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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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:02 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 2:56 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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All Songs TV
11:03 am
Mon July 14, 2014

The Apache Relay, 'Katie Queen Of Tennessee'

YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 2:37 pm

The Apache Relay's "Katie Queen of Tennessee" is easily one of the catchiest tunes I've heard this year. And in the song's new video, a troupe of 40 young dancers raise the fun to heights I hadn't imagined with a blissfully, perfectly choreographed routine.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 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
2:03 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 2:38 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
8:03 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 2:18 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
11:04 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Nicole Atkins, 'Who Killed The Moonlight?'

Nicole Atkins
Courtesy of the artist

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

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Music
10:46 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 10:21 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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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:03 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 5:30 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
11:12 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 12:18 pm

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
8:51 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 2:10 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
11:11 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 Tue October 14, 2014 2:20 pm

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All Songs Considered
11:43 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
11:01 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 10:21 am

All Songs Considered
3:04 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A Catchy Synth-Pop 'Summer Jam' From Grimes

Claire Boucher, aka Grimes
Mac Boucher Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 5:31 pm

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
4:47 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 2:54 pm

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All Songs Considered
10:03 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 12:39 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:04 pm
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

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 12:09 pm

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All Songs Considered
9:00 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
10:54 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 4:51 pm

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All Songs Considered
2:47 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 4:21 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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