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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9:31am

Mon April 16, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Soweto Gospel Choir: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 8:33 am

The Soweto Gospel Choir performs a Tiny Desk Concert on February 14, 2011.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Today in "They Pay Us To Do This": a performance by South Africa's Soweto Gospel Choir, which managed to tie the all-time record for most musicians squashed behind Bob Boilen's desk for a single performance in the NPR Music offices.

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7:00am

Thu April 5, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Kathleen Edwards: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 9:07 am

Doriane Raiman NPR

Kathleen Edwards isn't a flashy singer-songwriter, but her music sticks: Easygoing and accessible, her songs burrow in deep and then stay put. Edwards' new album, Voyageur, wears a lot of sonic flourishes well — it was co-produced by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who lends it a lot of his distinct shadings — but at its heart lies a sort of unshakable sturdiness.

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6:00am

Mon March 12, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Real Estate: Tiny Desk Concert

Doriane Raiman NPR

Real Estate's music is a disarmingly delicate thing, crafted out of tenderly shimmering guitars and blurry images of a past that's both rose-colored and sepia-toned. But the songs are far from showy: Paced evenly and sung in a near-whisper, they could only be made by a band standing stock-still. Last year's album Days is a tiny wonder, meeting at the middle between beachy '60s pop and bittersweet '90s college radio, but it was made for the studio rather than the stage.

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7:27am

Sun March 4, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Laura Gibson: Tiny Desk Concert

Doriane Raiman/NPR

We call her the Typhoid Mary of the Tiny Desk.

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3:39pm

Sat March 3, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Laura Gibson Plays Tiny Desk Concert No. 200

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 5:57 pm

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