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 produces NPR Music live concerts and festival coverage across the country, including live broadcasts and webcasts from the Bonnaroo and Sasquatch festivals, South by Southwest and the Newport Folk Festival.

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 a translator 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 a multi-instrumentalist and composer. His original scores have appeared in work from National Geographic, Center Stage and, most recently, in the documentary film Open Secret. You can hear some 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
7:53 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For July 18

This week's puzzler for careful listeners has a little something for everyone, from jazz and classic rock, to punk and thrashing metal. It also features several fills listeners suggested from previous puzzlers. So, as always, if you know a fill (or intro) or drummer you'd love to see featured in this game, let us know in the comments section, or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday. Good luck, heroes!

All Songs Considered
9:55 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, From Eternal Summers' Daniel Cundiff

Daniel Cundiff, drummer for the Roanoke rock band Eternal Summers, working up a sweat during a live performance.
Courtesy of the artist

This week's drum fill puzzler comes courtesy of guest Quizmaster Daniel Cundiff, percussionist for the Roanoke rock band Eternal Summers. The band's latest album is The Drop Beneath.

For Drum Fill Friday, Daniel picked cuts by some of the artists who've influenced his own work over the years, from smooth jazz to new wave and noise rock. Good luck, heroes!

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All Songs TV
11:47 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Christina Vantzou, 'VHS'

A figure falls through a void in the latest video from Christina Vantzou, for the song "VHS."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 1:18 pm

You'll want to dim the lights for this video to accompany "VHS," from composer Christina Vantzou. The title implies a primitive digital universe. But in Vantzou's world, it's more of a void — a pitch-black emptiness where a lone figure chases her own barely perceptible reflection.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Drum Fill Friday: Fourth Of July Edition

Bruce Springsteen belts out his hit song "Born in the USA" before a sellout crowd as he kicks off his 1985 US tour in Washington, DC.
Doug Mills Bettmann/CORBIS

This week we celebrate our nation's independence with drum fills (and one intro) from songs that say "America, we love you!" Some may be more blatantly patriotic than others, but all capture, in some way, the spirit of freedom that unites and binds us.

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All Songs TV
1:01 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Christina Vantzou, 'Strange Symptoms'

Musician Christina Vantzou, in a scene from her new video for the song "Strange Symptoms."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:20 am

The new video from composer Christina Vantzou, for the moody ambient piece "Strange Symptoms," will take you away. Vantzou's nirvana-inducing sounds emerge, bloom and fade away in less than a minute-and-a-half, as a figure stands motionless behind a curtain of slowly cascading water, her face distorted by the sun-dappled ripples.

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All Songs TV
7:39 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Broken Twin: 'No Darkness'

Majke Voss Romme, who writes and records as Broken Twin, in a scene from her new video for the song "No Darkness."
Courtesy of the artist

It's hard to see the hope that glows dimly in the vaporous sounds of Broken Twin's music. But it's there, pulsing delicately in the beautifully spare arrangements and haunting voice of singer Majke Voss Romme.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, With Mike Kinsella Of Owls

This week's guest Quizmaster, drummer Mike Kinsella (Owls, Joan Of Arc, Owen, American Football)
Connor Feimster Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 7:35 am

This week's guest Quizmaster is Mike Kinsella, the drummer for the bands Owls, Joan Of Arc and Cap'n Jazz and a singer and guitarist in Owen and American Football. When I first took a stab at identifying the fills and intros he selected I was immediately reminded that sometimes this little game can turn me on to some pretty awesome music I hadn't heard before. Maybe that'll be true for you. Good luck, rock stars!

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Music
9:03 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Cold Beat, 'UV'

The members of Cold Beat, in a new video for their song "UV."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 1:11 pm

San Francisco's frenetic rock group Cold Beat pummels the senses in this strobe-lit new video for the song "UV." Directed by frontwoman Hannah Lew, the candles, chains and band members flicker behind a throbbing, multi-colored strobe light as drummer Bianca Sparta, deadpan behind a pair of sunglasses, slingshots the band through a three-minute burst of post-punk fury.

