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
9:12 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Song Premiere: An Unlikely Collaboration From Cat Power And Coldplay

Wish I Was Here
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 9:51 am

It seems the unlikeliest of collaborations: Cat Power, a American songwriter and singer who can be quiet and somewhat insular, and Coldplay, now a veteran band from London that is immensely popular, confident and bold. And still, what happens in this recording, the title track for the film Wish I Was Here, feels so right.

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All Songs Considered
9:11 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Song Premiere: Bon Iver Writes A Tune For Zach Braff

The soundtrack album art for the film "Wish I Was Here"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 2:51 pm

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All Songs Considered
9:43 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Guess Monday's Mystery Song Premiere

NPR

On Monday at noon we're premiering a brand-new song from an artist we love. Until then, we're leaving you this puzzle to ponder: Who is Monday's Mystery Musician?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

All Songs Considered
12:35 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A Catchy Synth-Pop 'Summer Jam' From Grimes

Claire Boucher, aka Grimes
Mac Boucher Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 1:04 pm

Claire Boucher, best known as Grimes, has a new song. It's the first new music we've heard from Grimes since she made a lot of noise with her album Visions in 2012. In a press release, she calls the new song, "Go," which features Michael Diamond, a 22-year-old L.A.

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Tue June 24, 2014

The Making Of OK Go's 'The Writing's On The Wall' Video

A behind-the-scenes look at OK Go making their video "The Writing's on the Wall."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:39 am

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All Songs Considered
10:02 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Song Premiere: Robert Plant's Bold New Band

Robert Plant and his new band The Sensational Space Shifters.
Frank Melfi Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:09 am

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All Songs Considered
7:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Song Premiere: Sylvan Esso Mixes It Up With Grouplove

Grouplove is (clockwise from left) Andrew Wessen, Ryan Rabin, Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper.
Joseph Ilanes Courtesy of the artist

Sylvan Esso, some of the brightest new makers of music this year, have just remixed "I'm With You," the leadoff track from Grouplove's 2013 album Spreading Rumors. What Sylvan Esso's electronic wiz Nick Sanborn has done to the song is transformative.

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All Songs Considered
8:54 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Song Premiere: The Shins And Zach Braff Reunite

The soundtrack album art for the film "Wish I Was Here"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 2:51 pm

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All Songs Considered
3:45 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Sole Of A Band, June 19

Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on

Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.

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All Songs Considered
12:38 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Song Premiere: alt-J, 'Hunger Of The Pine'

alt-J, from left: Thom Green, Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton.
Gabriel Green Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 2:21 pm

In 2012, alt-J made its debut with An Awesome Wave, and every one of those 13 songs would slay me. Now the band has returned with another shifting and intrepid sonic adventure, "Hunger of the Pine," which will appear on alt-J's second album, This Is All Yours, out on Sept. 22.

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All Songs Considered
6:52 am
Thu June 5, 2014

After Learning To Loosen Up, Spoon Readies Its Return: The All Songs Interview

Spoon.
Tom Hines Courtesy Of The Artist

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 8:30 am

Spoon's first album in four years is called They Want My Soul. It won't be released until Aug. 5, but frontman Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno recently joined All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton to play some of the record and share the stories behind it. You can hear the full interview using the link above, or read edited highlights below.

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All Songs Considered
12:07 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Sole Of A Band, May 22

To what musician do these sparkly boots belong?
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 12:31 pm

Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.

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All Songs Considered
2:03 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 10:29 am

  • Listen To Jack White On All Songs

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All Songs Considered
9:02 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Hear A Song From 'Fuego,' The First New Phish Album In 5 Years

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 10:55 am

It's been almost five years since Phish had a new album of songs. Today, we're happy to announce that Fuego, the band's twelfth studio album, will be out on June 24. That's the album cover above. The album's ten songs were premiered live by the band on Halloween 2013 in Atlantic City, N.J.

