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
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 Tue October 14, 2014 11:50 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 Tue October 14, 2014 11:50 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

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:51 am

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

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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 Tue October 14, 2014 11:51 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

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:51 am

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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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

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 12:10 pm

"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

Sam Ricketts and Tom Clarke, the creative forces behind Cloud Boat's dreamy electro-pop soundscapes, call their song, "Carmine," "a journey through the mind of a childhood companion. The image of him is so old and faded that we believe he may be a figment of our imagination. But he now exists more completely as a friend, and as a memory in this song."

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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

Ian McDonnell and Dara Smith are the creative force behind Lakker. They've been recording together for the past decade. Smith, who's also a motion graphics designer and art director for a Dublin design company, produced the breathtaking visuals for "Thermohaline."

"Thermohaline" is from the band's new EP, Containing A Thousand.

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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 Wed July 9, 2014 9:31 am

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 Wed June 18, 2014 10:03 am

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

This week, we asked you to think about the end of your life. If you could pick it, what would you like the last song you ever hear to be? For me, it was easy. Pink Floyd's "Great Gig in the Sky," from Dark Side of the Moon would send me off into the unknown with its perfect mix of sorrow, anguish, majestic awe and celestial wonder.

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

Drum Fill Friday: Revenge Of Drum Fill

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:52 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

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 11:53 am

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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