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All Songs Considered
12:42 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For June 20

This week we're back to a mix of classic rock and pop, with a few (relatively) recent loves of mine thrown in. As always, if you have a drum fill (or intro) you think should be included in this weekly puzzler, let us know in the comments section, or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.

Live in Concert
10:16 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Sylvan Esso, Live In Concert

Sylvan Esso, performing live at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. on June 13, 2014.
Zac Visco for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 1:52 pm

"It's the dreamiest of scenes," Sylvan Esso singer Amelia Meath sighed as she looked out over the sold-out crowd at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club. Wearing six-inch platform tennis shoes and an all-black jumpsuit, Meath gyrated and pumped her fists, urging the crowd on. Meanwhile, the other half of Sylvan Esso, Nick Sanborn, tweaked the knobs on a small control panel plugged into a laptop.

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All Songs TV
10:10 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Sean Rowe, 'Madman'

Sean Rowe, in a scene from his new video for the song "Madman."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 1:58 pm

Despite its name, "Madman" has more bounce to it than much of Rowe's earlier work. But it implies you'd have to be nuts to choose a life on the road.

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All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For June 13

You don't always have to love the music to appreciate the talent behind it. Some of the artists featured in this week's puzzler are masters in genres I rarely reach for (fusion anyone?), but lord are they gifted musicians. I also think some of the fills in this batch are particularly challenging, but give a listen and see how you do. Safe drum fill-naming, heroes!

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For June 6

Most of the time, I just pick songs with moments that get me air drumming, regardless of the genre or drummer — or the programmer behind the beats. But for this week's puzzler, I've selected works by undeniable legends in the business, from classic rock pioneers to jazz virtuosos. Good luck, heroes!

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

All Songs TV
12:09 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Tearjerker, 'You Can'

A scene from Tearjerker's video for "You Can."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 8:33 am

The new video for "You Can," by the Canadian shoegaze-pop band Tearjerker, uses found footage of old home movies to create a melancholy montage of faded memories.

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All Songs TV
9:44 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Phil Collins Performed 'In The Air Tonight' With Son's Middle School Band

Phil Collins performing at his son's middle school in Miami, Fla.
YouTube

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:48 am

The video begins with Collins thanking the school and band and just about everyone for their hospitality. Skip ahead about 2:20 if you just want the music. But it's pretty awesome. The band has a smoke machine and light show! And kudos to the young drummer for braving the kit for "In The Air Tonight's" iconic fill, with the guy who wrote it standing right in front of him.

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All Songs Considered
9:19 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For May 30

Drummer Topper Headon, seen overhead, with the rest of The Clash, at the band's first U.S. performance, in 1979.
Roger Ressmeyer CORBIS

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 10:02 am

The warmer weather brings out the air-drummer in me, which means I'm remembering and rediscovering some of my favorite fills, including the ones in this week's puzzler. I think most of these will sound familiar to anyone who's had commercial FM rock blasting with the windows down. So turn it up, pay attention, and good luck!

As always, if you have a drummer or a fill you'd like to see featured in these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.

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All Songs TV
9:29 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Son Lux, 'Build A Pyre (Begin Again)'

Scene from a Son Lux video for the song "Build A Pyre (Begin Again)."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 3:05 pm

Ryan Lott, the beat genius behind Son Lux, loves to dismantle rhythms, crafting off-kilter synth and programmed patterns. It's an often disorienting form director Geoff Hoskinson recreated and realized beautifully in the video's jump-cut visuals.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, With Michael Benjamin Lerner Of Telekinesis

Michael Benjamin Lerner, drummer and lead singer for the band Telekinesis, performing live at Austin City Limits.
Tim Mosenfelder Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 8:38 am

Michael Benjamin Lerner is the drummer, lead singer and songwriter behind the Seattle-based band Telekinesis. There are times, while listening to his music, when I think it's just about the greatest pop band on the planet. Every song is perfectly realized and memorable.

Michael sits in as our guest Quizmaster for this week's puzzler, sharing fills and intros from some of his favorite drummers who've inspired his own work. Good luck, close-listeners!

