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
5:39 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Bob Boilen's 15 Essential Moments From SXSW 2013

Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 11:20 am

Unlike any other festival, South by Southwest is unique to everyone who attends. And I love that about this festival. With over 2,200 bands spread out over 100 venues and five days of music, everyone sees something different and walks away with different joys and discoveries. You could go to a Brooklyn Vegan showcase and spend the whole day in one place. You could search out only Latino bands, or metal bands, hip hop or blues. In fact, when the All Songs crew gathers to record our late night dispatches on the streets of Austin, Texas, we all share completely different joys.

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All Songs Considered
11:03 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

David Bowie's New Song Is...

Cover art for David Bowie's single, "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:49 am

There's another new song from David Bowie and it's called "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)." This is the second Bowie song in the past few months after a dry spell that lasted ten years. You can hear the song and watch the video, which contains some nudity.

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All Songs Considered
1:28 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

A Dance Video Inspired By An Encounter With An Oddball

Courtesy of the Artist

I first saw Cat Martino at the best concert of my life. It was the summer of 2011 and Sufjan Stevens was performing at Celebrate Brooklyn. But within the spectacle -– a troupe of maybe a dozen performers on stage — was a singer and dancer named Cat Martino. I know that because a number of my friends at the show knew Cat and were screaming her name at the top of their lungs.

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All Songs Considered
9:10 am
Wed February 20, 2013

NPR Music Presents: Josh Ritter Live From New York City

Josh Ritter.
Courtesy of the aritst

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 7:24 pm

NPR Music will present and webcast a "First Listen Live" concert from Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band on Monday, March 4, beginning at 8 p.m. ET in the intimate New York City venue (Le) Poisson Rouge. Josh Ritter and his band will play most of his new album, The Beast in Its Tracks.

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First Listen
3:57 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

First Listen: Deathfix, 'Deathfix'

Deathfix's self-titled debut album comes out on Feb. 26.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 5:09 pm

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

At a show one night in Washington, D.C., Brendan Canty — a legendary and active local drummer, Fugazi alumnus, filmmaker and music fan — handed me a home-burned CD. The disc was just silver, with no writing or markings on it and music by his new band Deathfix, in which he performs with his friend and former Bob Mould bandmate and producer, Rich Morel.

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All Songs Considered
3:29 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

The Real Instrument Behind The Sound In 'Good Vibrations'

Cover art for the "Good Vibrations" single, released in 1966.
Courtesy of the artist
  • Hear how 'Good Vibrations' was created

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All Songs Considered
11:31 am
Sun February 3, 2013

After 22 Years, Is It Worth The Wait? Listen To My Bloody Valentine's 'm b v'

My Bloody Valentine's first album in 22 years is titled m b v.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:22 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:43 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Wanna Make An Album? Start Right Now!

The author, up for the "Challenge."
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 2:04 pm

  • Hear a song sung by Bob Boilen for the RPM Challege a few years ago

I love a deadline and every February I get one. Thanks to The Wire, a small New Hampshire magazine that started the tradition in 2006, I make an album every year. They call it the RPM Challenge, and the challenge is this: write and record an album in the time between the first and last days of February. To qualify as an album, it just needs to be 10 songs or 35 minutes of music.

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All Songs Considered
2:58 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Listen: Thom Yorke And Friends Talk Atoms For Peace

Thom Yorke of Atoms For Peace. Not pictured from the band: Nigel Godrich, Flea, Mauro Refosco and Joey Waronker.
Eliot Lee Hazel

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 10:20 am

  • Listen: Thom Yorke on 'Amok'

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Song Premiere: The Besnard Lakes, 'People Of The Sticks'

Photographer: Richmond Lam

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:26 am

The Besnard Lakes have a new album coming out in April, and after hearing the song "People Of The Sticks," it's safe to say we're in for another soaringly gorgeous record from the Canadian rock group.

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