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.

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All Songs Considered
11:16 am
Fri April 24, 2015

All Songs Plus One: Why We Like The Music We Like

Guests hold up ratings cards at an All Songs Considered listening party in Boston.
Kelly Davidson for NPR

What goes on in your brain when you hear a new song? Is there a formula for what makes a perfect pop song? What's better, something brand new, or something familiar? It's nearly impossible to completely explain or understand why we like the music we like. But Susan Rogers, a music cognition expert and associate professor of music production and engineering at the Berklee College of Music, gets closer to making sense of it than we've heard before.

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All Songs Considered
10:15 am
Thu April 23, 2015

All Songs At 15: From 2008, Songs Of Hope And Change

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

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All Songs TV
10:54 am
Wed April 22, 2015

NEEDS, 'We Forgot The Records To Our Record Release Show'

NEEDS front man Sean Orr, in a scene from the band's new video for the song "We Forgot The Records To Our Record Release Show."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 11:29 am

I love this band. For its chaotic, full-throttle rock. For its world view — a mix of sweet idealism and brooding cynicism — and for its self-deprecating sense of humor. You can hear it all in the NEEDS song, "We Forgot The Records To Our Record Release Show," from the Vancouver band's self-titled debut.

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All Songs Considered
9:17 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, With Jess Gowrie Of Happy Fangs

Happy Fangs drummer Jess Gowrie, getting it done.
Jen Cash Calibree Photography

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 2:03 pm

This week's guest Quizmaster is Jess Gowrie, drummer with the San Francisco-based band Happy Fangs. Earlier this year the group released its debut full-length, Capricorn, a collection of lean, raw and noisy guitar rock cuts anchored by Gowrie's bone-breaking beats. Given her love of power-hitters, some of the fills she selected for this week's Drum Fill Friday should come as no surprise. But there are at least a couple of unexpected picks here. As always, good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs Considered
1:38 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Songs We Love: Wolf Alice, 'Bros'

Wolf Alice
Jordan Curtis Hughes

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 12:38 pm

The North London rock group Wolf Alice has been picking up steam this year with a potent mix of vintage '90s rock, electronics and moody atmospherics. It's a sound that both shimmers and glowers — part The Sundays, part Smashing Pumpkins.

Wolf Alice dances along this line memorably on "Bros," the latest cut from the band's upcoming full length debut My Love Is Cool. Propelled by lead singer Ellie Rowsell's stirring voice, the song is a celebratory but wistful reflection on the waning years of youth.

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All Songs TV
1:15 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

First Watch: Chris Staples, 'Dark Side Of The Moon'

Chris Staples watches the Apollo rocket launch into space in a scene from his new video for the song "Dark Side Of The Moon."
Courtesy of the artist

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All Songs Considered
12:15 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Your Song Of The Week: Kendrick Lamar's 'King Kunta'

Kendrick Lamar's latest album is To Pimp A Butterfly, which includes the song, "King Kunta," the number one song in our listener survey this week.
Courtesy of the artist

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, With The Vaccines' Pete Robertson

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 12:01 pm

This week's guest Quizmaster is Pete Robertson, drummer for the English rock group The Vaccines. The band recently announced a new full-length, English Graffiti, due out May 26. It's their first ever recorded in the U.S.

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All Songs Considered
2:18 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

All Songs At 15: What A Life Of Rock And Roll Will Do To You

Courtesy of the host

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

This week's Throwback Thursday is offered without comment, and just enough context to help us make our point:

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All Songs Considered
9:27 am
Wed April 8, 2015

What's Your Favorite Song This Week?

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 12:14 pm

This week's survey has closed. Thanks and follow us on Twitter (or check back later) for more!

On any given week there's usually a new (or fairly recent) song I can't stop listening to. And sometimes, if it's a really, really good cut, I'm still listening to it, nonstop, weeks later. We assume you're in the same boat, whether it's the latest Rihanna ear worm or some heartbreaking acoustic ballad by a singer hardly anyone has heard of.

