Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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All Songs TV
7:03 am
Wed July 23, 2014

The Raveonettes, 'Killer In The Streets'

Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, of the Danish band The Raveonettes
Courtesy of the artist

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Music
3:45 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Jenny Lewis Stands Out With 'Voyager'

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 9:56 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Tiny Desk Concerts
1:39 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Hamilton Leithauser: Tiny Desk Concert

Hamilton Leithauser performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Olivia Merrion NPR

This is the second time Hamilton Leithauser has graced the Tiny Desk. Two summers ago, he and his band The Walkmen played a powerful set of songs from their final album for now, Heaven.

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All Songs TV
10:14 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Benjamin Booker, 'Have You Seen My Son?'

YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 1:36 pm

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All Songs TV
9:05 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Tiny Ruins, 'Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens'

Tiny Ruins, 'Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens'
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 1:37 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:02 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Holly Williams: Tiny Desk Concert

Holly Williams performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 1:56 pm

Truth be told, Holly Williams brought me and many of my hardened colleagues to tears. The singer-songwriter has a magnificent way with words and phrasing, not to mention a country-music lineage that fills her with pride and guides her poignancy and subject matter.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sun July 13, 2014

John Grant: Tiny Desk Concert

John Grant performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Alex Schelldorf NPR

John Grant's songs don't mess around: The music isn't complicated, while the lyrics function as darts of retort and thought. His album Pale Green Ghosts is decorated with synthesizers, his voice often drenched in reverb; those tools and textures help make the record strong and everlasting.

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All Songs TV
1:03 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Pattern Is Movement, 'Suckling'

Andrew Thiboldeaux and Chris Ward are Philadelphia's Pattern Is Movement.
Peter English Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 1:38 pm

The latest video from Pattern Is Movement is up close and personal, featuring the best music this Philadelphia duo has made in 14 years of recording together. Watch Andrew Thiboldeaux and Chris Ward perform "Suckling," with just drums, keyboards and voice. The cut is from the band's self-titled album, released earlier this year on Hometapes.

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All Songs TV
7:03 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Kim Deal & Morgan Nagler, 'Range On Castle'

Kim Deal & Morgan Nagler, 'Range On Castle'
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 1:18 pm

Bad acting meets good music in this collaboration between former Pixies bassist Kim Deal and Morgan Nagler, aka Whispertown. The new video for their single, "Range On Castle," includes classic footage from the 1963 Roger Corman film The Terror, starring Boris Karloff and a very young Jack Nicholson.

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All Songs TV
10:04 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Nicole Atkins, 'Who Killed The Moonlight?'

Nicole Atkins
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:21 am

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All Songs TV
10:11 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Ásgeir, 'King And Cross'

Asgeir - 'King and the Crown'
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:21 am

Since winning the Icelandic Music Award for best album of the year in his home country a few years ago, Ásgeir Trausti — best known simply as Ásgeir — has begun to win over larger parts of the world, including the U.S. He has a calm upper range voice, a voice not unlike Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Later, he released In The Silence, a version of that award-winning album with the lyrics translated into the English.

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All Songs TV
2:48 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Bear's Den, 'Elysium'

Bear's Den: 'Elysium'
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:20 am

Sometimes music and life intersect in ways beyond words. Filmmaker James Marcus Haney set out to do two things, make a music video for the British trio Bear's Den and capture the last days of his little brothers carefree college days with friends.

What he wound up with is tragic and poignant. Shortly after arriving in Seattle to film, a campus shooting occurred. Haney relayed his story to me via email. He's as good with words as he is with imagery. I'm going to let him tell the story.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:03 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Moon Hooch: Tiny Desk Concert

Moon Hooch performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Alex Schelldorf NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 12:34 pm

People ask me all the time to name my favorite Tiny Desk Concert. It's my desk and I've seen almost all of the nearly 400 concerts up close. So you'd think this would be easy. Moon Hooch have made it a lot easier.

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All Songs Considered
10:12 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Song Premiere: An Unlikely Collaboration From Cat Power And Coldplay

Wish I Was Here
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 10:51 am

It seems the unlikeliest of collaborations: Cat Power, a American songwriter and singer who can be quiet and somewhat insular, and Coldplay, now a veteran band from London that is immensely popular, confident and bold. And still, what happens in this recording, the title track for the film Wish I Was Here, feels so right.

