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
3:36 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

All Songs +1: 'Baltimore'

When we asked listeners to tell us about a song they turned to this week — one that spoke in some way to weighty events unfolding around the world and how they felt — we weren't sure what we'd get. Would it be mostly songs of solace? Songs of grief, or anger?

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All Songs Considered
12:56 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Why We Like Falsetto, Why Melodies Matter And Other Musical Wonders

Top row: Audience members rate the music during our All Songs Considered listening party. Bottom row, left to right: Susan Rogers, Bob Boilen, Amelia Mason, James Reed, Stephen Thompson.
NPR

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 3:53 pm

Why do we like falsetto so much? Why is melody the single most important part of a song? And why does country music move (or repel) us? These are just a few of the questions that popped up during our All Songs Considered listening party in Boston last week.

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All Songs Considered
11:55 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Come To A Screening of 'Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)'

Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat in 1983.
Jim Saah Courtesy of the artist

For a solid decade, Washington, D.C. was firmly on the map as the punk capital of the nation. During the 1980s, you could see Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Scream, Fugazi and Mission Impossible (featuring a 16-year-old Dave Grohl) in DIY spaces all over town. And what made it vital and game changing was that do-it-yourself ethos: no corporate anything, no major labels, just kids burning with energy, rage and creativity.

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All Songs Considered
2:25 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

All Songs Considered: Hear Brand New My Morning Jacket, More

Clockwise from upper left: My Morning Jacket, Sharon Van Etten, Matt Pond PA, Desaparecidos
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 10:18 am

On today's All Songs Considered, we're hitting you with several premieres, beginning a heavy cut from My Morning Jacket's latest studio album, The Waterfall. On "Believe (Nobody Knows)," front man Jim James seeks meaning and truth in an uncertain world, while hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton consider a life of possibilities.

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All Songs Considered
1:15 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

All Songs +1: Our Record Store Day Must-Haves

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 3:37 pm

Record Store Day is that magical day each spring (this year it's Saturday, April 18) when geeks like us line up outside their favorite music shops to get their hands on a bunch of vinyl exclusives. These are the albums, EPs and singles bands and labels put out just to celebrate the day.

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All Songs Considered
11:56 am
Thu April 16, 2015

Highasakite, 'Heavenly Father'

Norwegian band Highasakite covers Bon Iver's "Heavenly Father."
Aleksander Jason Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 1:38 pm

When Bon Iver's Justin Vernon saw Norway's Highasakite perform at the 2012 Oya Festival in Oslo, he fell in love. Soon the two bands were touring together. Now the only band I know that tours with a flugabone has taken one of Vernon's songs and made it even more majestic than the original.

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All Songs Considered
4:23 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Songs We Love: Algiers, 'Black Eunuch'

Algiers' self-titled debut album is out June 2.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 1:43 pm

If I had to pick one new band that you should absolutely listen to, it's Algiers, three young men who grew up in Atlanta. Sonically, they make really eerie gospel music that's a rock-inspired amalgamation of all different stuff. In "Black Eunuch," you can hear the sounds of both black and white churches of the South and great guitars. Though they now live in London and New York, their roots are definitely southern based and their lyrics deal with the conservative politics of where they grew up. I've never seen them before and they're completely new to me.

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All Songs Considered
1:41 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

New Mix: Built To Spill, The Milk Carton Kids, Brown Bird, Protomartyr

Clockwise from upper left: Built To Spill, Brown Bird, Holly Miranda, The Milk Carton Kids
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 2:50 pm

Idaho's Built to Spill were one of the most beloved rock acts of the '90s and now the indie rock pioneers are back with a new rhythm section and the band's first album since 2009. This week on All Songs Considered, we bring you a new track from upcoming album Untethered Moon, which you can hear in its entirety on First Listen.

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All Songs Considered
10:30 am
Thu April 2, 2015

All Songs At 15: The Civil Wars' Tiny Desk Concert

The Civil Wars perform at NPR headquarters in Washington, DC for a Tiny Desk Concert on Thursday, May 12, 2011.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

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All Songs Considered
10:22 am
Tue March 3, 2015

TV On The Radio, Stromae & Courtney Barnett To Play NPR Music's SXSW Showcase

Clockwise from upper left: Shamir, TV On The Radio, Boogie, Courtney Barnett, Stromae
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 3:32 pm

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