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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Drum Fill Friday
6:03 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For Nov. 7

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 7:13 am

No special theme to this week's Drum Fill Friday, unless you count "awesome" as a theme. I've got a little bit of metal, a little bit of R&B, some disco and '90s rock and roll wrapped up in this baby.

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All Songs Considered
12:49 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

You Cannot Be Serious: The All Songs Considered Listening Party

Guests rate the songs at the All Songs Considered Listening Party in Washington, D.C.
Jeff Martin

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All Songs TV
8:03 am
Thu November 6, 2014

First Watch: the one and only PPL MVR, 'People Mover'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 8:51 am

The creatures you are about to see are not Yetis. They're not aliens or mythical beasts. The truth is, we don't really know what they are, who they are or where they're from. We only know they call themselves "the one and only PPL MVR," and claim to be some sort of ancient species (mostly seen around the Los Angeles area).

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Song Premiere: José González, 'Every Age'

José González returns with his first new solo album in seven years. Vestiges And Claws is due out Feb. 17.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:37 pm

It's been more than a decade, now, since José González first burrowed into our hearts with his inspired and deeply moving cover of The Knife song "Heartbeats." (Remember that bouncing ball video?) That track appeared on the Swedish singer-songwriter's 2003 debut album Veneer, a collection of sometimes moody acoustic songs that swelled and swooned with surprising momentum.

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Songs We Love
11:22 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Les Sins, 'Talk About'

Chaz Bundick, known for his work as Toro Y Moi, assumes the name Les Sins for his latest, dance beat project.
Angel Ceballos

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 2:47 pm

It turns out all Chaz Bundick really wants to do is dance. Since releasing his debut album as Toro Y Moi in 2010, the 27 year-old musician has staked a career on making sometimes idiosyncratic but soulful pop, with occasional shades of R&B. But for his latest project, Bundick assumes the name Les Sins and drops throbbing dance beats, with minimal lyrics, deep bass lines and pulsing synths. It's a full-throttled, unapologetic leap to the dance floor.

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Drum Fill Friday
10:03 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, From Otis Brown III

Drummer and composer Otis Brown III performing live earlier this year in New York City.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

This week's Drum Fill Friday comes courtesy Otis Brown III, a young jazz drummer and composer who's best known for his work with Joe Lovano, but who recently released his own debut solo album, The Thought Of You. Brown's selected a number of intros and fills from some of his favorite vintage jazz tracks, along with some funk, soul and R&B classics, showcasing some of the greatest drummers of all time. Good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs TV
12:26 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Greylag, 'Yours To Shake'

Courtesy of the artist

It's easy to define the world in absolutes, but it rarely leads to truth. Reality is usually more complicated, mostly colored in shades of gray, and often unknowable. It's a never-ending struggle to make sense of each other, ourselves and our desires.

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Songs We Love
10:40 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Deerhoof, 'Paradise Girls'

Deerhoof's new album, La Isla Bonita, comes out Nov. 4.
Chad Kamenshine Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 2:41 pm

"Paradise Girls" is bright and upbeat, defined by fluttery percussion and syncopated guitar lines. The song was inspired by the band's long roster of female heroes, including 'Joan Jett, Janet Jackson, [and] Kim Gordon.' For more on La Isla Bonita, visit the band's website.

All Songs Considered
2:03 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Question Of The Week: What Are The Most Terrifying Songs Of All Time?

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 2:02 pm

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Drum Fill Friday
9:45 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, With Sleater-Kinney's Janet Weiss

Sleater-Kinney (and Quasi and Wild Flag) drummer Janet Weiss at the kit.
Tim Bugbee Tinnitus Photography

Drummer Janet Weiss is a force. For the past 20 years, her distinctive punch, precision and signature head swing while at the kit has been a fierce anchor for the bands Quasi, Wild-Flag, Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks and most prominently Sleater-Kinney. Now that Sleater-Kinney is back together, following an eight-year hiatus, it seems like the perfect time to share some of Weiss' favorite fills (and a few intros) for this week's Drum Fill Friday.

