Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Bob Boilen's Weekly Rainbows

Young Fathers at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C.
Bob Boilen
Young Fathers at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C.

Every week I hear something amazing, see something inspiring and want to pass it on. These events are sometimes fleeting, sometimes iconic, but they stop me in my tracks. Bob's Rainbows is the place where I'll highlight the very best of my weekly music intake. [Editor's note: Why rainbows? They're the only naturally occurring phenomenon that can make Bob take his headphones off.]

You might see some of it pop up on the All Songs Considered Twitter account (@allsongs), my Instagram feed or our Facebook page in real time, but this will be a permanent home for the amazing rainbows in my life.


Young Fathers at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C., April 22

It's often the surprises that stick with me. This week it was Young Fathers. The trio of rappers and singers from Nairobi, Scotland and Liberia were the opening act for Baths, who I'd seen before and loved, but the voices and electronic underpinnings that wove through Young Fathers were unlike anything I'd seen live. Here's a song that will give you a better idea why this was my show of the week.


"Physiques" by People Get Ready

This came out of nowhere. A new record by a band I madly love was announced on Wednesday. People Get Ready will have a new album out June 24 called Physiques and it's produced by Deerhoof's Greg Saunier. I hope this means the band will tour — that's even more of a thrill. Their shows in the past have pushed the boundaries of what a band of guitars and drums can do.


"Water Fountain" by tUnE-yArDs

Merrill Garbus has always seemed like the best party of one. In fact this entire video, for the song "Water Fountain" off the new tUnE-yArDs album Nikki Nack, works like a live-action cartoon. I was sure Pee-wee Herman would come over to play.


Pee Wee's Playhouse

Seeing tUnE-yArDs had me going back and taking a peek at a bit of genius from the past. Paul Reubens was Pee-wee Herman, the fanciful, fun-loving host of a playhouse of characters and objects come-to-life. Like the tUnE-yArDs video above, it was very much a live cartoon with appeal to kids and adults.

Come on in, and pull yourself up a chair (like Chairy!)
Let the fun begin, it's time to let down your hair!
Pee-wee's so excited,
'cause all his friends have been invited (that's you!)
to go wacky, at Pee-Wee's playhouse!



I love Impaktor. It's a synthesizer for an iPhone or iPad that will turn any surface into a percussive instrument. We played with it on this week's All Songs Considered and here, musician Aaron Apter literally plays his cat.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

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.