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
2:53 pm
Sat July 27, 2013

Guards: Tiny Desk Concert

Guards performs a Tiny Desk Concert in June 2013.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:21 pm

Guards' music captures the pop sound of the late '50s and early '60s, but with more power and polish. It's hard not to hear a bit of Buddy Holly's melody and spirit — think 1958's "Rave On" — when you hear Guards play "Silver Lining," the first song in this Tiny Desk Concert.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
10:53 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Alice Russell: Tiny Desk Concert

Alice Russell performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 9, 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:22 pm

There's nothing restrained about an Alice Russell performance: It's emotionally fiery from the start and just gets hotter and grittier — especially when she's singing "To Dust," the title track from her first new solo album in almost five years.

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All Songs Considered
11:00 am
Tue July 9, 2013

The Best Concert-Finding Mobile Apps

Courtesy of BandMate

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 9:37 am

A few months ago, I reviewed a handful of new apps that show you which bands or artists are playing in your area. Some of those apps were hit-or-miss, and some have made some improvements since my initial review. This week All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton and I have pared the list of apps down to our two favorites. (You can hear us talk about it on the weekly series All Tech Considered.)

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:56 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Skinny Lister: Tiny Desk Concert

Skinny Lister performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
Lizzie Chen NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:23 pm

I wish I could say I first found Skinny Lister in a pub some late evening while folks were dancing on the tables. I trust that that happens, but my unforgettable experience with this kick-ass English folk-punk band was at a hotel lobby in midday, in the midst of a sober crowd in Austin, Texas.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:08 pm
Sun July 7, 2013

Cheick Hamala Diabate: Tiny Desk Concert

Cheick Hamala Diabate performs a Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices.
NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:23 pm

There was an awful lot of dancing going on the first time I stumbled upon the music of Cheick Hamala Diabate. On the dance floor at U Street's Tropicalia that night was a rich cross-section of D.C. life, all entranced by the music of Mali.

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All Songs Considered
5:39 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Question Of The Week: Who Is The Most Intense Performer You've Ever Seen?

Deafheaven's George Clarke at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, DC
Bob Boilen Bob

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 6:53 am

Last night I witnessed an intense and commanding performance. The band was Deafheaven and lead singer George Clarke kept me riveted. Here's what it looked like captured by my phone:

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:45 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Maya Beiser: Tiny Desk Concert

Maya Beiser performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 9, 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:25 pm

Maya Beiser's Twitter handle — @CelloGoddess — says it all. She's a brilliant cellist with a stunning command of her instrument, and she's tightly tied to technology. Beiser takes the sound of her cello and runs it through loop pedals, effects and other electronics to make her instrument shimmer, drone and groove. Then there's her magnificent sense of melody.

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All Songs Considered
9:16 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Hear The Pixies' First Original Song In Nine Years

Courtesy of the artsit

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 2:48 pm

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All Songs Considered
8:11 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Watch The David Lynch-Directed Nine Inch Nails Video

David Lynch.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 2:47 pm

Sixteen years after collaborating on the Lost Highway soundtrack, David Lynch and Trent Reznor are back together. The always eerie Lynch oversaw the video for Nine Inch Nails' first single in five years, "Came Back Haunted," which was posted early Friday morning.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:07 pm
Sat June 22, 2013

Billy Bragg: Tiny Desk Concert

Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:26 pm

OK Go helped us move the Tiny Desk from our old building to NPR's new headquarters, and The National performed the first full new-building Tiny Desk Concert we posted to the site, but Billy Bragg gave us the first full Tiny Desk Concert

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