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All Songs Considered
8:19 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Sleater-Kinney Reunites, Announces New Album

Janet Weiss (left), Carrie Brownstein (center) and Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney. The trio's first album since 2005 will be out on Jan. 20.
Brigitte Sire Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 10:19 am

Sleater-Kinney is back together, has a new album coming out Jan. 20 via Sub Pop records, and will go on tour early next year. The album is called No Cities to Love, and you can listen to the first single, "Bury Our Friends," right here.

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All Songs Considered
11:18 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For Oct. 17

One thing that really struck me while putting together this week's batch of drum fills is how different they sound. I don't mean the timing or fill patterns themselves. I mean the timbre of the drums and the way they were recorded. You've got the super tight kits that pop with no ambient trails, the roomy kits that sound like they were captured with a single microphone twenty feet away, a brushed kit that rumbles and rattles. I love it! And all of the chosen kits and recording choices have a massive effect on how we ultimately feel about the song.

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Drum Fill Friday
12:58 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, From Warpaint's Stella Mozgawa

Drummer Stella Mozgawa, performing with Warpaint at South By Southwest earlier this year.
Jessica Alexander Geisler-Fotopr/dpa/Corbis

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:38 am

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Stella Mozgawa, drummer for the L.A. rock group Warpaint. The band is currently on tour for its moody, self-titled album, released at the beginning of the year. Mozgawa's picks for this week's quiz range from '80s pop to experimental rock, R&B and electronic music. Good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs TV
10:30 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Marketa Irglova, 'Fortune Teller'

Marketa Irglova, "Fortune Teller"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 4:23 pm

It's impossible to know for certain what tomorrow may bring, but that doesn't keep us from trying. In the captivating new video for her song "Fortune Teller," Czech singer-songwriter Marketa Irglova ponders her own future and the endless possibilities of an unpredictable life.

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All Songs Considered
3:20 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Guest DJ John Congleton

Producer, engineer and musician John Congleton.
Jeaneen Lund Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 9:42 am

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All Songs Considered
9:37 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Edition

The soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy was the first soundtrack composed entirely of previously released songs to top the Billboard 200 album chart.
Courtesy of the artist

I don't get out to see many films these days. But I did recently catch a matinee of the super duper popcorn movie Guardians Of The Galaxy. In addition to some spectacular CGI, the film was supported by a solid foundation of Top 40 Hits, largely from the 1970s, such as Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" and The Runaways "Cherry Bomb." At some point it occurred to me that the soundtrack had a lot of good candidates for a puzzler. So ... here it is: The Guardians Of The Galaxy edition of Drum Fill Friday. Good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs Considered
8:43 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Question Of The Week: What's Your Spinal Tap Moment?

Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist for the entirely fake band Spinal Tap, in the band's 1983 mockumentary.
The Kobal Collection

I once went to a show where the lead singer stripped naked on stage and tried to set his pubic hair on fire. Tragically, his lighter wouldn't work. Try to picture him standing there, completely naked, sadly flicking the lighter over and over and only getting sparks. Finally, one of the three or four people actually in attendance reached up to the stage and handed him theirs. The singer thumbed the lighter, his hair went up in one almost instant poof and the stench of burnt hair filled the club.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, With Wild Cub's Dabney Morris

Wild Cub drummer Dabney Morris getting it done.
Merrick Ales

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:38 am

Dabney Morris has been laying down beats for the Nashville-based band Wild Cub since the group first formed in 2011. The band's debut full-length is Youth and was recorded with help from (Spoon's drummer and Drum Fill Friday Alumnus) Jim Eno. There are at least a couple of fills in Dabney's puzzler you should know right off the bat. The other three, maybe not as much. Either way, good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs Considered
12:20 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross Share Four Songs From Their New 'Gone Girl' Score

Courtesy of the artist

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and producer Atticus Ross continue to tease their upcoming soundtrack for the movie, Gone Girl. The longtime collaborators have posted four new songs from the score to their Soundcloud page.

