Stephen Thompson http://wuwm.com en First Listen: Luluc, 'Passerby' http://wuwm.com/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 35404 at http://wuwm.com First Listen: Luluc, 'Passerby' First Listen: Trampled By Turtles, 'Wild Animals' http://wuwm.com/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 35405 at http://wuwm.com First Listen: Trampled By Turtles, 'Wild Animals' The Good Listener: On Recommending Songs With Profanity http://wuwm.com/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 35286 at http://wuwm.com The Good Listener: On Recommending Songs With Profanity Lydia Loveless: Tiny Desk Concert http://wuwm.com/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 35043 at http://wuwm.com Lydia Loveless: Tiny Desk Concert The Good Listener: When Should A 'Washed-Up' Band Pack It In? http://wuwm.com/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 34771 at http://wuwm.com The Good Listener: When Should A 'Washed-Up' Band Pack It In? First Listen: Old Crow Medicine Show, 'Remedy' http://wuwm.com/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 34358 at http://wuwm.com First Listen: Old Crow Medicine Show, 'Remedy' The Good Listener: What Makes A Summer Song? http://wuwm.com/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 34276 at http://wuwm.com The Good Listener: What Makes A Summer Song? Song Premiere: Sinead O'Connor, 'Take Me To Church' http://wuwm.com/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 33864 at http://wuwm.com Song Premiere: Sinead O'Connor, 'Take Me To Church' First Listen: Phox, 'Phox' http://wuwm.com/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 03:47:36 +0000 Stephen Thompson 33836 at http://wuwm.com First Listen: Phox, 'Phox' The Good Listener: When We Call Songs 'Filler,' What Does That Mean? http://wuwm.com/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 33697 at http://wuwm.com The Good Listener: When We Call Songs 'Filler,' What Does That Mean?