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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11:52am

Thu July 28, 2011
Tiny Desk Concerts

They Might Be Giants: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Thu July 28, 2011 11:18 am

Emily Bogle NPR
  • Audio Only: They Might Be Giants' Tiny Desk Concert

The notion of being a geek has changed drastically since They Might Be Giants started out way back in 1982: Where geekhood once entailed social isolation and tastes too esoteric to accommodate broad social interaction, it's now worn like a badge of honor, embraced by diehards and dabblers alike. During They Might Be Giants' commercial rise in the late 1980s, finding fans of the band meant doing some winnowing.

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7:34am

Tue July 5, 2011
Tiny Desk Concerts

The Blind Boys Of Alabama: Tiny Desk Concert

Maggie Starbard NPR

The numbers alone bear out The Blind Boys of Alabama's status as one of the greatest and most venerated gospel groups the world has ever known. Formed under a different name in 1939, the band has understandably experienced many lineup changes in the 72 years since: Singer Jimmy Carter is the only participant in this lineup billed as a founding member, and even that term is up for debate.

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11:29am

Thu June 9, 2011
First Listen

First Listen: Bon Iver, 'Bon Iver'

Originally published on Thu June 9, 2011 7:45 am

Bon Iver comes out June 21.
D.L. Anderson

"Beth/Rest," the closing song on Bon Iver, is an absolutely diabolical bit of provocation.

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2:26pm

Mon May 23, 2011
First Listen

First Listen: My Morning Jacket, 'Circuital'

Originally published on Sun May 22, 2011 11:01 pm

My Morning Jacket's new album, Circuital, comes out May 31.
Danny Clinch

My Morning Jacket has been tricky to peg lately, especially after the 2008 release of Evil Urges, which saw the band's cavernous rock sound sprawl out to include absurd forays into loopy funk. At its best, Evil Urges is a monster, but it's not exactly consistent.

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1:45pm

Thu May 19, 2011
All Songs Considered Blog

Final Encore: Pick Your Song For The End Of The World

What single song do you plan to play when and if the End Times arrive on Saturday?
AFP/Getty Images

[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.]

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