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All Songs TV
7:51 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Hospitality, 'I Miss Your Bones'

Image from the video for 'I Miss Your Bones' by Hospitality
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 1:10 pm

"I Miss Your Bones," from Hospitality's album Trouble, is easily one of the catchiest songs of the year. In its video, director Lara Gallagher looks at what missing someone means in this digital age.

All Songs Considered
10:11 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Song Premiere: Bon Iver Writes A Tune For Zach Braff

The soundtrack album art for the film "Wish I Was Here"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 3:51 pm

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All Songs Considered
10:43 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Guess Monday's Mystery Song Premiere

NPR

On Monday at noon we're premiering a brand-new song from an artist we love. Until then, we're leaving you this puzzle to ponder: Who is Monday's Mystery Musician?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

All Songs TV
9:53 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Prom Body: 'Guttuggering'

Prom Body's Michael Fay.
Nika Kaiser Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:21 am

All Songs Considered
2:04 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A Catchy Synth-Pop 'Summer Jam' From Grimes

Claire Boucher, aka Grimes
Mac Boucher Courtesy of the artist

Claire Boucher, best known as Grimes, has a new song. It's the first new music we've heard from Grimes since she made a lot of noise with her album Visions in 2012. In a press release, she calls the new song, "Go," which features Michael Diamond, a 22-year-old L.A.

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All Songs TV
3:47 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

The Family Crest, 'The World'

The Family Crest performing, 'The World'
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 1:54 pm

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All Songs Considered
9:03 am
Tue June 24, 2014

The Making Of OK Go's 'The Writing's On The Wall' Video

A behind-the-scenes look at OK Go making their video "The Writing's on the Wall."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 11:39 am

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:38 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Conor Oberst: Tiny Desk Concert

Conor Oberst performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Olivia Merrion NPR

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:23 am

Conor Oberst's new album has fast become my favorite of the Bright Eyes singer's solo projects, so having him come to NPR and perform a few of these songs at the Tiny Desk was especially exciting. The new music on Upside Down Mountain contains the sort of personal songwriting that got me loving him in the first place.

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All Songs Considered
11:09 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Song Premiere: Robert Plant's Bold New Band

Robert Plant and his new band The Sensational Space Shifters.
Frank Melfi Courtesy of the artist

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All Songs Considered
8:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Song Premiere: Sylvan Esso Mixes It Up With Grouplove

Grouplove is (clockwise from left) Andrew Wessen, Ryan Rabin, Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper.
Joseph Ilanes Courtesy of the artist

Sylvan Esso, some of the brightest new makers of music this year, have just remixed "I'm With You," the leadoff track from Grouplove's 2013 album Spreading Rumors. What Sylvan Esso's electronic wiz Nick Sanborn has done to the song is transformative.

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All Songs Considered
9:54 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Song Premiere: The Shins And Zach Braff Reunite

The soundtrack album art for the film "Wish I Was Here"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 3:51 pm

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All Songs Considered
4:26 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Sole Of A Band, June 19

Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on

Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.

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All Songs Considered
1:47 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Song Premiere: alt-J, 'Hunger Of The Pine'

alt-J, from left: Thom Green, Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton.
Gabriel Green Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 3:21 pm

In 2012, alt-J made its debut with An Awesome Wave, and every one of those 13 songs would slay me. Now the band has returned with another shifting and intrepid sonic adventure, "Hunger of the Pine," which will appear on alt-J's second album, This Is All Yours, out on Sept. 22.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:38 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Rodney Crowell: Tiny Desk Concert

Rodney Crowell performs at a Tiny Desk in May 2014.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 9:54 am

Rodney Crowell performs with the ease and swagger of a man comfortable in his ways. He carries his songs the way he carries his old guitar: out in the open, no case, almost as an extension of his body.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat June 14, 2014

Eliot Fisk And Paco Peña: Tiny Desk Concert

Paco Pena performs at the Tiny Desk in April 2014.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Sat June 14, 2014 9:07 am

Eliot Fisk looks like the happiest man on the planet. Watch that face as he plays guitar. Between performing music by J.S. Bach and partnering with the world's best flamenco guitarist, Paco Peña, Fisk can barely control his joy. I find his exuberance and their performance undeniably brilliant, inspiring and so completely universal.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat June 7, 2014

Marian McLaughlin: Tiny Desk Concert

Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 2:29 pm

Marian McLaughlin is a unique musician based in the Washington/Baltimore area, and because she's lived in D.C., I've had a chance to watch her grow. She's an artist on her own path, making music like few others.

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