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
1:43 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Bob Boilen's CMJ Discoveries: Day Three

Little Green Cars play at the Union Square Ballroom during CMJ 2012 in New York City.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:53 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:38 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day Two

Drummer Zach Hill of Sacramento-based band Death Grips, during the group's speaker-busting set at (Le) Poisson Rouge.
Loren Wohl for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:54 pm

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All Songs Considered
10:34 am
Wed October 17, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day One

Ben Gibbard performs at The HiFi Bar in New York City's Lower East Side during the CMJ Music Marathon.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 12:05 pm

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In Practice
8:03 am
Mon October 15, 2012

In Practice: David Byrne And St. Vincent

David Byrne and Annie Clark of St. Vincent
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 3:07 pm

When I first heard that David Byrne and St. Vincent's Annie Clark would collaborate, I imagined a quirky, guitar-based dance band. I never expected an eight-piece brass ensemble or a theremin duet. What's brilliant about their album together, Love This Giant, is what makes collaboration exciting: the desire to explore and challenge. We find both artists outside their comfort zones, making music that couldn't have happened independently of each other.

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All Songs Considered Blog
6:03 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Song Premiere: The Daredevil Christopher Wright, 'A Man Of The Arts'

The Daredevil Christopher Wright.
John Hanson Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 9:15 am

The Daredevil Christopher Wright is a band featuring brothers Jon and Jason Sunde, along with the percussion and voice of Jesse Edgington. The band began in 2004 in Eau Claire, Wis., and put out a second full-length album, The Nature of Things, earlier this year. Now we've got a new song, "A Man of the Arts," which will appear on a split 7" single the group is sharing with the Brooklyn band Cuddle Magic. It may be too simple to say that what attracted me to this song was its vibe, but it's the truth.

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All Songs Considered Blog
9:47 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Six Minutes Of Absolute Majesty

Henry Jun Wah Lee

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:53 am

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All Songs Considered Blog
11:14 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Song Premiere: Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch, 'Etimasia'

Jim Jarmusch and Jozef Van Wissem
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:27 am

Film director and screenwriter Jim Jarmusch is also a musician — not surprisingly, a very cinematic musician. His tastes in music are so much a part of his films: He often casts musicians in key roles and music as part of the storyline. Think about his film Down by Law, with saxophonist John Lurie and singer Tom Waits. Or Stranger Than Paradise, in which "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins is a key character. The list is pretty long.

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All Songs Considered Blog
2:33 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Frank Ocean And Bon Iver Surprise Lucky NYC Fans

Frank Ocean performs at Angel Orensanz Church. The special show was announced that day and a few hundred lucky fans were able to RSVP for free tickets.
Ryan Muir for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:54 am

Last night, two of today's most recognizable voices lifted the rafters of a glorious synagogue on New York's Lower East Side. The surprise show was announced with just about 12 hours notice, and lucky fans who answered an RSVP quickly filled the venue's few hundred spots.

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All Songs Considered Blog
2:41 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

All Tomorrow's Parties Forever?

Singer Ian Svenonius of The Make-Up performs All Tomorrow's Parties Festival on September 23, 2012 in New York City.
Ilya S. Savenok Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 3:29 pm

All Tomorrow's Parties is an extra special music festival. Oddly, it's not just about the music. It's about film, comedy, lecture/conversation and new friendships all bound together by everyone's love for eclectic and passionate music. This year, following a move from Asbury Park (which followed a move from its original Catskill mountain hotel home) to a giant pier on southern tip of Manhattan, it felt more like a convention than a camp. Gone was the coziness of hotel lobbies where artists and participants co-mingled at all hours.

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All Songs Considered Blog
3:47 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Download Quirky Greatness From Alt-J

Courtesy of artist

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:55 am

I haven't been able to stop listening to Alt-J since I saw the group in concert last week. Its sound is understated. The band's lead singer has a quirky affect you may love - or not - but the songs are smart, filled with pop culture, film and literary references, from Maurice Sendak to the movie Last Exit to Brooklyn.

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