich NPR

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:05 pm

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All Songs Considered
1:22 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

We Get Mail: When Someone You Love Likes Music You Hate, What Do You Do?

If someone you love likes Jack Johnson, but you don't, how do you find common ground?
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:11 pm

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All Songs Considered
8:55 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Harvey Danger's Sean Nelson Returns With A Plea To 'Make Good Choices'

Sean Nelson will release his first solo album, Make Good Choices, on June 4.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 2:05 pm

There'd be nothing wrong with "one-hit wonder" status if the term didn't suggest some sort of creative limitation; if people didn't assume that one hit means only one good song. But for Sean Nelson and Harvey Danger, the 1998 smash "Flagpole Sitta" has had a way of overshadowing the superior but less widely heard material that followed. By the time Harvey Danger self-released the tremendous 2005 album Little By Little..., the group's incisive, catchy, thoughtful post-hit songs were known mostly to obsessives and cultists.

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All Songs Considered
9:04 am
Sat April 6, 2013

We Get Mail: Digging For Gems In Genres You Think You Hate

The Pistol Annies' Ashley Monroe recently released a solo album, Like a Rose, which helps stretch the boundaries of mainstream country music.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:12 pm

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First Listen
12:12 am
Mon April 1, 2013

First Listen: Villagers, '{Awayland}'

Villagers' new album, {Awayland}, comes out April 9.
Rich Gilligan Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 11:52 am

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

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All Songs Considered
2:15 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

We Get Mail: The Power Of Pulling The Plug

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:13 pm

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First Listen
11:55 am
Mon March 25, 2013

First Listen: Telekinesis, 'Dormarion'

Telekinesis' new album, Dormarion, comes out April 2.
Kyle Johnson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 7:00 am

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

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First Listen
11:55 am
Mon March 25, 2013

First Listen: Caveman, 'Caveman'

Caveman's new, self-titled album comes out April 2.
Philip Di Fiore Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:58 am

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

Bands are often described as coming "out of nowhere," as if they'd sprung into existence fully formed and hadn't spent years writing songs and polishing their collective voice and sound. The New York City quintet Caveman only entered the national consciousness last year, but its searching, dreamily rendered, deftly executed pop-rock is the stuff of painstaking craftsmanship and creative relentlessness.

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First Listen
10:18 am
Mon March 18, 2013

First Listen: Wavves, 'Afraid Of Heights'

Wavves' new album Afraid of Heights comes out March 26.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 4:46 pm

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

As big-time bands go, Wavves started out a little undercooked: just a guy named Nathan Williams who made sloppy four-track garage-pop anthems with cheap equipment. Big-time hype followed quickly — a little too quickly for any new band's own good — and Wavves' sound has now spent a full four albums catching up amid onstage breakdowns, frequent lineup changes and the fickle tastes of its early supporters.

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