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
12:42 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Song Premiere: Kishi Bashi, 'It's Christmas, But It's Not White Here In Our Town'

Courtesy of the artist

Kishi Bashi, my favorite new artist of the year, now has a holiday song. It's such a great way to bring us back around to a musician I first discovered while sifting through 1,300 songs for the South by Southwest music festival back at the beginning of the year. We all ended up falling in love with his music.

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All Songs Considered
12:11 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Question Of The Week: When Should You Start Playing Holiday Music?

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 2:39 pm

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All Songs Considered
10:00 am
Tue November 20, 2012

First Watch: Ahleuchatistas, 'Lighted Stairs'

Ahleuchatistas
Courtney Chappell Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:51 am

I first saw this guitar and drums duo last month, in their home town of Asheville, N.C. during Moogfest. The festival is often thought of as just an electronic music festival and it does skew in that direction, but it primarily celebrates the creative souls in music and in doing so honors the spirit of electronic music pioneer Robert Moog. The sonic palette of guitarist Shane Perlowin and drummer Ryan Oslance certainly fits that description.

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All Songs Considered
1:04 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Question Of The Week: Who Controls The Music In Your House?

Dad's playing his music again and no one is happy.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:58 am

Got a question you'd like the All Songs gang to consider? Leave it in the comments below or drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

Is music part of your Thanksgiving holiday? Will you be battling dad for control of the family speakers? Or is it a war between the siblings?

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All Songs Considered
7:30 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Song Premiere: Erin McKeown, 'The Jailer'

Erin McKeown
Merri Cyr Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 1:14 pm

Erin McKeown's music is a bit hard to describe. It is music and lyrics with meaning so it makes me think, but it's also playful and so it makes me smile. I'll have another chance to hear it soon, since Erin has made a new record, called MANIFESTRA. The album, her seventh, was funded by her fan base via PledgeMusic and will be out on January 15. Today we premiere her song, "Jailer."

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All Songs Considered
6:24 am
Thu November 15, 2012

First Watch: Night Beds, 'Even If We Try'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 11:01 am

This is a languid gem of a song paired with very disturbing video. The music, "Even If We Try," is by Night Beds, the project of Winston Yellen. Yellen is a Colorado Springs musician now making his home in Nashville. In fact the songs on the debut album from Night Beds, Country Sleep, were written and partially recorded in Tennessee at the former Sycamore Homestead in Tennessee of Johnny Cash.

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All Songs Considered
5:02 am
Tue November 13, 2012

First Watch: Bjork, 'Mutual Core (Remix)'

Nick and Warren Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 11:02 am

Which thing is true?

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All Songs Considered
3:17 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

My Arena Rock Boycott Is Over

In Flight: Pete Townshend of The Who during a concert in 1975.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 8:21 am

I've seen thousands of concerts over the years but none of them, since 1978, have been in an arena. I never had that eureka moment, I just stopped going. That means for 34 years, I've passed on major, monster acts. No McCartney, no Springsteen, no U2 and no Led Zeppelin (that one hurts the most).

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All Songs Considered
2:48 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Hear The Rolling Stones' Brand New 'One More Shot'

DAVID J. PHILLIP AP/Press Association Images

From the opening chugging guitar sound, this song could only be The Rolling Stones. For the first time in seven years, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood got together to record two new songs, and you can hear "One More Shot," which was recorded in Paris with Don Was producing, right here.

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All Songs Considered
3:34 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

First Watch: People Get Ready, 'Windy Cindy'

People Get Ready.
Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:11 pm

I saw forty shows during the CMJ Music Marathon this year, and the one by the Brooklyn-based band People Get Ready was by far the most creative. Part of what I love about the band is the way its members think outside the box ... way outside the box. For brevity, I'll describe People Get Ready, led by guitarist, dancer and choreographer Steven Reker, as an indie-rock-performing-art-dance troupe. This is magical musical theater.

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All Songs Considered
4:05 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

First Watch: Ben Sollee, 'A Few Honest Words'

Ben Sollee
Magnus Lindqvist Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:12 pm

Ben Sollee is not only an unconventional cellist, but also an unconventional human being. Recently, he took his cello, walked up the long steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the mall in D.C. (along with the Mason Jar Music film crew) and began to perform. It's not legal to do that, but like I said, Ben Sollee — the guy who bikes his cello across the country — is not a follower. The following video captures the moments in the shadow of Lincoln amid a throng of tourists.

From Ben Sollee:

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Win Or Lose: Your Election Night Theme Song

Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 11:13 am

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All Songs Considered
4:10 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Watch The Creepy New Video By Mercury Prize Winners Alt-J

Alt-J flying in Delta formation
Jory Cordy Big Hassle Media

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 9:44 am

Alt-J is a quirky band that, over the past few months, has found its way to the top of my listening pile and is now my favorite album of the year. I'm not alone. Yesterday alt-J's album, An Awesome Wave, won the Mercury Prize. This choice prize for bands in Great Britain is selected by music journalists and other music business folks and often goes to underdogs. This year is no exception.

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All Songs Considered
10:20 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Song Premiere: Pere Ubu, 'Free White'

Pere Ubu
Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 6:32 pm

Pere Ubu made some of the darkest and most creative music of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Thirty five years after its release, The Modern Dance would easily make my top 10 of all time. We hear the word "industrial" bandied about to describe music — The Modern Dance exemplified that genre.

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All Songs Considered
11:12 am
Thu November 1, 2012

First Watch: Walk Off The Earth, 'Red Hands'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:28 pm

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for a confetti cannon. But even more so, I love it when visuals draw me into a song. It doesn't happen often, but this video for the song "Red Hands" by Walk Off The Earth had me scratching my head wondering how it was done while it kept me smiling at the same time.

It's not the first time this band has made me smile. Earlier this year this Canadian band gathered round a single acoustic guitar and recorded themselves playing a cover version of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" that has now been watched 138 million times.

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All Songs Considered
4:30 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Dear Dad: I'm Sorry I Blew Out Your Nice Stereo Speakers

I think we can all agree that he deserves at least a little bit of the blame: Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer on stage with his Moog synthesizer.
Ed Perlstein Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 11:36 am

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All Songs Considered
12:58 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day Four

Performers in People Get Ready's Specific Ocean at New York Live Arts.
Ian Douglas Courtesy of the artist

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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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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
10:48 am
Tue October 9, 2012

RSVP Now: Flying Lotus, Death Grips, Buke & Gase And More In NYC

Flying Lotus, Death Grips and Buke & Gase.

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:51 am

Here's a pretty incredible night of music: Flying Lotus, Death Grips and (we're happy to announce) Buke & Gase, all on one stage at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC. It's also your chance to meet us. NPR Music is coming together with WNYC's Soundcheck during the CMJ Music Marathon for this show on Wednesday, Oct.

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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
2:48 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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All Songs Considered Blog
2:20 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Watch A Gorgeous New Animated Video For Wilco's 'Sunloathe'

'Sunloathe' from Wilco, with illustrations by Nathaniel Murphy
Nathaniel Murphy youtube

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 9:08 am

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