All Songs Considered | WGLT

All Songs Considered

Saturdays at 7 p.m.

All Songs Considered started in 2000. It was inspired and first featured music heard on NPR's daily news show All Things Considered. Bob Boilen directed that program and chose the music for 19 years.

All Songs Considered started as a multimedia program for the first few years with slides and music. It quickly developed as a weekly show with music from many genres and focusing on a burgeoning independent rock scene. That's still a primary focus of the show.

For the first 10 years, Bob Boilen was the host and many shows with guests. These days producer Robin Hilton co-hosts the show with Bob.

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Over the last few weeks, we've been sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. We recently extended our deadline for entries: You now have until until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 27 to enter the Contest.

One silver lining during this isolated reality is that new music is flowing like wine these days. Some artists are moving up album release dates while others are previewing long-held tracks on Instagram Live, Twitter and Soundcloud. Like many things we used to take for granted, the need for good music has never felt more urgent and we're indebted to these creatives who are getting the itch to share.

When the Tiny Desk Contest team is looking through entry videos, we're often impressed by where artists take us. This year, for example, we've already seen a brass band performing in a forest (using a redwood stump as a desk), a small orchestra stuffed into an office space and a lot of plants.

Mental escapes can take many different forms — settling deep into a calming meditation, binging Netflix's Tiger King in one chaotic seven-hour sitting — but for me, borderless music exploration always conjures up the type of daydreams and adventures my brain really wraps itself around.

This is the most engaging song by Bob Dylan I've heard in decades. As someone who grew up in the era of President Kennedy's assassination, the portrait Dylan paints in "Murder Most Foul" is extraordinary, and takes me back to those days, to my memories of a nation overwhelmed by grief. There's something eerie about this song coming out at this precise moment.

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. We recently extended our deadline for entries: You now have until until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 27 to enter the Contest.

"Nothing to be done."

Estragon's opening line from Waiting for Godot has been spooling around like a tape loop, decaying yet cacophonous, in my head all week. Revisiting a dog-eared copy from high school, Samuel Beckett's play reads like the same piece of music played in two noise-canceled rooms — we the audience experience a melody waver in discord, briefly align, turn out of sorts, and on and on.

When parts of your world seem unfathomable, music always makes sense. Whether it's a comeback from a dark horse R&B crooner, a surprise drop from a storied rap rule-breaker, a subtle warning from a blossoming soul protege or some island-sourced reggae fire, the songs that take us out of reality for a few minutes at a time are more necessary now than ever.

The 2020 Tiny Desk Contest is still underway. Along with supporting unsigned independent musicians all across the country, we've been reaching out to those musicians who had high hopes of performing at the SXSW Music Festival and are now unable to do that.

In a week of news updates on COVID-19, social distancing and looming uncertainty, music serves a unique purpose right now. Music has the power to soothe, amplify and excavate our emotions.

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. You can enter the Contest until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30.

You know those scenes in horror movies when some creep (who, of course, turns out to be a skull-sucking monster from hell) opens its mouth wider than it should? With jaw unhinged, Code Orange's Underneath, out Friday, devours a body of extreme sounds — sludge, noise, metallic hardcore, doom, grunge, industrial and whatever else it takes to make the mosh pit swarm — to make uncompromisingly chaotic metal.

After years of simultaneously trendsetting and meandering in a creative purgatory, Lil Uzi Vert finally unleashed his sophomore album last Friday.

For the past six years, NPR Music has held an annual competition to find the best undiscovered artist to come play at Bob Boilen's desk and tour the country with NPR Music. We call it the Tiny Desk Contest. Our five winners submitted videos that stopped us in our tracks and have gone on to do great things, like touring the world and winning Grammy awards. We've included their winning songs, plus other tracks of theirs that we love, on this playlist.

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. There's still time to enter: We're accepting videos until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30. You can watch a playlist of all the entries we've featured on the blog on YouTube.

I don't know how or when it happened, but it's really March, y'all. That means it's time to wipe the crust out of your eyes (with a tissue) and flip the switch from autopilot. The winter thaw is coming and Q2 is well on its way.

When I can't wrap my head around a piece of music — be it a monstrous orchestral work, twisted death metal or skittering electronics — I reframe the abstract in terms of visual art or dance. What is the movement of the music? How would the sonic shapes translate to a canvas or to the jumping, stretching and gyrating contours of the human body?

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. You can enter the Contest until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30. You can watch a playlist of all the entries we've featured on the blog on YouTube.

Elyse Weinberg, a late '60s singer-songwriter and guitarist once lost to time and later rediscovered by crate-diggers, died Feb. 20 in Ashland, Ore., after battling lung cancer. The news was confirmed to NPR through both her label, Numero Group, and close friend, Satya Alcorn. She was 74.

There's an unexpected jolt of energy that comes with getting caught up — whether you're ready for it or not. This week's selects run the gamet of what it means to get caught up — in the feeling of new love, in the pressure of perception, in the grips of temptation or in the cycle of the same old bulls***.

You know what it is. Stream this week's Heat Check playlist via Spotify and Apple Music.


In 2014, we created a music contest in hopes of discovering unknown artists we otherwise might not get to hear. Each year since, thousands of unsigned musicians from across the country have sent us videos of themselves performing their original songs in true NPR Music fashion: behind a desk. Our winner gets to play a Tiny Desk concert and then goes on a victory tour of sorts with NPR Music. We call it the Tiny Desk Contest.

What better way to spend a beautifully sunny, long weekend than indoors on a liquid diet watching movies in a fever-induced haze? (Mashed potatoes and gravy count as liquid, right?) Between comfort viewings of Bob's Burgers and King of the Hill, I caught up on my queue.

You ever been to a party and, for some reason, it's hard to get a handle on the vibe of the room? I'm not talking about the visual representation of who's there (or who's not), but more the collective energy surging through the space is just ... off.

It's taken me a few years, but through my vast research, I've concluded that eight times out of 1o, this amorphous feeling is a consequence of the DJ switching up their music selection too quickly. You can always spot a rookie DJ by an ill-timed switch up. You gotta be able to transition accordingly.

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Last week, we launched the sixth Tiny Desk Contest, our annual search for great, undiscovered musical talent.

It's not too late to make a musical resolution for 2020, right?

No, I'm not planning to spend any diaper money on rare 7-inches, or develop an unhealthy effects pedal habit. But I do need to get outside my musical comfort zone — and I want to get into calypso music.

Starting today, NPR Music is accepting entries to the 2020 Tiny Desk Contest. You can now submit your video via our website. We'll be accepting entries through March 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the United States. You can't currently have a record deal.

This is not a drill: Heat Check is back! After a short hiatus and some stellar, late-breaking 2019 releases, Heat Check has returned to recap you on the world of experimental R&B, hip-hop and everything in between.

Gonna keep it 100: I absolutely judge an album by its cover. Does it have a sick wizard? A most-pleasing font and color combination? An impossible and-or nightmarish fantasia?

When I scroll through Bandcamp, on the hunt for hidden corners of punk, metal and outer sounds, the first sense is always sight. Maybe a killer band name will catch my eye, or a trusted record label, but amid a bloated glut of music, image is queen.

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In the past year, we've had some pretty big names come perform at the Tiny Desk: Lizzo,

"There will never be another one like him. Peace to his family and all of his fans around the world. Listen to Sean play his drums and hear his heart sing," Cynic's Paul Masvidal wrote in remembrance of his bandmate Sean Reinert, who died last Friday at the age of 48.

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