Bob Boilen

Bob Boilen appears in the following:

First Listen: Midlake, 'Antiphon'

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Midlake does grand the way Pink Floyd did. The Denton, Texas, band's members have big ideas and a sound that feels like a massive orchestra, with arrangements that build and unfold. All of this is done with more rock and less folk, yet still a timeless style. It ...


Question Of The Week: What Does Lou Reed's Music Mean To You?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

At the dawn of FM radio, sometime around the fall of 1967, I remember sitting on my stoop in Queens, N.Y., when a neighbor told me he heard this band called the Velvet Underground. I'd never heard of them, but loved the band name, and was fortunate enough to ...


Typhoon: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The appropriately named Typhoon is a sprawling band with an epic sound. The group from Portland, Ore. crafts rock anthems like emotional tidal waves, propelled by the stories of frontman Kyle Morton. His deeply personal tales are often full of grief and loss. But just as often they ...


Question Of The Week: Are Concerts Too Loud?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Earlier this week we posted a poll asking whether you think concerts have gotten too loud, and whether you've started wearing earplugs at shows. After a week of voting, the results are in, and respondents have what seems to be a pretty clear message to clubs and concert venues: Turn ...


The Arcade Fire Album Is Here To Hear

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Arcade Fire just released its entire album Reflecktor on YouTube. And it's basically one, big 85-minute lyric video. The album is officially out October 29.

NPR Music will broadcast a special live performance by the band the night before the album release date, from Capitol Studios in ...


Bill Callahan Sings 'Small Plane' In A Serene City

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When we first approached Bill Callahan to do a Field Recording in New York City, we asked him if he had any special place in mind. His reply surprised me: "A community garden." I guess I'd stereotyped him in my head, because after all those years of dark, thoughtful ...


Watch Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Ariel Pink And Friends Jam On A Train

Monday, September 09, 2013

It's not so easy standing on a moving train and playing the guitar. But that's exactly what Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and drummer John Moloney did, along with the singer Ariel Pink and some of his friends, while winding through the Great Allegheny Passage. Their performance is part of an ...


All Aboard A Magical Mystery Train

Sunday, September 08, 2013

What happens when you fill nine train cars with noisemaking musicians Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Japan's The Boredoms, LA's fuzzed-out Ariel Pink and more?

I'm about to find out.

Doug Aitken is the mastermind. He gathered a team of creatives for ...


Bombino: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, September 07, 2013

There's something alluring and charming about Bombino, whose childlike face belies his fierce, hypnotic guitar playing. The first time I saw him perform, I found myself screaming his name at the end of every song — partly to praise his amazing jams, but also as an exercise in bonding. ...


Dancing Vegetables, Singing Ground Beef: TMBG's Old-School Video

Thursday, September 05, 2013

They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh and John Linnell have just delivered an old-school video — think "early days of MTV" — and it's a pleasure to see. Over the course of 16 albums, the two Johns (first as a duo and later as bandleaders) have always kept humor ...


Anna Von Hausswolff Finds A Pipe Organ In New York City

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

One of my most surprising discoveries of 2013 is an artfully poppy pipe-organ record called Ceremony, by Swedish singer Anna von Hausswolff. Though she doesn't consider herself an accomplished pipe organist, von Hausswolff quickly learned the instrument's power, as well as some of its subtleties.

When we learned that von ...


Baths: Tiny Desk Concert

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Baths, a.k.a. Will Wiesenfeld, plays mysterious and textured electronic music. When Wiesenfeld came to the Tiny Desk, I expected contemplative tones and a laid-back performance; he does, after all, call his project Baths. But what sets him apart from the vast majority of like-minded performers is that his music ...


First Watch: Zola Jesus, 'Fall Back'

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I suppose it would be natural, if you grew up relatively isolated in a Wisconsin forest, to find yourself fascinated by cities. And so it is for the 24-year-old Russian-American singer Nika Roza Danilova, best known as Zola Jesus. In the video for her song "Fall Back," from the new ...


Hear How A Song Takes Shape

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Did you want to hear how a song evolves? How a single spark of inspiration transforms into words and then melody and finally a fully produced complex production?

Jordon Gieger, known by the moniker Hospital Ships, has unveiled his journey as a songwriter for us. "Desolation Waltz" is ...


The Front Bottoms: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, August 19, 2013

When I first saw The Front Bottoms, I was stunned to see 350-plus singing, shouting club-goers repeat verse after complicated verse back at singer Brian Sella. Then it happened again at a hot, sweaty club in Philadelphia, and later in D.C., and then again in Baltimore. The community that's ...


First Listen: Typhoon, 'White Lighter'

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Underneath Typhoon's booming sound and dark lyrics lies a sincere appreciation for the gift of life. After spending his childhood battling a serious illness, Kyle Morton writes songs ...


First Watch: The Orwells, 'Who Needs You'

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"They look like the kids from Stand By Me or an old Norman Rockwell painting canted a few degrees," director Eddie O'Keefe says of the teenaged Chicago garage-rock group The Orwells. "I wanted to capture that aspect of the band in a video." The Orwells' new song, "Who Needs You," ...


The Old Tiny Desk Gets Demolished

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The old NPR building is gone for good. In particular, the last part of the building where our first 277 Tiny Desk Concerts were held is gone — the place where folks like the late Vic Chesnutt brought us nearly to tears, Macklemore punched the ceiling tiles ...


First Listen: Pond, 'Hobo Rocket'

Sunday, July 28, 2013

From Ty Segall to Tame Impala to Pond, psychedelic riff-rock is in the midst of a major renaissance. It helps that many of its practitioners are prolific and, in some cases, related to each other: Tame Impala and Pond share three members. (Both groups are based in Perth, ...


Guards: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, July 22, 2013

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 ...