Author: Stephen W Thomas

Stephen Thomas is an Optimistic Realist, except when things aren’t going very well. His favourite music includes Elbow, She & Him, The Leisure Society, Sufjan Stevens, Sam Cooke, The Hold Steady, Stephen Fretwell and Girls Aloud – unless you’re pretty, in which case his favourite music is your favourite music. Stephen names all of his pets after former English prime ministers, but otherwise holds no real interest in politics. He is a serial lister, and has previously listed his Top 25 Disney Females, his Top 10 Albums from 1973 and his Top 20 Billy Joel songs. He frequently publishes his lists at

Album: The Acorn – No Ghost

Bella Union, who release the band’s newest album, No Ghost, tell us that free from ‘the emotional weightiness’ of their last record, The Acorn are able to show off the real them, a lighter, more versatile sound than we might previously have known. There is certainly some truth in this – the album demonstrates a great deal more variety than previous records have, and is certainly less dark, thematically, than their last.

Album: The New Pornographers – Together

It has been three years since Canada’s first supergroup, The New Pornographers, released their last record Challengers. For all that has changed in the band, however, it might as well be three days. With their new studio album – their fifth – the band have stuck strictly to the formula that has served them so well thus far in their careers.

Folk Music Film Club: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

O Brother Where Art Thou? is as much about the all-encompassing and redemptive nature of music as it is about the odyssey of the characters involved. It’s an exciting, witty and often hilarious film that deserves to be watched and watched again for years to come.

FFS interview: The Chapin Sisters

FFS doesn’t know what it was expecting. Ethereal green gowns, most likely, a walk so smooth it may better be described as a drift. Or perhaps something quite opposite – the two Chapin Sisters appearing ominously at the top of the hotel staircase, dressed in black and lost in a very personal silence.

Album: Darwin Deez – Darwin Deez

Darwin Deez are an intriguing concept. A band named after their lead singer (a trend that must always cause some tension amongst other members), and seemingly claiming to be a new breed of indie folk.  All the while, they make…

Folked Up: Stephen Thomas on Joni Mitchell’s ‘jibe’ against Bob Dylan

Yes, everything about Bob Dylan is a deception. But, really, are we surprised by this? We shouldn’t be. He has, in his time, been a troubadour, a rock star, a poet and a college drop-out. Dylan is notorious for his early-year interviews, during which he would often give conflicting back stories about his past, and where he came from. Since his origins as an artist and a musician Dylan has never been entirely honest with us.

Folked Up: Stephen Thomas on the line-up for Glastonbury 2010

Glastonbury’s fortieth year has provided possibly the best line-up that the festival has yet managed. The headline acts alone are an impressive mix – regardless of your views on U2 (outdated, irrelevant, pompous, too many silly names) there is no argument that they are anything less than the most successful rock band in the world today. Muse are, supposedly, the greatest live band currently knocking about the place. And of course Stevie Wonder is, well, Stevie Wonder.