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.

Pages

All Songs Considered
11:15 am
Fri April 17, 2015

All Songs +1: Our Record Store Day Must-Haves

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 1:37 pm

Record Store Day is that magical day each spring (this year it's Saturday, April 18) when geeks like us line up outside their favorite music shops to get their hands on a bunch of vinyl exclusives. These are the albums, EPs and singles bands and labels put out just to celebrate the day.

Read more
All Songs Considered
9:56 am
Thu April 16, 2015

Highasakite, 'Heavenly Father'

Norwegian band Highasakite covers Bon Iver's "Heavenly Father."
Aleksander Jason Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 11:38 am

When Bon Iver's Justin Vernon saw Norway's Highasakite perform at the 2012 Oya Festival in Oslo, he fell in love. Soon the two bands were touring together. Now the only band I know that tours with a flugabone has taken one of Vernon's songs and made it even more majestic than the original.

Read more
All Songs Considered
2:23 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Songs We Love: Algiers, 'Black Eunuch'

Algiers' self-titled debut album is out June 2.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 11:43 am

If I had to pick one new band that you should absolutely listen to, it's Algiers, three young men who grew up in Atlanta. Sonically, they make really eerie gospel music that's a rock-inspired amalgamation of all different stuff. In "Black Eunuch," you can hear the sounds of both black and white churches of the South and great guitars. Though they now live in London and New York, their roots are definitely southern based and their lyrics deal with the conservative politics of where they grew up. I've never seen them before and they're completely new to me.

Read more
All Songs Considered
11:47 am
Tue April 14, 2015

New Mix: Built To Spill, The Milk Carton Kids, Brown Bird, Protomartyr

Clockwise from upper left: Built To Spill, Brown Bird, Holly Miranda, The Milk Carton Kids
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 12:50 pm

Idaho's Built to Spill were one of the most beloved rock acts of the '90s and now the indie rock pioneers are back with a new rhythm section and the band's first album since 2009. This week on All Songs Considered, we bring you a new track from upcoming album Untethered Moon, which you can hear in its entirety on First Listen.

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
12:00 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Chadwick Stokes: Tiny Desk Concert

Morgan McCloy NPR

His songs feel familiar; they're old friends before the first play is done. They'd fit nicely on a mix alongside Paul Simon or the McCartney side of The Beatles.

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
12:45 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Death Cab For Cutie: Tiny Desk Concert

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:27 pm

Death Cab For Cutie came as a trio: Ben Gibbard sang, Nick Harmer played bass, and we wheeled in our piano for Zac Rae. This intimate set included two new songs — including "Black Sun," the first single from their new album Kintsugi.

Read more
All Songs TV
6:03 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Alpine, "Foolish"

Alpine
Tracey Lee Hayes Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 8:34 am

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
1:31 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Sylvan Esso: Tiny Desk Concert

Morgan McCloy

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 2:47 pm

It's hard to believe that it hasn't quite been a year since the first Sylvan Esso album came out. The odd yet perfect marriage of Nick Sanborn's electronics with Amelia Meath's voice feels like a familiar friend by now. And yet seeing these songs performed softly — and captured in the light of day — made them feel fresh and lovable in new ways.

Read more
All Songs TV
10:25 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Lauren Shera, 'Light and Dust'

Alysse Gafkjen Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on

Written as a farewell to her home in California, Lauren Shera's "Light and Dust" introduces the new direction she took on her third studio album, Gold and Rust.

Read more
All Songs TV
7:11 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Genevieve, 'Colors'

Genevieve.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 7:51 am

What a killer song. In fact, of all the tunes the All Songs Considered crew inspected before we headed down to Austin for SXSW, "Colors," the debut single by Genevieve, was the team favorite.

Read more

Pages