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
1:02 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

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All Songs Considered
5:03 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 10:28 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 Considered
5:03 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Drum Fill Friday: Bride Of Drum Fill

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 7:25 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
11:44 am
Mon April 7, 2014

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

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 11:37 am

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Name That Drum Fill: Revenge Of Drum Fill

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 6:50 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
5:03 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
11:03 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Mr Little Jeans, 'Good Mistake'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:26 am

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
2:15 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 11:01 am

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
1:04 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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All Songs Considered
11:37 am
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 1:59 pm

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All Songs Considered
5:03 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
6:02 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 2:33 pm

  • Hear Beck Discuss 'Morning Phase'

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All Songs Considered
3:04 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
10:19 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 11:27 am

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
5:02 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Sebadoh, 'A State Of Mine'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:27 am

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
5:02 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 11:28 am

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
8:31 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

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
6:02 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 12:25 pm

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All Songs Considered
2:00 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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All Songs Considered
5:08 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Robin Hilton's Top 10 Albums Of 2013

The Flaming Lips put out Robin Hilton's favorite album of the year. Son Lux, Telekinesis, James Blake, Foxygen, and many, many other artists and bands also released Robin's number one album of the year.
George Salisbury

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:14 am

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All Songs Considered
3:31 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Question Of The Week: What Song Describes Your Family?

Eric Lee 20TH CENTURY FOX/FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

We need some help putting together next week's show. Thanksgiving is coming up, and for a lot of you, this means you'll be spending some close time with family. Maybe it's more time with family than you want. Or maybe you can't get enough of it. Either way, it's an opportunity to reflect on the people in our lives and how they've shaped who we are.

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All Songs Considered
1:50 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Results? The Albums Everyone Can Love

Bettmann/CORBIS

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:07 pm

A while back (a long while back), Bob Boilen and I were sitting around the office, chatting like we do about music and life, and got to wondering: Is it possible to come up with a top ten list of albums that everyone can agree on?

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All Songs Considered
9:53 am
Fri November 8, 2013

The 2013 Mountain Oasis Festival In GIFs

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, performing live at the 2013 Mt. Oasis festival.
Adam Kissick NPR Music

Late this past month, the first-ever Mountain Oasis music festival popped up in Asheville, N.C. for three days and nights of glorious weirdness. Officially called the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, the event featured bands both big (Nine Inch Nails) and small (Adventure Club), thrilling audiences with thumping dance, mind-blowing electronic, fist-pounding rock and more.

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All Songs Considered
6:03 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Perera Elsewhere, 'Giddy'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:29 am

The music of Perera Elsewhere sounds like it was picked up from outer space, like a strange, haunting frequency drifting through the ether from god-knows-where. So it makes sense that the Berlin-based DJ and ambient trip-hop artist brings an otherworldly vibe to life on the video for her song "Giddy."

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All Songs Considered
10:56 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Question Of The Week: Do Music Reviews Matter To You?

Arcade Fire's new album, Reflektor, was the target of mercilessly negative reviews. But did any of them change the way people feel about the band and its music?
Guy Aroch

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 11:56 am

Last week's merciless onslaught of negative reviews for the new Arcade Fire record, Reflektor, sparked a conversation here in the All Songs Considered office about the weight of a writer's words, and whether those words have any real effect on a band's level of success (success in this case being album sales, or otherwise building a fan base).

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Thu October 31, 2013

James Vincent McMorrow, 'Cavalier'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:29 am

James Vincent McMorrow first popped on our radar back in 2010, when he released his breathtakingly beautiful debut Early In The Morning, a collection of acoustic folk notable, in part, for McMorrow's remarkable voice. But it turns out McMorrow never really wanted to be a folk singer. His latest album, Post-Tropical, is a sultry, slinky R&B album, with drum machines and soul-inspired harmonies. Now comes a dark, sometimes unnerving new video for the album's first single, "Cavalier."

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All Songs Considered
4:03 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Tyler, The Creator's Video For Anonymous Artist

The latest video directed by Tyler The Creator is from an artist who wishes to remain anonymous.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:29 am

The latest video from Odd Future co-founder Tyler, The Creator isn't at all what you might expect. The Los Angeles rapper and producer, known for his dark, dystopian hip-hop, takes on a breezy pop ballad for the short and vividly beautiful film. Tyler didn't write the song and isn't saying who did. But he was so moved by it he agreed to write and direct the video.

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All Songs Considered
5:52 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Song Premiere: Colin Meloy, 'Do You Remember Walter'

Courtesy of the artist

Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy is back with another covers project. This time its for music by The Kinks. Meloy began releasing Colin Meloy Sings cover EPs in 2005 to coincide with his various solo tours.

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Song Premiere: The Flaming Lips, 'If They Move, Shoot 'Em'

J. Michelle Martin Coyne

The Flaming Lips have always had a fondness for science fiction and fantasy, with a vast catalog of songs about robots, spontaneous human combustion, telepathy, wizards, and UFOs. The band's latest source of inspiration is the sci-fi novel (and new movie) Ender's Game, which tells the story of Earth's futuristic battle with insect-like aliens called "Buggers." A new EP from The Flaming Lips, The Peace Sword includes six songs inspired by the story, including this dark, strange, synth-heavy jam "If They Move, Shoot 'Em."

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