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 TV
6:03 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Melaena Cadiz, 'Needles River'

A scene from the video for Melaena Cadiz's song "Needles River."
Courtesy of the artist

"Needles River" is the first single from Melaena Cadiz's upcoming album Deep Below Heaven. She wrote and recorded the song with her husband, Mikael Kennedy. Kennedy also conceived and directed the video.

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All Songs TV
6:03 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Cloud Boat, 'Carmine'

Scene from the new Cloud Boat video "Carmine."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:23 am

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All Songs TV
11:25 am
Mon April 21, 2014

The Milk Carton Kids, Live From Lincoln Theatre

The Milk Carton Kids, performing live at Lincoln Theater in Columbus, Ohio.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 6:55 pm

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All Songs TV
10:03 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Lakker, 'Thermohaline'

The pulsating imagery for Lakker's "Thermohaline" video.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 11:09 am

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, From Guest Quizmaster S. Carey

Sean Carey, who writes and records as S. Carey, performing live with Bon Iver.
Ollie Millington Redferns

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 11:28 am

This week's drum fills (and intros) were hand-selected, using only the finest ingredients, by Sean Carey. The Bon Iver drummer, who writes and records as S. Carey, just released his second solo album, Range Of Light. I thought some of his picks for this week's puzzler were pretty challenging, but I managed to get three of the five right. See how you do!

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All Songs TV
8:03 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Rodrigo y Gabriela, 'The Russian Messenger'

Rodrigo y Gabriela in a scene from their new video for the song "The Russian Messenger."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 1:27 pm

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All Songs TV
11:33 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Sebastien Grainger, 'The Streets Are Still A Mess'

A scene from the Sebastien Grainger video for the song "The Streets Are Still A Mess."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 1:27 pm

The video for Sebastian Grainger's "The Streets Are Still A Mess," directed by Eva Michon, was shot on 35mm film, taking visual cues from classic gang stories such as Rumble Fish and Warriors, crossed with the dance staples West Side Story and Beat It.

"The Streets Are Still A Mess" is from Grainger's most recent solo release, Yours To Discover.

All Songs TV
12:03 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Curtis Harding, 'Keep On Shining'

Curtis Harding in a scene from his video for the song "Keep On Shining."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 8:44 am

Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat April 12, 2014

Tom Brosseau: Tiny Desk Concert

Tom Brosseau performs a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Sun April 13, 2014 10:18 pm

Tom Brosseau possesses one of the most arresting voices in folk music today. Many people who hear him sing, without knowing his name or face, assume the voice belongs to a woman, as he hovers somewhere around the countertenor range, with an unusually pure tone.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Drum Fill Friday: Bride Of Drum Fill

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 8:25 am

People often stop me on the street and ask, "Dude, what's with Drum Fill Friday? How are you picking that stuff?" Most of the fills come to me in peyote-induced fever dreams. Otherwise, I mostly just pick songs that have moments in them - fills and intros - that make me want to air-drum. They aren't all legendary or particularly defining moments — just awesome moments. As with all the stuff we do on All Songs Considered, they're songs I love.

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All Songs Considered
12:38 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Question Of The Week: The Last Song You'll Ever Hear?

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 12:37 pm

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

Name That Drum Fill: Revenge Of Drum Fill

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 7:50 am

This week's batch of drum fills comes from a mix of classic rock and pop, and more recent cuts. As always, I was drawn to them simply because I love the songs themselves and was captivated at some point by the percussion. Pro tip: If you don't recognize a fill, try matching the timbre of it — the power behind it, the sound of the recording, etc. — to one of the album covers pictured (or to the period the album was recorded in).

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Drum Fill Friday: March 28

You know what's awesome? Drum fills. A killer bass line is pretty great, too. And guitar solos. And melodies and chord progressions. But a really great drum fill is often the one thing that makes a song truly take off. Think of Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" and try not to get that song's classic fill stuck in your head immediately.

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All Songs Considered
12:03 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Mr Little Jeans, 'Good Mistake'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 12:26 pm

Don't let the precious name fool you. Mr Little Jeans, a.k.a. Norwegian singer Monica Birkenes, makes propulsive, sometimes epic pop music with gnarled synth lines and alluring textures. In this brand new Mr Little Jeans video, for the moody song "Good Mistake," a trucker hopped up on meds finds himself traversing the haunted backroads of his past.

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All Songs Considered
3:15 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Question Of The Week: Does The Death Of An Instrument Break Your Heart?

All Songs Considered Soundcloud Dropbox

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 12:01 pm

Few things make us cringe quite like hearing about the untimely death of a musical instrument. A table or an appliance may be swept away by a hurricane, or a set of golf clubs may be mangled by baggage handlers, but they don't hold quite the emotional pull of seeing a crushed guitar or piano. It feels like something living has died.

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All Songs Considered
2:04 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Question Of The Week, SXSW Edition: What's Your Fake Band Name?

