Robin Hilton

Robin Hilton is the producer and co-host for the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.

In addition to his work on All Songs, Hilton curates NPR Music's First Listen series, a weekly showcase of select albums you can read about and hear in their entirety before they're officially released.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Hilton co-founded Small Good Thing Productions, a non-profit production company for independent film, radio and music in Athens, GA.

Hilton lived and worked in Japan as an interpreter for the government, and taught English as a second language to junior high school students.

From 1989 to 1996, Hilton worked for NPR member stations KANU and WUGA as a senior producer and assistant news director and was a long-time contributing reporter to NPR's daily news programs All Things Considered and Morning Edition.

Hilton is also a multi-instrumentalist and composer. His original scores have appeared in work from National Geographic, Center Stage and in films, including the documentary Open Secret. Hilton also arranged and performed the theme for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. You can hear more of his music here.

Along the way, Hilton worked as an emergency room orderly, a blackjack dealer and a fruitcake factory assembly lineman.

Trevor Powers, the songwriter and frontman of Youth Lagoon, has never attempted to hide his navel-gazing anxieties. On his 2011 debut (The Year Of Hibernation) and its 2013 followup (Wondrous Bughouse), Powers documents a lifetime of existential crises with swirling questions about spirituality, mortality and his own mental state. Powers has also looked the part, appearing in photos and on stage wearing oversize pop-bottle glasses, with slumped shoulders and a mop of disheveled hair.

Macklemore's latest effort with producer Ryan Lewis is "Kevin," a funk-flavored tirade against the ravages of addiction, with a particularly scathing indictment against overprescription of medication. The Seattle duo is joined by soul singer Leon Bridges for the hook. "Doctor please give me a dose of the American dream," Bridges implores. "Put down the pen and look in my eyes. We're in the waiting room and something ain't right."

Music For Healing

Nov 17, 2015

Music can provide a space for healing, feeling and thought. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, including at a show in that city's Bataclan concert hall, we were compelled to play music with a meditative tone, songs that allow space and time for reflection. A tune Bob Boilen found himself playing all weekend was by Hiya Wal Âalam, a band featuring members from Tunisia, Palestine and Sweden. It's culture-blending music and perfectly pensive.

Shovels & Rope's new album of covers, Busted Jukebox Vol. I, took a village to create. The folk-rock duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent called in their talented friends and collaborators to tackle songs from Elvis Costello, Nine Inch Nails and Guns n' Roses, just to name a few. Each tune is imbued with Shovels & Rope's signature sound and the individual influence of the guests on each track.

Like many major U.S. cities, Minneapolis has as a tumultuous and divided past, with tales of gangsters, government corruption, racism and economic injustice. It's a bleak history both mocked and memorialized in a popular tag painted on buildings and grain elevators around the city that reads, "United Crushers," a reference to the countless dreams that have been crushed in Minneapolis.

This week's All Songs Considered is an emotional roller coaster. Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton start off mellow with the sweet, acoustic Many Rooms, only to pull the rug out from under it with a monstrously good tune from Grimes. Then we've got intricate Ethiopian accordion rhythms from Hailu Mergia, a piece full of anguish and beauty from the Manchester band Money and a thick, shoe-gazey song from Shmu to close out the whirlwind of frenzied feelings.

The latest song from Britain's moody dream pop group Daughter is a clever play on identity and purpose in a cruel world. The name, "Numbers," refers both to the things that leave us feeling numb and the callous ways people are often reduced to faceless, nameless figures.

Diane Coffee gives the kind of live performances you talk about for weeks after seeing. It's not that the band tears up the stage. There's no elaborate light show or other orchestrated theatrics. The main attraction — and the reason you'll want to watch and hear more — is Diane Coffee's fantastically flamboyant lead singer, Shaun Fleming.

On our most recent episode of All Songs Considered I noted that Sharon Van Etten can be heard on a new ad for Corona beer, and that a number of my favorite musicians have sold their songs for commercials.

On this week's All Songs Considered, Robin starts the show with a question: What bands have you discovered and fallen in love with from commercials? His first pick, Chairlift, has come a long way since its 2008 ad for the Apple iPod Nano.

Andy Shauf is a gifted storyteller. Earlier this year the Saskatchewan-based singer-songwriter put out one of 2015's most breathtaking albums, called The Bearer Of Bad News — an appropriately titled collection of mostly grim tales about small town drug addicts, murderous lovers and other weary underachievers.

On this week's All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen is getting excited for the CMJ Music Marathon in New York and Robin Hilton is just plain getting excited.

The musician and provocateur known as Peaches has just won a Polaris prize for the Best Canadian Album of the 2000s. Music fans selected her sexually charged debut release The Teaches Of Peaches in an online poll over albums by Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene and Feist, among others.

Tomorrow, Oct. 9, would have been John Lennon's 75th birthday. So for this week's Throwback Thursday we're sharing a live webcast we did about The Beatles back in February of 2003. At the time, police in Amsterdam had just discovered a bunch of incredibly rare tapes that were stolen from The Beatles and had been missing for 30 years. So we had author Bruce Spizer in to talk about the newly recovered recordings. Bruce wrote The Beatles On Apple Records, and his conversation with host Bob Boilen dug deep into the Beatles' legacy and explained the history of the lost tapes.

This week on All Songs Considered, Bob Boilen and Robin share a few of their favorite things: choice tunes from cherished artists. We've got all the bases covered, from a devastating song about dementia from Daughter to an energetic anthem from Frank Turner on the power of positivity.

This week's puzzler draws mostly on Top 40 hits and as such, should be pretty easy for some careful listeners. Then again, every time I say that people tank ... just like they get near-perfect scores whenever I think it's a particularly hard week. So what do I know?

I do know that Drum Fill Friday is going on a brief hiatus after this week for some technical maintenance work. But we hope to back in a few weeks.

The members of Nashville's slacker rock group Bully could not be more emotionally detached and dismissive than they are in a new video for the song "Too Tough." Fronted by singer Alicia Bognanno, the band members plod their way through the song in a nondescript suburban living room, completely distracted and disinterested in their own performance. Drummer Stewart Copeland intermittently grows bored and stops playing all together.

On paper, the musical Hamilton sounds like a joke. But as NPR Music's Timmhotep Aku tells us in this week's +1 podcast, "Maybe you shouldn't judge things on face value."

When a legendary band returns after a long hiatus the results are often cringe-worthy—or mixed, at best. To be fair, it's nearly impossible to recapture the kind of magic that makes legends to begin with. But that's not the case with a surprise new album from the Electric Light Orchestra.

Ian Chang is a gigantically talented drummer. You may have seen him recently in a Tiny Desk performance with the band Son Lux, but he's also known for his work with the bands Landlady and Body Language.