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
2:28 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Hozier: Tiny Desk Concert

Hozier performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Alex Schelldorf/NPR NPR

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 4:09 pm

Andrew Hozier-Byrne's voice is so rich, so vital and so soulful, I'm certain I'll follow his music for a long time to come. The 24-year-old Irishman, who performs under the name Hozier, opens this set with the brilliant and instantly grabby song "Take Me to Church," about passion, sex and religion.

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All Songs Considered
4:03 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Jack White's 'Lazaretto': The All Songs Interview

Mary Ellen Matthews Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:29 pm

  • Listen To Jack White On All Songs

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:10 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Chvrches: Tiny Desk Concert

Chvrches performs at a Tiny Desk in April 2014.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 9:56 am

For a brief moment, I imagined hearing Chvrches perform "Recover" or "Gun" with a couple of acoustic guitars and perhaps a shaker or two. And, though these songs would surely stand up well when broken down and bared, I'm thrilled that Chvrches came with a small arsenal of synthesizers to perform a few highlights from last year's album The Bones of What You Believe.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
3:03 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Public Service Broadcasting: Tiny Desk Concert

Public Service Broadcasting performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in March 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:34 pm

These guys don't speak or sing a word, but each song sends a clear message. Public Service Broadcasting is a duo featuring the nerdy J. Willgoose, Esq. on guitar, banjo and electronics and Wrigglesworth on drums. The source material for the music is British public-service films from roughly the 1940s through the 1960s.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:42 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Quilt: Tiny Desk Concert

Quilt performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:00 am

It's right there in the band's name, but the music of Quilt is truly a tapestry. Its songs are made of small bits of verses and choruses that, heard individually, may not seem to fit. But in the hands and voices of this band, they stitch together beautifully. Interweaving harmonies and guitar lines from Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler set the tone for these tunes — soft and benevolent, dreamy and quivering, with poetry that's thoughtful and playful. The opening song at this Tiny Desk Concert, "Arctic Shark," questions and enchants.

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All Songs TV
12:56 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

The Darcys, 'Hunting'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:20 am

The video for The Darcys' powerful song "Hunting" shows the dark side of life in an apartment building that echoes the Hitchcock film Rear Window, using subtly beautiful CGI and matte paintings.

All Songs TV
10:41 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Diane Coffee, 'All The Young Girls'

Diane Coffee
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:48 am

Diane Coffee is the solo project of Shaun Fleming, a musician who has been a child voice actor for Disney and the drummer in Foxygen with his friends Jonathan Rado and Sam France. Under the name Diane Coffee, Shaun Fleming is also an outrageously dolled up performer. "All The Young Girls" is from the band's 2013 album My Friend Fish.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:22 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Usman Riaz: Tiny Desk Concert

NPR

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:54 pm

This is simply astonishing. Watch twenty seconds and you'll be sucked into the world of Usman Riaz, an immensely talented 23-year-old Pakistani musician who will change your perception of how a guitar can sound and be played. What's more remarkable is that this Berklee College of Music whiz kid learned much of his dazzling guitar technique by watching YouTube videos at 16. He also learned what he calls "parlor tricks," like body percussion and harmonica. But the classically trained pianist also used the Internet to learn how to write and conduct orchestra pieces and make films.

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All Songs TV
12:36 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Eternal Summers, 'A Burial'

Eternal Summers, "A Burial"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:12 am

The band's name tells you a lot about its sound. Eternal Summers make vibrant music. But as this video for "A Burial" unfolds, a darker side of this Roanoke, Va. band's song emerges.

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