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All Songs Considered
1:05 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

New Mix: Passion Pit, Franz Ferdinand With Sparks, Killer Mike & MNDR, More

Clockwise, from upper left: FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks), Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit, Killer Mike, MNDR, BC Camplight
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 8:36 am

On this week's All Songs Considered we talk about the secrets to being happy and how they relate to a euphoric new track from the electro-pop group Passion Pit. We'll hear the first song from Franz Ferdinand's collaboration with one of Bob Boilen's favorite bands from the early '70s — the wild, strange and playful duo Sparks. Together, as FFS, they cordially invite everyone to "piss off!"

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Passion Pit, 'Until We Can't (Let's Go)'

Passion Pit's latest full-length, Kindred, is due out April 21.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 12:43 pm

The electro-pop group's latest cut is a euphoric anthem to youthful dreams and the inertia that keeps us from reaching them. Frenetic, propulsive and bristling with life, "Until We Can't (Let's Go)" finds Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos pleading for escape from the tedium of an ordinary life. "We'​r​e here in this godforsaken place," he sings. "I can hear what you are saying, I can see it on your face so, let'​s​ go."

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All Songs Considered
9:04 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, For April 3

Drummer face of the week, courtesy Grant Hutchison of the band Frightened Rabbit
Brian Patterson/Getty

It's been a couple of weeks since we last had a Drum Fill Friday (South by Southwest and the weeklong flu I always get after the festival set me back a bit). So I thought I'd return with some low-hanging fruit to help get everyone back into the swing. You'll find a collection of recurring, classic rock mainstays in this week's puzzler, with one exception. But I still expect a lot of perfect scores. Good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs Considered
11:48 am
Tue March 31, 2015

New Mix: Ryan Adams, Jamie xx, The Civil Wars' Joy Williams, More

Clockwise from upper left: Ryan Adams, Jamie xx, Joy Williams, Eskimeaux
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 12:42 pm

On All Songs Considered this week, we hear two songs by familiar musicians, one stripped down to his essence and one in a brand new context. Ryan Adams is at his best live, playing solo acoustic hits, with lots of comical chatter. The prolific singer and songwriter has a massive live album coming out with 42 songs recorded at Carnegie Hall. From that collection, we've got Adams' rock anthem "New York, New York," slowed waaaay down for solo piano (along with his seemingly random oratory on the film Terminator 2).

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All Songs Considered
10:12 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Son Lux: New Album, New Song

Son Lux (left to right): Ian Chang, Ryan Lott, Rafiq Bhatia
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 1:07 pm

Son Lux, the brain child of beat wizard Ryan Lott, is back as an official trio, with a new album and a new song. The album is called Bones and was co-written and recorded by Lott with drummer Ian Chang and guitarist Rafiq Bhatia.

The first single from the album, "Change Is Everything," is vintage Son Lux, with a startling mix of chopped up rhythms and sonic curiosities set against lyrics that are both grand and minimal.

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All Songs Considered
8:41 am
Wed March 25, 2015

SXSW 2015 Wrap-Up: Our Favorite Discoveries And Memorable Moments

Clockwise from upper left: Girl Band, Girlpool, Kate Tempest, The Prettiots
Courtesy of the artists

After a week of 16-hour days and little-to-no sleep, the All Songs Considered gang is back from Austin with a slew of musical discoveries from the 2015 South by Southwest music festival.

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All Songs Considered
6:22 am
Tue March 17, 2015

SXSW 2015 Music Preview

Top row, left to right: Soak, Little Simz, Andy Shauf; Bottom row, left to right: Bully, Dale Watson, Kero Kero Bonito
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 10:24 am

If you love music as much as we do (we really love music), there's a good chance that this is one of your favorite weeks of the year. This is when the massive South by Southwest music festival and conference bubbles up and spills over into the streets of Austin, Texas. For five days, live music pours out of every alley, doorway, club, restaurant and street corner. Whether it's sensory overload or total nirvana, March 17-21 is all about discovering some new band or sound that sets your ears on end.

