Stephen Thompson http://ktep.org en The Good Listener: Does The World Still Need Cassettes? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-does-world-still-need-cassettes We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the postage-paid crates we'll use to ship home the spring interns is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on cassette tapes and their utility in 2014.<p><em><strong>Jennifer Spuehler writes via Facebook: "Will there be a place for cassette tapes in the future? Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:39:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 38869 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: How Do I Appear Knowledgeable Without Acting Like A Jerk? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-how-do-i-appear-knowledgeable-without-acting-jerk We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the fliers for yard-cleaning services that know a big job when they see one are a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on ways to drop musical knowledge without seeming obnoxious.<p><em><strong>Mvelase Peppetta writes via Facebook: "How do you point out to the children that this 'great' piece of music they're loving right now is actually a cover of something else (most times better) without sounding like an old know-it-all fuddy-duddy? I even failed to do it in that one sentence."</strong></em><p>Ha! Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:25:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 38440 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: How Do I Appear Knowledgeable Without Acting Like A Jerk? The Good Listener: What Makes An Anthem? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-what-makes-anthem <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT_nvWreIhg</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 19:19:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 37968 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: What Makes An Anthem? The Good Listener: Am I Too Old For Music Festivals? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-am-i-too-old-music-festivals We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the hundreds of water bottles we were supposed to give away at SXSW is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when a person can rightly be considered too old to attend music festivals.<p><strong><em>Erin Briskie writes via email: "I just caught myself Googling 'how old is too old to go to music festivals.' We all know the answer is 'never too old,' but is there an age range where you start feeling like the not-so-wise, probably-should-have-consumed-more-water godfather of the festival circuit? Thu, 27 Mar 2014 18:16:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 37505 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Am I Too Old For Music Festivals? The Good Listener: For Bands And Fans, The No-Fault Divorce http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-bands-and-fans-no-fault-divorce We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15333650/beck">Beck</a> single that keeps tricking us into thinking it's the new Beck album are a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when superfans sever their allegiances.<p><em><strong>Kirsten Elbourne Mathieson writes via Facebook: "How do I deal with the guilt of having virtually abandoned some of my once-favorite artists — who continue to release albums — for cooler current ones? Fri, 21 Feb 2014 19:23:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 35265 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: For Bands And Fans, The No-Fault Divorce The Good Listener: How Do You Make A Platonic Mixtape? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-how-do-you-make-platonic-mixtape We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Fun-Dip valentine cards we ordered strictly for the Fun-Dip is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, just in time for Valentine's Day, thoughts on platonic mixtapes.<p><strong><em>Stephanie Marten-Ellis writes via Facebook: "How do you share good music with someone without giving the impression that you're 'trying to say something'? You just like the song and want someone to know about it! Fri, 14 Feb 2014 15:57:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 34819 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: How Do You Make A Platonic Mixtape? The Good Listener: What's The Perfect Soundtrack To Teenage Flirtation? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-whats-perfect-soundtrack-teenage-flirtation We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/01/17/263470185/you-can-now-send-someone-you-temporarily-like-a-bachelor-bouquet">Bachelor Bouquets</a> we ordered ourselves in order to appear loved is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on music to play at a dance for nervous, flirtatious teenagers.<p><em><strong>Nanna writes via Facebook: "This Valentine's Day, I will attend a formal thrown for freshman and sophomore college students in the Netherlands — they are giving us, the lecturers, fre Fri, 07 Feb 2014 20:22:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 34378 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: What's The Perfect Soundtrack To Teenage Flirtation? Playing SXSW 2014? Send Us Your Songs http://ktep.org/post/playing-sxsw-2014-send-us-your-songs Every year around this time, the <em>All Songs Considered</em> team begins the process of listening to nearly 2,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We acquire them from any number of sources, as bands willing to circulate their songs for consideration make them available online. But every year, we wind up missing something. Thu, 06 Feb 2014 21:13:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 34291 at http://ktep.org Playing SXSW 2014? Send Us Your Songs The Good Listener: Leave 'We Built This City' Alone! http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-leave-we-built-city-alone <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1b8AhIsSYQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NTDHjVKQyo</p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 15:46:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 33894 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Leave 'We Built This City' Alone! The Good Listener: How Can I Conquer A Musical Blind Spot? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-how-can-i-conquer-musical-blind-spot <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6EvO_dExO4</p> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 17:44:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 33437 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: How Can I Conquer A Musical Blind Spot? The Good Listener: How Do You Know If You'll Love A Song Forever? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-how-do-you-know-if-youll-love-song-forever <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWNaR-rxAic</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8LIRtPnuA8</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg00YEETFzg</p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:13:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 32925 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: How Do You Know If You'll Love A Song Forever? The Good Listener: When Good Musicians Do Bad Things http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-when-good-musicians-do-bad-things We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid a deluxe version of the Ashley Monroe record in which "deluxe" means "packed in a 10-pound wooden crate" is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how and whether to enjoy music by folks whose real-life actions offend us.<p><em><strong>Patrick writes via email: "Your <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2013/11/21/246465573/the-good-listener-can-you-meet-your-favorite-band-without-it-getting-awkward">recent column</a> got me thinking about something that happened to me over the summer, when I had the cha Thu, 09 Jan 2014 19:45:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 32460 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: When Good Musicians Do Bad Things Stephen Thompson's Top 10 Albums Of 2013 http://ktep.org/post/stephen-thompsons-top-10-albums-2013 <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ8xqyoZXCc</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unNa-9qGkfI</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld81Y6Em3NM</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6yfFWvoygY</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO2gm29rI7E</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4dZbJHT7_4</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY8SPy_qB2M</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1L5zJ2afLs</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J7DbO56QOI</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFnA-8H-5lo</p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 30983 at http://ktep.org Stephen Thompson's Top 10 Albums Of 2013 Indie-Pop Albums That Make The Cut Are More Than Mere Collections http://ktep.org/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 23:55:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 30643 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Can You Meet Your Favorite Band Without It Getting Awkward? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-can-you-meet-your-favorite-band-without-it-getting-awkward We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the holiday gift baskets from which our interns will receive their only sustenance is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how to meet your favorite musicians without feeling like a complete stooge.<p><em><strong>Helen Okolicsanyi writes via Facebook: "How can you not be awkward when you get a chance to meet your favorite musician in person? Thu, 21 Nov 2013 16:27:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 29477 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Can You Meet Your Favorite Band Without It Getting Awkward? The Good Listener: Is There Too Much Music? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-there-too-much-music We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the whale-sedatives we ordered to help us endure the Green Bay Packers' losing streak is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, how to handle the desire to take a break from music.<p><strong><em>Casey Smith writes via email: "Sometimes, I just want to take a break from it all: stop buying all the records, stop making all the playlists, stop going to all the shows, stop constantly hunting down new music and new artists, and just sit in silence. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 15:50:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 29111 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: The Right And Wrong Way To Go Solo http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-right-and-wrong-way-go-solo <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeXjBWN8LO8</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViwtNLUqkMY</p> Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:02:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 28655 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: The Right And Wrong Way To Go Solo The Good Listener: How Long Is The Perfect Concert? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-how-long-perfect-concert We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the 500 pounds of generic Circus Peanuts we intend to melt down for home insulation is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for a unifying theory of concert length.<p><strong><em>Meaghan Agnew writes via email: "How long do you think a set should be for a headlining band on tour? And should a band always play its 'hits' at a live show? I go to a decent amount of shows, and lately have been surprised by the shortness of sets. Fri, 01 Nov 2013 15:38:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 28204 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: How Long Is The Perfect Concert? The Good Listener: How Do I Name My Band, Anyway? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-how-do-i-name-my-band-anyway We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the new Pokemon 3DS games that have zombified our once-expressive children is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, tips on how to name one's band.<p><em><strong>Suraya Mohamed writes via intra-office email, about 20 feet away: "I'm in a band called Hey Arboré — a D.C.-based indie-rock group with girl-boy-girl harmonies, driving drums and sweet keys; we play bittersweet jangle pop for bipolar surfers. We have a new album coming out soon, but before we release it, we need to solve a big problem. Thu, 17 Oct 2013 17:51:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 27236 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: How Do I Name My Band, Anyway? The Good Listener: How Do You Get Your Parents Into New Music? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-how-do-you-get-your-parents-new-music We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the packages our kids discard in disgust for not including <a href="http://www.slashgear.com/pokemon-x-and-pokemon-y-arrive-on-nintendo-3ds-october-12-08300705/" target="_blank">the new Pokemon 3DS games</a> is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, tips on inter-generational bonding over music.<p><strong><em>Jake Ibey writes via Facebook: "How do you introduce new music to a parent (mid-50s) who is stuck in late-'70s rock mode?"</em></strong><p>It's funny, the way "How do we get our kids to embrace our music Thu, 10 Oct 2013 19:01:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 26792 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: How Do You Get Your Parents Into New Music? The Good Listener: Must We All 'Love' Music? Must We All Have 'Good Taste'? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-must-we-all-love-music-must-we-all-have-good-taste We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the flyers urging us to replace our nonexistent maid service is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a pair of queries about the importance of loving the right music.