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
10:18 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Why I've Never Liked Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 7:45 pm

It has happened over and over again in the past few years. Someone in their 20s tells me how much they love Fleetwood Mac, and in particular its monster-selling album Rumours. My reaction is always the same. Their reaction is invariably deep surprise. I could never stand that record.

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All Songs Considered
11:32 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Watch The 1950s Get Its Mind Blown

YouTube

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 10:16 pm

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All Songs Considered
11:55 am
Sat January 19, 2013

They Sing, He Draws

Michael Arthur's drawing of the Balkan brass band Mucca Pazza, made during a show at Joe's Pub in New York.
Michael Arthur

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 8:47 am

These stunning images above were all drawn in real time. These were not sketched in pencil first. No photographs were taken to freeze the frenzy that may have ensued on stage during globalFEST 2013, the annual one-night, dozen-band showcase of great up-and-coming musicians from around the world at New York City's Webster Hall last weekend.

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All Songs Considered
1:28 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Discoveries From globalFEST 2013

Ebru Yildiz for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 2:35 pm

Every January for the past decade a dozen or more bands from around the world have gathered in New York City for globalFEST - one long, frenzied night of live music showcasing the diverse cultures, histories and numerous sonic branches of "World Music." This year's lineup included Zimbabwe legend Oliver Mtukudzi and his band The Black Spirits, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, Chicago's wildly exuberant marching band Mucca Pazza, and much, much more.

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All Songs Considered
6:34 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

Song Premiere: The Besnard Lakes, 'People Of The Sticks'

Photographer: Richmond Lam

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 10:26 am

The Besnard Lakes have a new album coming out in April, and after hearing the song "People Of The Sticks," it's safe to say we're in for another soaringly gorgeous record from the Canadian rock group.

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Live in Concert
1:22 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

David Byrne & St. Vincent In Concert

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 9:39 pm

Last year's collaboration between St. Vincent (Annie Clarke) and David Bryne was surprising on many levels. The album they wrote and recorded together, Love This Giant, is inspired and artful, if not as immediately accessible as some of the solo work each of them has made in the past. On stage, performed live at the Strathmore music hall in Bethesda, MD, the songs found their heart and soul.

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All Songs Considered
11:28 am
Tue January 8, 2013

There's A Brand New David Bowie Song

David Bowie's 30th studio album, The Next Day, will come out on March 12.
Jimmy King Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 8:36 am

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:16 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Lucius: Tiny Desk Concert

Lucius Tiny Desk Concert
Lauren Rock NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:45 pm

We brought Lucius to the Tiny Desk because I fell in love with one joyous, catchy song: "Don't Just Sit There." That's all I had to go on — I'd never seen the group live — and though I expected fun, we also got fabulous. Not only are Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig a winning singing duo, but their charisma and charm helps turn good pop songwriting into an endearing performance.

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All Songs Considered
10:33 am
Thu January 3, 2013

First Watch: Angel Olsen's 'Tiniest Seed' In 16mm

Angel Olsen from the film 'Tiniest Seed'
Pitch Perfect PR

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 6:36 pm

"A transatlantic collaboration between four friends. Two songs were written and recorded in Chicago and then sent to Vienna. There they were translated into a film score."

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Best Music Of 2012
6:17 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Bob Boilen's 243 Favorite Concerts Of 2012

INTERACTIVE: BOB BOILEN'S WRISTBANDS 2012 - Wristbands, ticket stubs and badges from a few of the hundreds of shows Bob Boilen saw in 2012." href="/post/bob-boilens-243-favorite-concerts-2012" class="noexit lightbox">
INTERACTIVE: BOB BOILEN'S WRISTBANDS 2012 - Wristbands, ticket stubs and badges from a few of the hundreds of shows Bob Boilen saw in 2012.
Lauren Rock NPR

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 8:43 am

What a brilliant year for live music 2012 was. And I saw an awful lot of it: 462 performances, by my count. I know that sounds insane — more concerts than days in a year. Many of those were full concerts, but sometimes at music festivals I'd run from club to club or stage to stage just to catch a song or two. It's all part of a quest to find new music and hear new talent. Even a short taste helps me know whether I need to pay attention to a burgeoning band or whether a classic act seems to give a damn anymore.

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