Stephen Thompson http://boisestatepublicradio.org en Ryan Adams, Live In Concert: Newport Folk Festival 2014 http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/ryan-adams-live-concert-newport-folk-festival-2014 <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/14953534/ryan-adams">Ryan Adams</a> used to be the picture of ramshackle prolificacy — a man with <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15394157/prince">Prince</a>'s desire to flood the market with product, not to mention an equally slippery grip on the quality-control lever. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:48:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 49257 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Ryan Adams, Live In Concert: Newport Folk Festival 2014 First Listen: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 'Hypnotic Eye' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/first-listen-tom-petty-heartbreakers-hypnotic-eye Even when he was in his late 20s, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15300677/tom-petty">Tom Petty</a> had a curmudgeonly edge to him, so it's no surprise that he's sneering about threats to the American dream in the opening moments of his new album, <em>Hypnotic Eye</em>. At 63, Petty is well into his transition to full-blown misanthropy, at times splitting the difference between <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/14982343/randy-newman">Randy Newman</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15193203/bob-dylan">Bob Dylan</a>. Mon, 21 Jul 2014 03:01:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 49172 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org First Listen: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 'Hypnotic Eye' At 2014's Newport Folk Festival, 5 Discoveries To Stretch Folk's Limits http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/2014s-newport-folk-festival-5-discoveries-stretch-folks-limits From its legendary beachfront locale to its celebrations of folk music's past, the Newport Folk Festival draws on more than half a century of celebrated traditions. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:35:04 +0000 Stephen Thompson 49052 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org At 2014's Newport Folk Festival, 5 Discoveries To Stretch Folk's Limits NPR Music Returns For 2014's Newport Folk Festival http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/npr-music-returns-2014s-newport-folk-festival The Newport Folk Festival has been around for more than half a century now — this is its 55th year, to be exact — and the event now routinely sells out months before its lineup is even announced. And why shouldn't it? Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 49051 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org NPR Music Returns For 2014's Newport Folk Festival The Good Listener: Has The Term 'Indie Rock' Lost All Meaning? http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/good-listener-has-term-indie-rock-lost-all-meaning We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the flyers that either wildly underestimate or wildly overestimate our credit-worthiness is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what constitutes "indie rock" in 2014.<p><strong><em>Antfitgodd writes via Facebook: "The term 'indie' has been subsumed by major labels, whose acts often try to mimic indie-rock sensibilities — which changes what it means to play music that is not bland Top 40 drivel. Sat, 12 Jul 2014 16:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 48718 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org The Good Listener: Has The Term 'Indie Rock' Lost All Meaning? First Listen: Luluc, 'Passerby' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/first-listen-luluc-passerby Luluc writes songs for late-night drives and uneventful mornings — stuff to slow the blood and the world outside. Bred in Australia but partly based in Brooklyn, Zoë Randell and Steve Hassett traffic in gentle, disarming simplicity, rarely allowing their music to speed up past a gentle lope. But for all their consistency of tone — and quality — <em>Passerby</em>'s 10 songs never congeal into a blur or feel like a slog. Mon, 07 Jul 2014 03:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 48333 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org First Listen: Luluc, 'Passerby' First Listen: Trampled By Turtles, 'Wild Animals' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/first-listen-trampled-turtles-wild-animals The bluegrass-based Minnesota folk-rock band <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/search/index.php?searchinput=trampled+by+turtles">Trampled By Turtles</a> knows how to play at extreme speeds, to the point where its careening compositions can seem downright unhinged. But its last two records, 2012's <em>Stars and Satellites</em> and the new <em>Wild Animals</em>, mostly move at a deliberate, even graceful pace. Mon, 07 Jul 2014 03:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 48334 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org First Listen: Trampled By Turtles, 'Wild Animals' The Good Listener: On Recommending Songs With Profanity http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/good-listener-recommending-songs-profanity We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside our neighbors' mis-delivered subscription copies of unnerving magazines is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on sharing music that might inadvertently expose someone else's kids to foul language.<p><em><strong>Ken writes via Facebook: "I make an annual sampler of my favorite songs each year and give the playlist to my friends, in the hope that everyone will find at least one new artist they like. Fri, 04 Jul 2014 15:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 48249 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org The Good Listener: On Recommending Songs With Profanity Lydia Loveless: Tiny Desk Concert http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/lydia-loveless-tiny-desk-concert For 23-year-old singer-guitarist <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/search/index.php?searchinput=lydia+loveless">Lydia Loveless</a>, gritty, countrified blues-rock is a palette broad enough to include literary drama — complete with fatalistic references to the doomed French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud — and a plainspoken plea for oral sex. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:40:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 48049 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Lydia Loveless: Tiny Desk Concert The Good Listener: When Should A 'Washed-Up' Band Pack It In? http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/good-listener-when-should-washed-band-pack-it We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Copycat-Litter-Other-David-Yow/dp/1617752703">a $23.95 book of cat cartoons</a> by The Jesus Lizard's David Yow is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when and whether once-successful musicians should give up.<p><strong><em>Dan writes via email: "I read somewhere that there's a '<a href="http://www.metalsludge.tv/?p=42068">Bang Your Head Tour</a>' with Quiet Riot and a bunch of other hair-metal bands from the '80s. