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 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.


All Songs TV
11:36 am
Wed April 23, 2014

tUnE-yArDs, 'Water Fountain'

A still from the video for tUnE-yArDs' new song, "Water Fountain."

All Songs TV
10:33 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Black Prairie, 'Let It Out'

Black Prairie visit a taxidermist
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:19 pm

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All Songs TV
9:41 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Diane Coffee, 'All The Young Girls'

Diane Coffee
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:48 am

Diane Coffee is the solo project of Shaun Fleming, a musician who has been a child voice actor for Disney and the drummer in Foxygen with his friends Jonathan Rado and Sam France. Under the name Diane Coffee, Shaun Fleming is also an outrageously dolled up performer. "All The Young Girls" is from the band's 2013 album My Friend Fish.

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First Listen
10:06 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

First Listen: Nels Cline Singers, 'Macroscope'

Nels Cline Singers' new album, Macroscope, comes out April 29.
Mimi Chakarova Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:34 am

Nels Cline is a gateway drug in the best of ways. He's known as the guitar player for one of America's best bands, Wilco. His crazy performances, filled with static shrieking and string bending, have led fans to the other side of music. It's a style that interweaves jazz, progressive rock and noise.

Nels Cline started doing all of this long before joining Wilco, and continues it these days with his own project, The Nels Cline Singers, a group that actually has no singers. They are instrumental travelers.

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All Songs Considered
10:14 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Bob Boilen's Weekly Rainbows

You sent us your soles!
Various for NPR

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