Bob Boilen

Bob Boilen appears in the following:

First Watch: Butch Walker, 'Coming Home'

Monday, November 11, 2013

"I really wanted to stay away from anything too literal in favor of something bigger, more fantastical and ethereal." And with that concept, director Olivier Agostini completely drew me into a sweet story while turning me on to Butch Walker's new video for the song "Coming Home."

Butch Walker was ...


First Listen: Public Service Broadcasting, 'Inform - Educate - Entertain'

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The goal is stated right there in the title (Inform - Educate - Entertain), and that's just what Public Service Broadcasting does. Not to be confused with the Public Broadcasting Service, the British duo makes music using clips from old British government propaganda and information films as narratives for songs ...


The Five Best Things About This Year's Mountain Oasis Festival

Friday, November 08, 2013

Late last month I witnessed the most creative music festival I know, and I'm back with some astonishing new music discoveries. The first annual Mountain Oasis festival took place in a number of venues in Asheville, N.C. the weekend before Halloween. Asheville's a city that, much like Austin, Texas or ...


Broken Bells Shares New Song, Accidentally Channels Bee Gees

Monday, November 04, 2013

There's soon to be a new album from Broken Bells — the duo of James Mercer (The Shins) and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) — and you're about to find out how it all came together.

Let me set the scene for what you're about to read (or hear): I ...


First Listen: Cate Le Bon, 'Mug Museum'

Sunday, November 03, 2013

It's amazing how quickly Cate Le Bon's new third album, Mug Museum, has come to feel like a new best friend: Just looking at the play count, I've already listened to the first two tracks a combined 40 times. Of course, new friends often remind you of old ones, ...


10 Memories Of Lou Reed

Friday, November 01, 2013

Earlier this week, after the passing of Lou Reed, we asked you to tell us what his music means to you. Here are 10 of our favorites (along with some of our favorite songs) out of the many memories we received.

"As a friend recently phrased ...


San Fermin: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, October 28, 2013

San Fermin's music bursts with ambition, talent and extreme joy. Its self-titled debut is charged with great storytelling and amazing vocals by both Allen Tate and Lucius singers Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe. Then there are the arrangements: little gems that turn these songs into cinematic vignettes using ...


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 ...