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 16:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 47853 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org The Good Listener: When Should A 'Washed-Up' Band Pack It In? First Listen: Old Crow Medicine Show, 'Remedy' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/first-listen-old-crow-medicine-show-remedy <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15397697/old-crow-medicine-show">Old Crow Medicine Show</a> knows how to attract attention: The Virginia band's big, brash shows are carried off with rollicking energy and a carnival barker's showmanship. Mon, 23 Jun 2014 03:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 47531 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org First Listen: Old Crow Medicine Show, 'Remedy' The Good Listener: What Makes A Summer Song? http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/good-listener-what-makes-summer-song We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside that one CD which appears to have been pulverized by a steamroller is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what transforms a mere hit single into the agreed-upon song of the summer.<p><strong><em>Kemper writes via Facebook: "When do we know what the song of summer will be? Have we already heard this year's song? If not, when do we typically start to hear it? Why do the other seasons lack their own song?"</em></strong><p>To answer your last question first, summer is a season of simplicity. Sat, 21 Jun 2014 09:20:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 47472 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org The Good Listener: What Makes A Summer Song? Song Premiere: Sinead O'Connor, 'Take Me To Church' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/song-premiere-sinead-oconnor-take-me-church <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15773342/sinead-o-connor">Sinead O'Connor</a>'s nearly 30-year career forms a portrait of an artist in conflict; a brilliant singer who remains musically, politically and personally uncompromising after forays into folk, pop, standards, reggae and points beyond. By definition, her catalog is erratic, but it's consistently bold and surprising.<p>On August 12, O'Connor will release a new album of original material titled <em>I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss</em>. Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 47156 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org Song Premiere: Sinead O'Connor, 'Take Me To Church' First Listen: Phox, 'Phox' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/first-listen-phox-phox The word "charisma" is often used to imply a certain kind of attention-grabbing showiness, or even neediness. Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:15:08 +0000 Stephen Thompson 47140 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org First Listen: Phox, 'Phox' The Good Listener: When We Call Songs 'Filler,' What Does That Mean? http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/good-listener-when-we-call-songs-filler-what-does-mean We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the large wooden crates housing our new summer interns is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what makes some albums seem padded and inconsistent.<p><strong><em>Miggy Pascual writes via email: "On a recent </em>Pop Culture Happy Hour<em> podcast, you described Daft Punk's </em>Random Access Memories<em> as having 'a ton of filler.' I cringed at that moment, mostly because of the word 'filler.' ... What defines or constitutes filler? Fri, 13 Jun 2014 16:09:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 47021 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org The Good Listener: When We Call Songs 'Filler,' What Does That Mean? The Good Listener: What Makes A Hit Song Overplayed? http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/good-listener-what-makes-hit-song-overplayed We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside Bob Boilen's 64-ounce tub of Kirkland-brand gong polish is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on what separates a mere hit from an invasive irritant.<p><strong><em>Chris Kiraly writes via Facebook: "When (if ever) does a song earn the distinction of being 'overplayed'?"</em></strong><p>Chris posed this question a few months ago, before Pharrell's "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM">Happy</a>" crossed this invisible but obvious line (for me, it happened sometime around the 7 Fri, 06 Jun 2014 17:39:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 46645 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org The Good Listener: What Makes A Hit Song Overplayed? First Listen: First Aid Kit, 'Stay Gold' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/first-listen-first-aid-kit-stay-gold Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg first made their names with feather-light chamber-folk confections that echoed the soaring sweetness of Fleet Foxes. A cover of that band's "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" even helped launch the then-teenagers to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMrqBldlqzA">YouTube fame</a> back in 2008. Mon, 02 Jun 2014 03:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 46338 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org First Listen: First Aid Kit, 'Stay Gold' First Listen: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, 'Only Run' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/first-listen-clap-your-hands-say-yeah-only-run Early in its career, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15189626/clap-your-hands-say-yeah">Clap Your Hands Say Yeah</a> seemed unlikely to last a decade: One of the first major bands to rise to prominence on the strength of support from music blogs, it followed a successful 2005 debut with the oddly produced and underwhelmingly received <em>Some Loud Thunder</em>. Mon, 26 May 2014 03:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 45940 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org First Listen: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, 'Only Run' The Good Listener: When's The Right Time To Delete Your Music? http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/good-listener-whens-right-time-delete-your-music We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the six-pack of <a href="http://www.mmmhops.com/">Hanson-branded beer</a> that cost $25 to ship is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on disposing of music in a digital age.<p><strong><em>Tami Anderson writes via Facebook: "How long do you keep songs in your collection when you rarely/never seem to listen to them?"</em></strong><p>First of all, I can more than relate to the problem you're touching on here: I haven't been able to part with literally thousands of CDs that I will <em>never</em> Fri, 23 May 2014 17:19:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 45835 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org The Good Listener: When's The Right Time To Delete Your Music? First Listen: Hamilton Leithauser, 'Black Hours' http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/first-listen-hamilton-leithauser-black-hours Hamilton Leithauser sounds worn-out and weary on <em>Black Hours</em>, his first solo record since his long-running band <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15291595/the-walkmen">The Walkmen</a> went on indefinite hiatus late last year. Fri, 23 May 2014 12:03:00 +0000 Stephen Thompson 45817 at http://boisestatepublicradio.org First Listen: Hamilton Leithauser, 'Black Hours'