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All Songs Considered
11:25 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, For March 13

Eagles drummer and singer Don Henley takes it to the limit during a 1975 concert.
Neal Preston Corbis

I don't have any special tricks or themes to this week's Drum Fill Friday. (Well, I may have slipped one little trick in here. See if you can catch it.) But there should be a little bit in here for everybody, from funk and soul to vintage Top 40 pop and rock. If I star-rated these for difficulty, I'd give this one a two out of five. So see how you do, and good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs Considered
11:31 am
Thu March 12, 2015

All Songs At 15: Björk Plays DJ

Inez & Vinoodh Matin/ILC

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

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All Songs Considered
12:34 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Sufjan Stevens, 'Should Have Known Better'

Sufjan Stevens' latest song is a return to his folk roots.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 3:30 pm

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All Songs Considered
11:57 am
Tue March 10, 2015

New Mix: Villagers, Joanna Gruesome, Young Fathers, More

Clockwise from upper left: Joanna Gruesome, Trish Keenan of Broadcast, Conor O'Brien of Villagers, Eskmo, Young Fathers
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 4:04 pm

On this week's All Songs Considered, we look at one of life's immutable truths: Nothing's ever easy! Or, at least some things are way harder than they need to be. That's part of the message in the new kiss-off song that opens our show, "Hot Scary Summer," from the upcoming Villagers album Darling Arithmetic.

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All Songs Considered
11:55 am
Thu March 5, 2015

All Songs At 15: Bon Iver And Our First Trip To Austin

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, performing live at The Parrish in Austin, TX in March, 2008.
Joel Didriksen

Hardly anyone had heard of Bon Iver when we booked him to play our South By Southwest day party in March 2008. It was a magical time. Jagjaguwar had just released Bon Iver's breathlessly beautiful album For Emma, Forever Ago, the one Justin Vernon had famously recorded in a remote log cabin in the woods, where he'd holed up to exorcise some inner demons. He's adored now, but for many people in the audience, it was the first they'd heard of the record or of Bon Iver.

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All Songs Considered
2:01 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

New Mix: Björk, Torres, Boots, More

Clockwise from upper left: Panda Bear, Björk, Lowland Hum, Torres
Courtesy of the artists

This week on All Songs Considered, we get heavy — heavy lyrics, heavy themes — as hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton explore the meaning of life, even breaking it down to the atomic level, with existential music from English folk singer Bill Fay, Björk and more.

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All Songs TV
10:51 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Young Buffalo, 'No Idea'

A boy and his young robot friend plan a party for the ages in a scene from Young Buffalo's new video, "No Idea."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 11:16 am

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All Songs TV
11:12 am
Mon March 2, 2015

BRONCHO, 'NC-17'

A sullen pre-teen listens to music on his headphones in a scene from the Broncho video for the song "NC-17."
Courtesy of the artist

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Drum Fill Friday
12:43 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Drum Fill Friday With Steve Jordan

Drummer Steve Jordan is this week's guest Quizmaster.
Buck Lewis

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 7:40 pm

In last week's Drum Fill Friday I included one of my favorite drummers, Steve Jordan. (I won't say which song he was on in case you haven't taken the quiz yet.) I was first introduced to Jordan through his work with The Blues Brothers in the late '70s and early '80s, but his list of album credits is much longer.

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All Songs TV
7:03 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Alice Boman, 'Reason To Believe'

Swedish Singer Alice Boman sits at a piano in a scene from her latest video, for the song "Reason To Believe."
Courtesy of the artist

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Drum Fill Friday
12:10 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, For Feb. 20

I don't know what it's like where you live, but here in D.C. (as well as the rest of the eastern seaboard in general) we've had enough of winter. It's been downright arctic with subzero temperatures, record snowfall and no apparent end in sight. All of which is to say that this week's Drum Fill Friday comes to you from the confines of my super secret Robin Cave, where I've holed up with my stuffed animals and an iPod to play sweet drum fill jams and drown out the howling winter winds. Stay warm, and good luck, careful listeners.

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All Songs Considered
12:42 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

All Songs At 15: Have A Good Cry On Us

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

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All Songs TV
11:09 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Matthew E. White, 'Rock & Roll Is Cold'

Courtesy of the artist

Matthew E. White has long played with the rudiments of gospel, R&B and rock. On his 2012 solo debut, Big Inner, the Richmond, Virginia-based songwriter teased together slinky bass grooves, bright harmonies and breezy rhythms for songs that bob and strut with a well-tempered grandeur.

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