<p><em><strong>Jennifer Yousfi writes via Facebook: "I have horrible taste in music. How do I fix this?"</strong></em><p><em><strong>Christina Moore writes via Facebook: "What do you do when you're less than crazy about music in general, but are constantly judged for not </strong><strong>"loving"</strong><strong> music? Thu, 03 Oct 2013 18:02:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 26305 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Must We All 'Love' Music? Must We All Have 'Good Taste'? The Good Listener: Does Using Spotify Make You A Bad Person? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-does-using-spotify-make-you-bad-person We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the online pharmacy's monthly supply of the pills that allow us to trudge productively through this waking life is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, an ethical query about online streaming services.<p><strong><em>Andrea Sauceda writes via Facebook: "Does using Spotify (and/or other streaming services) make you a bad person?"</em></strong><p>Given that many questions of right and wrong are arbitrated by the U.S. legal system, let's start there. Thu, 26 Sep 2013 19:34:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 25842 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Does Using Spotify Make You A Bad Person? The Good Listener: Where Do Mopey Music Fans Turn When They Need Energy? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-where-do-mopey-music-fans-turn-when-they-need-energy We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the gigantic packets of 401(k) information we chuck directly into the fireplace is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request from a reader who seeks cheerful music for the mopey, beardy indie-rock soul.<p><strong><em>Judy Morris writes via Facebook: "I'd be interested in recommendations for upbeat music for people who generally like sad, beardy indie-rock music. I'm running a lot more these days, and need more adrenaline-pumping music. Thu, 19 Sep 2013 20:55:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 25412 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Where Do Mopey Music Fans Turn When They Need Energy? The Dodos: Showing 'Confidence' In A Video's Surprising Sequel http://ktep.org/post/dodos-showing-confidence-videos-surprising-sequel Lots of bands play bright, winsome folk-pop, but only one has the bold, sure drumming of <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/16473960/the-dodos">The Dodos</a>' Logan Kroeber; he infuses the duo's prettily propulsive songs with momentum and force. Thu, 19 Sep 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 25359 at http://ktep.org The Dodos: Showing 'Confidence' In A Video's Surprising Sequel Pop Culture Happy Hour: Requested Reboots And 'Duck Dynasty' http://ktep.org/post/pop-culture-happy-hour-requested-reboots-and-duck-dynasty With intrepid host Linda Holmes trapped in the air-conditioned movie theaters of Toronto, the <em>Pop Culture Happy Hour</em> gang was forced to reconstitute itself yet again for this week's episode — this time with our old pal Tanya Ballard Brown, who returns via the power of popular demand. Fri, 13 Sep 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 24985 at http://ktep.org Pop Culture Happy Hour: Requested Reboots And 'Duck Dynasty' The Good Listener: Forget The Grammys — Which Music Awards Matter? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-forget-grammys-which-music-awards-matter We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and along with the quilt my kind sister couldn't possibly have made me herself came a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for ideas on music awards that double as useful buyer's guides.<p><em><strong>Kristel Autencio writes via Facebook: "What are the music awards that we should care about? Thu, 12 Sep 2013 17:49:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 24930 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Forget The Grammys — Which Music Awards Matter? Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Blue Jasmine' And A Summer Movie Postmortem http://ktep.org/post/pop-culture-happy-hour-blue-jasmine-and-summer-movie-postmortem As summer was giving way to fall, preseason football was giving way to actual football, and Linda Holmes' week was giving way to the Toronto International Film Festival, the <em>Pop Culture Happy Hour</em> gang managed to gather just long enough to look back on a divisive summer full of big, loud, robot-on-robot movies. Our own postmortem can't help but skim past other postmortems — was <em>Man of Steel</em> a hit or a flop? Fri, 06 Sep 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 24513 at http://ktep.org Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Blue Jasmine' And A Summer Movie Postmortem The Good Listener: When Playing Music At Work, Can You Please Everyone? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-when-playing-music-work-can-you-please-everyone We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the helpful slips from FedEx reminding us that we have to be at home to receive their package <em>even though most people work during the day, for pete's sake</em> is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for ideas for how to play music in the office without irritating people.<p><strong><em>Kirsten Elbourne Mathieson writes via Facebook: "I need help with the dilemma of playing DJ at work. Thu, 05 Sep 2013 21:04:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 24467 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: When Playing Music At Work, Can You Please Everyone? The Good Listener: Why Would Anyone Keep Buying CDs? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-why-would-anyone-keep-buying-cds <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUxkZreYiQs</p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:42:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 24081 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: Why Would Anyone Keep Buying CDs? The Good Listener: When Is It OK To Wear Headphones In Public? http://ktep.org/post/good-listener-when-it-ok-wear-headphones-public We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the monthly bale of sunflower seeds we've decided to order from Amazon Prime via subscription is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for advice on when and where it's courteous to wear headphones in public.<p><strong><em>Brian Bowen writes via Facebook: "When is it OK to wear headphones in public — in transit, at work, during events large or small, standing in line at the post office, etc.?"</em></strong><p>As a society, we're all supposed to be horrified by the way we've come to close ourselves o Thu, 22 Aug 2013 18:35:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 23552 at http://ktep.org The Good Listener: When Is It OK To Wear Headphones In Public?