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
6:03 am
Wed July 10, 2013

First Watch: John Vanderslice, 'How The West Was Won'

John Vanderslice
Courtesy of the artist

"This is just an awesome, inspiring place to make music." Those are the words of Jake Wachtel, who directed this music video for John Vanderslice. And the place he's talking about, well, it's John's heart and soul really: It's a recording studio called Tiny Telephone located in San Francisco's Mission District.

Read more
All Songs Considered
11:28 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Watch The Music Video For Franz Ferdinand's 'Right Action'

Courtesy of the artist

Read more
NPR Story
1:48 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

First Watch: Whispertown Shows Stunning 'Parallel' Worlds

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 5:37 pm

Merriam-Webster defines parallel as, "extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant, and not meeting." The luscious and expansive song, "Parallel," from Morgan Nagler's indie project Whispertown and the accompanying music video both explore the term in magnificent ways. The video, made from creative commons videos on YouTube edited together by Morgan Nagler's brother (he wishes to go by "Morgan's Brother") illustrates the concept of parallel by showing a myriad of different scenarios that mimic each other. It's a bit of magic, really.

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
12:13 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Billy Bragg: Tiny Desk Concert

Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:26 pm

OK Go helped us move the Tiny Desk from our old building to NPR's new headquarters, and The National performed the first full new-building Tiny Desk Concert we posted to the site, but Billy Bragg gave us the first full Tiny Desk Concert

Read more
All Songs Considered
2:04 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

First Watch: Sonny And The Sunsets, 'Green Blood'

Courtesy of the artist

I adore this song, and the video makes me love it all the more. "Green Blood" is from Sonny and the Sunsets' new album, Antenna to the Afterworld. It's a record filled with cinematic tales, told simply with guitars, bass and drums. And none of those tales are told as endearingly as they are in this song and video about love on a distant planet.

Read more
All Songs Considered
11:51 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Do You Have A Favorite Record Label?

Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 8:13 pm

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
12:03 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale: Tiny Desk Concert

Buddy Miller and Jimmy Lauderdale perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2013.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:32 pm

There's something endearing, old-timey and almost vaudevillian about Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale — even the way they bill themselves as "Buddy and Jim." Both veteran musicians are in love with country music in all its many forms and influences; their music incorporates the blues and bluegrass, rock 'n' roll and a good deal of craft.

Read more
All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Wed May 8, 2013

First Watch: Gary Clark Jr., 'Numb'

Gary Clark Jr.
Frank Maddocks Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 12:02 pm

In the seven months since Gary Clark, Jr. released his major label debut, Blak and Blu, he's played for the President at the White House with Mick Jagger and blues legend B.B.

Read more
All Songs Considered
3:59 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

First Watch: Alpine's Mind-And-Body-Bending 'Gasoline'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 1:05 pm

A is for Alpine and it's also the name of Alpine's debut album. Alpine is a six-piece ensemble from Australia with an airy sound led by singers Phoebe Baker and Lou James. The group's album, A is for Alpine, has been out in their home since 2012, but it arrives in the U.S. on May 21.

Read more
All Songs Considered
1:25 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Vampire Weekend On New York, Souls Of Mischief And The Secrets Of Its New Album

Vampire Weekend in New York City: (from left) Chris Tomson, Chris Baio, Rostam Batmanglij and Ezra Koenig.
Alex John Beck Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:22 pm

  • Listen: Bob Boilen Interviews Vampire Weekend

Read more

Pages