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: She & Him – Volume 2

There’s a lot to be said for pure originality – without it our lives would be severely lacking in, well, pretty much everything. In music though, pure originality is a fair less admirable quality. The truly original bands tend to…

Album: Tunng – …And Then We Saw Land

There’s nothing strikingly different about …And Then We Saw Land, Tunng’s fourth record.  All of the main ingredients for a modern British folk album are present – the harmonies, cheerful melodies and casual banjo are all present and correct.  Though…

FFS interview: The Living Sisters

Becky Stark: “We wanted to make music everyone can listen to. These are the songs you’re brought up with, you know? The songs that everyone knows, The Beatles, Ella… and they become everybody’s music. It’s kind of like everyone owns them. Like The Beatles songs, or Amazing Grace… My mom used to do these teachings, on a Sunday afternoon. The Church of Popular Culture. We’d listen to the charts, and the current music and we’d learn them, and dance to them, but we’d learn from them too. Karma Chameleon. When that came out, we learnt about karma, and materialism, from Material Girl.”

Folked Up: Stephen Thomas on the potential demise of BBC 6 Music

Like a digital Glastonbury, with none of the hassles of setting up a tent or defecating into a drop-pit, 6 Music collects the best music on offer in the world today, and brings together music fans of all ages at the same time. It’s lovely to know that I can be enjoying a Van Morrison album track in my bedroom at the exact same time a middle-aged bearded man is listening to it whilst soaking himself in a bath in Edinburgh. It’s not a pretty image, perhaps, but if you think about it, this is exactly what made radio so brilliant all those years ago, when it first came about. Forget about bringing people together within their own living rooms – radio brings nations together! And if we have that ability, do we really want to waste it by playing (the admittedly quite enjoyable) Cast of Glee? No. We want to champion new music, refresh our memories with the favourite bands we’ve long forgotten, and generally widen the cultural boundaries of everyone at the other end of that magical digital squiggle of zeroes and ones.