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All Songs Considered
9:03 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Bob Dylan Covers A Classic Tune

Courtesy of the artist

A new Bob Dylan recording popped up on his site just now. You have to go there to hear it — it's a version of the classic 1945 song, "Full Moon and Empty Arms." The tune is written by Buddy Kaye — known for writing hits for Sinatra, Ella and Elvis — and Ted Mossman, and based on Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Sat May 10, 2014

Bob's Rainbows: May 10, 2014

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. as part of the birthday celebration for Big Tony of Trouble Funk.
Kyle Gustafson Washington Post/Getty images

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 9:55 am

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All Songs Considered
8:02 am
Sat May 3, 2014

Bob's Rainbows: May 3, 2014

Future Islands at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC.
Photo by Zac Visco for NPR NPR

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All Songs Considered
8:11 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Bob Boilen's Weekly Rainbows

Young Fathers at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C.
Bob Boilen NPR

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All Songs Considered
9:33 am
Thu April 24, 2014

The Sole Of A Band, April 24

To what musician do these very fashionable shoes belong?
Rich Fury

Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.

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All Songs Considered
9:14 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Bob Boilen's Weekly Rainbows

You sent us your soles!
Various for NPR

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All Songs Considered
2:24 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Photos Needed: We Want Your Sole

We Want Your Sole!
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 8:34 am

Our new puzzler "Sole Of A Band" mixes music with fashion by asking you to match music with a picture of an artist's shoes. I started the puzzler because I noticed that so often I could tell something about the music a person was playing by the shoes I saw them wearing.

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All Songs Considered
7:25 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Song Premiere: José James, 'EveryLittleThing'

Singer José James
Blue Note Records

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 8:31 am

Singer José James has a new album coming out on June 10 and you can tell from this song, "EveryLittleThing," the new record, While You Were Sleeping, is an electrifying new sound. He made a similar shift in style on a record well loved here at NPR in 2013, No Beginning No End. That record saw James shift his jazzy voice toward hip-hop.

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All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Sat April 12, 2014

Bob Boilen's Weekly Rainbows

Kraftwerk at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. The band continues to break new ground in concert visuals.
Bob Boilen NPR

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All Songs Considered
12:27 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

NPR Music Nominated For Three Webby Awards

OK Go helped us us move our office across town. You can help us win a Webby for the video we shot.
Lizzie Chen NPR

NPR Music has been nominated for many Webby Awards over the years (and even won a few), but we've rarely reached out and asked you to vote for us when we are. This year, the Webbys' eighteenth, we're particularly proud of our nominations.

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All Songs Considered
1:26 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

The Sole Of A Band, April 9

Bob Boilen NPR

Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Thu April 3, 2014

The Sole Of A Band, April 3

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:32 am

Baggy pants make different music than skinny jeans. Cowboy hats sound different than fedoras. T-shirt-and-jeans bands make a different noise than suit-and-tie bands. You can often look at a band's clothing and have a pretty good idea what it'll sound like.

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All Songs Considered
1:12 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Question Of The Week: Which Recent Album Will Hold Up The Best?

James Blake has a sound that draws on the past, but also points to the future. His most recent album is called Overgrown.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 5:04 pm

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All Songs Considered
9:23 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Bob Boilen's Weekly Rainbows

Colin Stetson at Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 12:10 pm

Every week I hear something amazing, see something inspiring and want to pass it on. These events are sometimes fleeting, sometimes iconic, but they stop me in my tracks. Bob's Rainbows is the place where I'll highlight the very best of my weekly music intake. [Editor's note: Why rainbows? They're the only naturally occurring phenomenon that can make Bob take his headphones off.]

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All Songs Considered
10:03 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Neil Young Wants You To Truly Hear Music

Neil Young in conversation with NPR's Bob Boilen.
A.J. Wilhelm for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:47 am

Neil Young wants you to truly hear the music you listen to. Over the years, the trend in audio has prioritized convenience over quality. Last week at SXSW, I had a conversation with Neil Young about an idea he has to change that trend. In this interview, he talks about Pono, the new audio player he's been helping develop. Just before the interview, I spent time listening to Pono. It's impressive.

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All Songs Considered
10:44 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Hear Neil Young Explain His Pono Music Player At SXSW

Neil Young speaks about Pono, his new high-quality digital audio system, at SXSW.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 6:46 am

Neil Young wants to start a revolution against the MP3, against the CD, poorly made vinyl and poor audio quality in general. He wants people to hear the music the way it was made.

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