 

Every year Bob Boilen, NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and I prepare for South by Southwest by listening to songs from roughly 1,500 artists. And when you go through that many bands you start to see trends in the names. The two most commonly occurring words are always — always — "black" and "DJ." In addition to those two, this year we noticed that "white" appears an awful lot, too, as does the name John. Michael, Paul and Jesse are also pretty popular. Go figure.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:03 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Brass Bed: Tiny Desk Concert

Brass Bed performs a Tiny Desk Concert in January 2014.
Jim Tuttle/NPR NPR

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 2:12 pm

It wasn't an easy road to the Tiny Desk for the four guys from Louisiana who make up Brass Bed. Their tour, for the band's debut album The Secret Will Keep You, was plagued from the start: Singer Christiaan Mader had the flu, there was a death in the family and multiple dates had to be canceled. Their van was broken into and their instruments stolen. So when they heard that a big snowstorm was headed for D.C. at the same time they were to play the Tiny Desk, it felt like yet another bad omen.

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

First Listen: Nothing, 'Guilty Of Everything'

Nothing's debut album, Guilty of Everything, comes out March 4.
Shawn Brackbill Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 9:52 am

The story of how singer and guitarist Domenic Palermo came to form the noise-rock band Nothing sounds like a Behind the Music episode gone bad. Growing up in the crime-infested neighborhood of Kensington in Philadelphia, Palermo hung with a tough crowd that, in his own words, drove around with large amounts of cocaine and guns while listening to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless.

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All Songs Considered
12:37 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Question Of The Week, Valentine's Day Edition: What's 'Your Song'?

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:59 pm

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Song Premiere: Death, 'North Street'

Death, in 1976. Left to right: David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney.
Tammy Hackney

When you listen to "North Street," a just-released song by the band Death, it's hard to believe it's more than 30 years old. The cut, with its urgent beat and relentlessly propulsive guitars, is part punk and part avant-garde rock. Death originally recorded the track in 1980, but it never saw the light of day — until now.

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All Songs Considered
7:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Beck On 'Morning Phase': The All Songs Considered Interview

Beck's 12th studio full-length, Morning Phase, will be released Feb. 25.
Peter Hapak

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:33 pm

  • Hear Beck Discuss 'Morning Phase'

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All Songs Considered
4:04 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Question Of The Week: What Musician Do You Love No Matter What?

Henry Ruggeri

Tomorrow on All Songs Considered we'll post a conversation we taped recently with Beck, about his new album Morning Phase. (We'll also premiere a new song from that album called "Waking Light"). While prepping for the interview, I looked over Beck's body of work from the past 20 years, and realized I couldn't find a single song or project of his I disliked. Sure, there are plenty of recordings and songs I like more than others.

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All Songs Considered
11:19 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Son Lux, 'Alternate World'

Scene from the Song Lux video "Alternate World."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 12:27 pm

Reality is nine-tenths perception, even in our most intimate relationships. Is it love? Infatuation? Is it real and lasting? All we have are the choices we make. In the latest video from electro-beat guru Son Lux, a torrid relationship plays out between two lovers, as frontman Ryan Lott reflects on the possibilities of an "Alternate World."

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All Songs Considered
6:02 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Sebadoh, 'A State Of Mine'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 12:27 pm

When bassist and singer Lou Barlow first formed Sebadoh in 1986, he was an early-twentysomething who wrote sublime, brooding songs about youthful angst and heartache. Now in his late 40s, Barlow writes songs under the Sebadoh moniker that are no less introspective. But he's more agitated and inspired by the trappings of adulthood, from the pressures he feels to make money to life lessons he should have learned by now, to how best to care for his children.

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All Songs Considered
6:02 am
Thu January 23, 2014

The Zolas, 'Ancient Mars'

A scene from The Zolas video "Ancient Mars."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 12:28 pm

Around this time last year, 21-year-old Elisa Lam went missing during a solo trip to Los Angeles. A month after her disappearance was reported, her body was found in a hotel's rooftop water tank. While it's unclear what happened, investigators ruled out foul play, leaving everyone to speculate wildly about her mental state and possible motivations.

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All Songs Considered
8:42 am
Thu January 16, 2014

A World Of Live Music, Captured With Pen And Paper

The Wu Force, captured in an illustration by Michael Arthur.
Michael Arthur/NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 9:31 am

While photographers click and shoot their way through live concerts, capturing the best moments in fractions of seconds, illustrator Michael Arthur prefers to preserve the highlights at what some might consider glacial speed, using pen and ink.

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All Songs Considered
7:02 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Ambien Dreams And Naked Desert Walks: St. Vincent On Her New Album

Renata Raksha Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:25 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
10:33 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Lily & Madeleine: Tiny Desk Concert

Lily & Madeleine, at a Tiny Desk concert in November 2013.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:11 am

Sisters Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz aren't the youngest musicians ever to play the Tiny Desk, but they come pretty close. Their music — a restrained, homespun mix of folk and pop with undeniably sweet harmonies — certainly ranks among the loveliest we've heard.

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All Songs Considered
3:00 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Question Of The Week: What Are Your Music Resolutions For 2014?

NPR

I began last year with some ambitious goals as far as music goes. I vowed to go to more live shows, to pay more attention to lyrics and to spend more time in general with the albums I hear. This was in addition to losing weight, writing a novel and quitting World Of Warcraft. (Ha ha, just kidding! Why would anyone quit World Of Warcraft?).

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