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:09 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Ages And Ages: Tiny Desk Concert

Ages and Ages performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on April 3, 2014.
Meg Vogel Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 8:56 am

Everyone knows there are five immutable truths in life. No. 1 is "Nothing's ever easy." No. 2 is "Nobody does the right thing." No. 3 is, well, you get the idea.

The Portland, Ore., band Ages and Ages will likely make you rethink these immutable truths — particularly the whole idea about doing the right thing in life. Pay close attention to the second song the group performs in this uplifting Tiny Desk Concert, and you'll see what I mean.

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All Songs Considered
12:38 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Question Of The Week: What's Your Go-To Windows-Down Song?

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 4:02 pm

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All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For May 16

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 10:29 pm

This week's fills (and, yes, yes, one intro) come from a range of styles and periods, from jazz and heavy metal to classic rock and '80s synth pop. Can you match all five?

As always, if you have a drummer or a fill you'd like to see featured in these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.

All Songs TV
11:24 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Timber Timbre, 'Curtains?!'

Scene from Timber Timbre's video for the song "Curtains?!"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 3:28 pm

In the video for the Canadian swamp-folk band Timber Timbre's "Curtains?!," a man released from prison embarks on a vengeful quest to find a mysterious woman who haunts his past.

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All Songs TV
1:26 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Pegasus Warning, 'Change'

Scene from Pegasus Warning's video for "Change."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 9:55 am

Pegasus Warning is otherwise known as Guillermo E. Brown, a New York native and jazz percussionist whose soulful music mixes broken electronics, strange textures and pulsing rhythms. "Change" appears on his latest EP, Woof Ticket, from Plug Research.

Tiny Desk Concerts
5:07 am
Sat May 10, 2014

Timber Timbre: Tiny Desk Concert

Timber Timbre performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 8:57 am

The music of Canada's Timber Timbre is often strange and unsettling. The band, led by Taylor Kirk — a crooner with a deceptively sweet voice — makes spare, evenly paced songs that sound like late-night echoes from a swampy woods.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For May 9

After a few weeks of guest Quizmasters, I'm back with one of my own special blends. I'd call this a top-40 mix or, as some might say, some pretty low-hanging fruit in the world of drum fills and intros. I'm expecting a lot of 5 out of 5 scores, so don't let me down!

As always, if you have a drum fill (or intro), or drummer you'd like to hear included in one of these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday

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All Songs Considered
9:42 am
Wed May 7, 2014

The Black Keys 'Turn Blue': The All Songs Interview

Patrick Carney (left) and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.
Danny Clinch Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun May 11, 2014 8:54 pm

  • Listen To The Black Keys On All Songs

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All Songs Considered
3:41 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

'Ultra LP' Version Of Jack White's New Album Has Some Crazy Surprises

Cover art for Jack White's new album Lazaretto.
Courtesy of the artist

Jack White has announced plans to release a version of his upcoming Lazaretto album on vinyl, with a whole bunch of special features that'll make you rethink the possibilities of the enduring format.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Drum Fill Friday With The War On Drugs Drummer Charlie Hall

Charlie Hall, drummer for the band The War On Drugs, is this week's guest quizmaster for Drum Fill Friday.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 9:30 am

If you think my picks for these weekly puzzlers were hard, try guessing the ones selected by an actual drummer. Charlie Hall, who anchors the Philadelphia-based rock group The War On Drugs, is this week's guest quizmaster. He offers an eclectic, surprising and (for me anyway) challenging batch of fills and intros to identify. See how you do!

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, From The Antlers' Michael Lerner

Michael Lerner of The Antlers, performing live.
Andy Sheppard Redferns

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Michael Lerner, drummer for the band The Antlers. Lerner is on the short list of current favorite drummers. His work is always melodic, never too busy or indulgent. But he also never settles for the straight up four on the floor. I found the fills he selected for this week's puzzler to be... challenging. But see what you think.

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All Songs TV
2:02 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Neil Young Covers Bert Jansch's 'Needle Of Death'

Neil Young in a recording booth, tracking a cover of Bert Jansch's "Needle Of Death."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 9:39 am

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