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 Considered
1:44 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Your Favorite Musical Discoveries Of 2015 (So Far)

Wolf Alice, one of your favorite new artists of 2015.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 3:14 pm

Earlier this week, All Songs Considered shared our favorite music from debut albums released in the first half of 2015. The NPR Music team also got together to make epic lists of albums and songs we already think might make our year-end lists in December.

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All Songs Considered
12:26 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

All Songs At 15: What Our First Webcast Got Right

Thursdays this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a personal memory about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

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All Songs Considered
7:33 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Hear 'Sparks,' A New Song By Beach House

Beach House.
Shawn Brackill Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 7:43 pm

There's a new album coming from Beach House, the dreamy Baltimore-based duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. That album, called Depression Cherry, comes out on Sub Pop on Aug. 28. Today we get to hear a first song from the album, called "Sparks," and I interviewed Beach House about it.

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Tiny Desk
1:06 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

And The Kids: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with And The Kids.
Morgan McCloy NPR

The fun, colorful Massachusetts trio And The Kids plays music that's full of life, with singalong songs and sometimes dissonant sounds. You'll get a sense of the band in this Tiny Desk Concert, as Hannah Mohan, Rebecca Lasaponaro and Taliana Katz perform songs from their effervescent 2015 debut, Turn To Each Other — including my own favorite, "All Day All Night."

Mohan and Lasaponaro have been making music since they were in seventh grade, a long friendship that helps make the mix of happy and sad songs all the more poignant.

Set List

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All Songs Considered
11:54 am
Tue June 30, 2015

Our Favorite New Artists Of 2015 (So Far)

Vince Staples onstage.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 12:41 pm

This week marks the mid-point of 2015, and the All Songs Considered team is ready to take stock. On this week's show, we share our favorite music from debut albums released in the first half of this year. It's only June, but we picked the music we're already eyeing for our year-end lists in December.

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All Songs Considered
11:33 am
Fri June 26, 2015

What's Your Favorite Musical Discovery Of 2015 (So Far)?

Eskimeaux, one of Bob Boilen's favorite new acts of 2015. What's yours?
Andrew Piccone Courtesy of the artist

The collective excitement surrounding a major album release is infectious, but the satisfaction of turning friends on to a great new album by an unknown artist is true joy. That's why, for next week's All Songs Considered, we will play songs from our favorite debut albums of 2015 (so far).

We also want to give you a chance to share your own discoveries.

Using the form below, tell us your favorite song by an artist you've discovered this year. We'll compile and share a playlist of your picks in the coming weeks.

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All Songs Considered
2:38 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

All Songs At 15: Looking Back At 2008's Best CDs (So Far)

MGMT's Oracular Spectacular.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 25, 2015 2:42 pm

Thursdays this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

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All Songs Considered
11:35 am
Tue June 23, 2015

Guest DJ: Courtney Barnett

Mia Mala McDonald Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri July 10, 2015 12:51 pm

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Tiny Desk
10:10 am
Fri June 19, 2015

Strand Of Oaks: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Timothy Showalter, songwriter and producer of Strand of Oaks.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Strand Of Oaks' music is filled with bite and sometimes regret, but also a good deal of warmth. Neil Young is an obvious touchstone when the loud guitar solos kick in, but so is Jason Molina.

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All Songs Considered
10:27 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Song Premiere: Craig Finn, 'Newmyer's Roof'

Craig Finn.
Shawn Brackbill Courtesy of the artist

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All Songs Considered
11:53 am
Tue June 16, 2015

Guest DJ: Kate Tempest On The Power Of Words

Kate Tempest.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 9:32 am

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All Songs TV
9:24 am
Tue June 16, 2015

First Watch: Beauty Pill, 'Steven & Tiwonge'

Beauty Pill in a scene from their new video for "Steven & Tiwonge."
YouTube

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Tiny Desk
2:07 pm
Mon June 15, 2015

The Prettiots: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with The Prettiots.
Morgan McCloy NPR

The Prettiots' songs are winsome and clever, but most of all they're honest and funny. Goodness knows pop music needs some clever fun.

The three women in The Prettiots — Kay Kasparhauser on ukulele and lead vocals, Rachel Trachtenburg from the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players on drums, and bassist Lulu Prat — share their love of everything from Law & Order to old-school girl groups like the Shangri-Las. Their song "Stabler," performed here, is based on Kasparhauser's infatuation with the Law & Order character Elliot Stabler.

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All Songs TV
10:03 am
Mon June 15, 2015

First Watch: Mother Falcon, 'Kid'

Mother Falcon in a scene from their new video for "Kid."
YouTube



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All Songs Considered
4:32 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

New Music from Dan Auerbach, Joan Shelley, Beauty Pill, More

Clockwise from upper left: Fred Thomas, Widowspeak, Dan Auerbach, Beauty Pill
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 12, 2015 3:03 pm

On this week's episode of All Songs Considered, we've got an album announcement from a new band featuring Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and song premieres from Widowspeak and Joan Shelley.

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All Songs Considered
9:44 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Song Premiere: Gardens & Villa, 'Fixations'

S. Perlin Courtesy of the artist

There was a moment, listening to Gardens & Villa's new song "Fixations," that I was transported back to 1974 and hearing Brian Eno's "Third Uncle" from that brilliant album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). It's all in the way Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen blend buzzy synths, guitars and vocals to make one sonic signature.

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Tiny Desk
4:26 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Anna & Elizabeth: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Anna & Elizabeth.
Emily Jan NPR

Anna & Elizabeth are almost single-handedly resurrecting the "crankie." If, like me, you didn't know what a "crankie" was, it's like a mural on a spool — each drawn and crafted to be hand-cranked and unfurled at the pace of a song. The effect, as experienced here in "Lella Todd Crankie," is breathtaking.

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All Songs TV
9:03 am
Mon June 8, 2015

First Watch: CHAPPO, 'Hang On'

Future Former Self, the new album from Chappo
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 10:34 am

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Song Premiere: Ben Folds And yMusic, 'Capable Of Anything'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 12:38 pm

Ben Folds music has taken another turn, firmly embracing strings and chamber music yet still maintaining a passion for his love of pop. So There, his next album, will consist of eight chamber pop songs with the very talented yMusic Ensemble and one piano concerto performed with the Nashville Symphony. Today we premiere a little pocket symphony of sorts, a bit of pop perfection called "Capable of Anything."

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Tiny Desk
3:13 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Genevieve: Tiny Desk Concert

TK
Morgan McCloy NPR

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 3:21 pm

It's often true that the songs we wind up loving most are the ones that surprise us. I'm not a pop music lover, not a lover of songs with obvious hooks, so when I heard the big fat chorus that starts off Genevieve's "Colors," I thought, "uh-oh." What wound up drawing me in first was her voice — powerful with a tiny bit of rasp and a sweet smile in her phrasing. And then that perfectly positive message, worded in a way that gave me chills:

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