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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Music
9:24 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Emma Ruth Rundle, 'Arms I Know So Well'

Emma Ruth Rundle.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 11:08 am

This is debut music from the ethereal performer Emma Ruth Rundle. The video for "Arms I Know So Well" is a beautiful portrayal of solitude and living with one's self, directed by Thomas McMahan. "Arms I Know So Well" is from her first album, called Some Heavy Ocean. She and her band Marriages is currently on tour with Boris. Tour dates are below.

MARRIAGES – ON TOUR

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All Songs TV
9:28 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Sleepy Kitty, 'Don't You Start'

An image from Sleepy Kitty's "Don't You Start" video
Bill Streeter Courtesy of the band

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 12:05 pm

Look! It's a band! It's a screen-printing project! No, it's Sleepy Kitty! Watch this St. Louis duo make art punk fun and a very inky animation for the song "Don't You Start," cut two from Sleepy Kitty's 2014 album, Projection Room.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:27 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Bob Mould: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Bob Mould on June 16, 2014.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

Bob Mould came alone, except for his 1987 Lake Placid Blue Fender Stratocaster. We provided the Epiphone Blues Custom 30 amp, which he promptly cranked. Needless to say, he announced his own Tiny Desk Concert without using the paging system.

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Field Recordings
11:06 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Tweedy And Son Take To The Tunnels, Friends In Tow

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 2:38 pm

As its name suggests, Tweedy is a new band featuring Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and his 18-year-old son and drummer Spencer. Tweedy recently recorded an album together, out Sept. 23, titled Sukierae. (It's pronounced sue-key-ray.)

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:16 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

The Family Crest: Tiny Desk Concert

The Family Crest performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

There's a decent chance you're about to discover your favorite new band. Based in San Francisco and led by Liam McCormick, The Family Crest builds its songs from a combination of infectious enthusiasm and powerful talent. The group owes its huge sound not just to its seven members, but to the community that records and plays with them. Eighty people are credited on The Family Crest's first album, Beneath the Brine.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:51 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Saintseneca: Tiny Desk Concert

Saintseneca performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Olivia Merrion NPR

Originally published on

One of the many instruments you may hear Saintseneca play — beyond the banjo, baglama, bulbul, balalaika, bowed banjo, baritone ukulele, bass and bouzouki — is a stomp box. Basically, it's a roughly 2'x2' plywood floorboard meant for pounding the beat. At a show just before this Tiny Desk Concert, craftily bearded singer Zac Little put his boot right through that floorboard.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:15 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Highasakite: Tiny Desk Concert

Highasakite performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Olivia Merrion NPR

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 3:37 pm

My first time seeing this Norwegian band was at a fairly soulless convention center in Austin, Texas. They transformed that big, open room into an intimate affair. So having them perform at the Tiny Desk, an already intimate space, was a thrill. It was also the first appearance of a flugabone here. Kristoffer Lo plays that mournful horn and Ingrid Helene Håvik compliments the yearning with words that are mysterious, somewhat dark and contain surprising twists.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:39 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Hamilton Leithauser: Tiny Desk Concert

Hamilton Leithauser performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Olivia Merrion NPR

This is the second time Hamilton Leithauser has graced the Tiny Desk. Two summers ago, he and his band The Walkmen played a powerful set of songs from their final album for now, Heaven.

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All Songs TV
11:14 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Benjamin Booker, 'Have You Seen My Son?'

YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 2:36 pm

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All Songs TV
10:05 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Tiny Ruins, 'Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens'

Tiny Ruins, 'Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens'
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 2:37 pm

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