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All Songs Considered
9:26 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For Sept. 19

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 9:49 am

We're back to basics in this week's Drum Fill Friday: No tricks or special themes, just a mix of vintage rock and iconic pop fills (okay, and one intro). Good luck, careful listeners!

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
3:26 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Chris Staples, 'Hold Onto Something'

Chris Staples in his new video "Hold Onto Something"
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 10:42 am

In our darkest hours, time seems to slow to an excruciating crawl. The mind races, desperate to find something to hold onto, while our whole sense of time, space, or even reality becomes warped. It's an unsettling but familiar feeling captured beautifully in a new video for the Chris Staples song "Hold Onto Something."

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All Songs TV
1:02 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

YAWN, 'Flytrap'

A scene from Yawn's video for the song "Flytrap."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 3:28 pm

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All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, With Spoon's Jim Eno

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:39 am

Jim Eno is a less-is-more drummer. His work as the longtime drummer for the band Spoon is distinctive for its carefully plotted lines. It's elegant and melodic, never over-the-top or showy. It's a style and taste he shares with all of the drummers he selected for this week's puzzler as our guest Quizmaster.

Eno and the rest of the guys in Spoon are currently on tour for their latest — and one of the year's best — album, They Want My Soul.

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Drum Fill Friday
8:42 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, For Sept. 5

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:44 am

We've had a good run of guest Quizmasters for Drum Fill Friday (and more to come), but this week we thought we'd feature a puzzler made up entirely of your favorite fills and intros. Each of the artists appearing in the quiz below come from listener suggestions in our comments section.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
4:38 am
Sat August 30, 2014

Sturgill Simpson: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Sturgill Simpson on July 8, 2014.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

Sturgill Simpson doesn't fit today's common image of a country singer. When he arrived for his Tiny Desk Concert, the 36-year-old Kentucky native sauntered in sleepy-eyed, wearing jeans, a pair of old canvas tennis shoes, no socks and a well-worn button-down blue shirt, one of only two identical shirts he said he had in rotation while on tour. (He appeared a few nights later on Letterman wearing either the same garment or its twin.)

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All Songs Considered
11:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, From Guest Quizmaster Mark Reznicek Of Toadies

Mark Reznicek of Toadies
Tommy Moore Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:44 am

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Mark Reznicek, drummer for the Fort Worth rock group Toadies. The band is currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of its breakout album, Rubberneck with a tour, and a reissue of the album with bonus tracks.

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, careful listeners!

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All Songs TV
12:53 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Electric Youth, 'A Real Hero (Live)'

Singer Bronwyn Griffin of the band Electric Youth, in a scene from the group's new video for the song "A Real Hero."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 12:04 pm

Canadian synth pop duo Electric Youth won legions of fans for its song "A Real Hero" after it was featured in the 2011 dark crime film Drive. Originally a duo, soundscape artist and drummer Austin Garrick and singer Bronwyn Griffin are at the center of a four-piece in this video, the first-ever video of the group performing the song.

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All Songs TV
12:56 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

The Both, 'Volunteers of America'

Ted Leo and Aimee Mann as The Both, in a scene from their new video for the song "Volunteers Of America."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 4:09 pm

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Music
2:55 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Maps, 'You Will Find A Way'

Maps, 'You Will Find A Way'
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 12:59 pm

What separates us from machines? Is it our capacity for love? Our seemingly bottomless well of cruelty? A new video for the Maps song "You Will Find A Way" poses these questions as a cardboard robot, built by a lonely girl, comes to life and goes out in search of companionship.

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All Songs Considered
2:22 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Drum Fill Friday, From The Dismemberment Plan's Joe Easley

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:44 am

This week's puzzler comes courtesy Joe Easley, drummer for the D.C.-based rock group The Dismemberment Plan. It shouldn't be too hard for fans of the band to hear why he loves the fills and intros he selected from some of his favorite artists and songs.

The Dismemberment Plan is currently performing select shows for its latest album, and first in more than a decade, Uncanney Valley.

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