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
Tue September 2, 2014

Hozier, 'Jackie And Wilson'

Hozier, performing his new song "Jackie and Wilson"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 11:04 am

The song title "Jackie and Wilson" is a playful nod, of course, to the great R&B singer Jackie Wilson. And don't worry — Hozier, the 24-year-old Irish soul singer and guitarist, has the grace and the backbeat to make it work.

Andrew Hozier-Byrne has already released two hit-filled EPs, and on Oct. 7, he'll finally release his first album. A version of this song will be on that record, but in the meantime, you can watch Hozier perform it live with his band in the studio.

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Field Recordings
12:37 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Ages And Ages, Singing An Anthem For (And With) Everyone

Ages and Ages performs with The Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir backstage at Newport Folk Festival.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 1:39 pm

Warning: This song will put a smile on your face.

I've seen many magical collaborations at the Newport Folk Festival over the years, as artists band together and create in the Newport spirit. This particular venture was epic, featuring the strongest anthem of the year — by the Portland band Ages and Ages — and the voices of the Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir.

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All Songs Considered
11:49 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Alt-J Will Debut New Album Live In New York

Thom Green, Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton of alt-J
Gabriel Green Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 4:28 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat August 23, 2014

Rodrigo Amarante: Tiny Desk Concert

Rodrigo Amarante performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

Rodrigo Amarante has made the year's tenderest record. Cavalo is sonically rich and spare at the same time: Every instrument breathes and every sound blends, yet every moment is distinct. At Cavalo's core are heartfelt songs and Amarante's sweet, smoky voice.

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All Songs Considered
8:31 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Song Premiere: Generationals, 'Black Lemon'

The Generationals fourth album 'Alix'
Akasha Rabut Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 11:14 am

As the end of summer nears, here's one more bouncy tune to carry you into fall. "Black Lemon," by Generationals, two former high school buddies Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, mixes marimba-based jolliness and lyrics tinged with darkness. It looks at life's ties that bind and searches for ways to chill and not fight every battle.

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All Songs TV
11:21 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Anthony D'Amato, 'Good And Ready'

Bianca Bourgeois Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 11:03 am

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Ernest Ranglin: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Ernest Ranglin on June 25, 2014.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

At 82, legendary guitarist Ernest Ranglin still plays the ska, reggae and jazz that he's championed and helped perfect for more than half a century. Ranglin was a key figure in shaping the sounds of ska — influenced by New Orleans jazz and R&B — in Jamaica in the late 1950s. But most of the world wouldn't hear of ska until producer Chris Blackwell teamed Ranglin up with a Jamaican singer named Millie Small.

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Music
8:24 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Emma Ruth Rundle, 'Arms I Know So Well'

Emma Ruth Rundle.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 10:08 am

This is debut music from the ethereal performer Emma Ruth Rundle. The video for "Arms I Know So Well" is a beautiful portrayal of solitude and living with one's self, directed by Thomas McMahan. "Arms I Know So Well" is from her first album, called Some Heavy Ocean. She and her band Marriages is currently on tour with Boris. Tour dates are below.

MARRIAGES – ON TOUR

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All Songs TV
8:28 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Sleepy Kitty, 'Don't You Start'

An image from Sleepy Kitty's "Don't You Start" video
Bill Streeter Courtesy of the band

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 11:05 am

Look! It's a band! It's a screen-printing project! No, it's Sleepy Kitty! Watch this St. Louis duo make art punk fun and a very inky animation for the song "Don't You Start," cut two from Sleepy Kitty's 2014 album, Projection Room.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:27 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Bob Mould: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Bob Mould on June 16, 2014.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

Bob Mould came alone, except for his 1987 Lake Placid Blue Fender Stratocaster. We provided the Epiphone Blues Custom 30 amp, which he promptly cranked. Needless to say, he announced his own Tiny Desk Concert without using the paging system.

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Field Recordings
10:06 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Tweedy And Son Take To The Tunnels, Friends In Tow

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 1:38 pm

As its name suggests, Tweedy is a new band featuring Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and his 18-year-old son and drummer Spencer. Tweedy recently recorded an album together, out Sept. 23, titled Sukierae. (It's pronounced sue-key-ray.)

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:16 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

The Family Crest: Tiny Desk Concert

The Family Crest performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

There's a decent chance you're about to discover your favorite new band. Based in San Francisco and led by Liam McCormick, The Family Crest builds its songs from a combination of infectious enthusiasm and powerful talent. The group owes its huge sound not just to its seven members, but to the community that records and plays with them. Eighty people are credited on The Family Crest's first album, Beneath the Brine.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:56 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Saintseneca: Tiny Desk Concert

Saintseneca performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Olivia Merrion NPR

Originally published on

One of the many instruments you may hear Saintseneca play — beyond the banjo, baglama, bulbul, balalaika, bowed banjo, baritone ukulele, bass and bouzouki — is a stomp box. Basically, it's a roughly 2'x2' plywood floorboard meant for pounding the beat. At a show just before this Tiny Desk Concert, craftily bearded singer Zac Little put his boot right through that floorboard.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:18 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Highasakite: Tiny Desk Concert

Highasakite performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Olivia Merrion NPR

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 2:37 pm

My first time seeing this Norwegian band was at a fairly soulless convention center in Austin, Texas. They transformed that big, open room into an intimate affair. So having them perform at the Tiny Desk, an already intimate space, was a thrill. It was also the first appearance of a flugabone here. Kristoffer Lo plays that mournful horn and Ingrid Helene Håvik compliments the yearning with words that are mysterious, somewhat dark and contain surprising twists.

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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

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 11:08 am

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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 Sun October 26, 2014 4:30 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 Wed October 29, 2014 11:18 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.

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