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.

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

This week's guest Quizmaster is Jess Gowrie, drummer with the San Francisco-based band Happy Fangs. Earlier this year the group released its debut full-length, Capricorn, a collection of lean, raw and noisy guitar rock cuts anchored by Gowrie's bone-breaking beats. Given her love of power-hitters, some of the fills she selected for this week's Drum Fill Friday should come as no surprise. But there are at least a couple of unexpected picks here. As always, good luck, careful listeners!

The North London rock group Wolf Alice has been picking up steam this year with a potent mix of vintage '90s rock, electronics and moody atmospherics. It's a sound that both shimmers and glowers — part The Sundays, part Smashing Pumpkins.

Wolf Alice dances along this line memorably on "Bros," the latest cut from the band's upcoming full length debut My Love Is Cool. Propelled by lead singer Ellie Rowsell's stirring voice, the song is a celebratory but wistful reflection on the waning years of youth.

This week's guest Quizmaster is Pete Robertson, drummer for the English rock group The Vaccines. The band recently announced a new full-length, English Graffiti, due out May 26. It's their first ever recorded in the U.S.

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

This week's Throwback Thursday is offered without comment, and just enough context to help us make our point:

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On any given week there's usually a new (or fairly recent) song I can't stop listening to. And sometimes, if it's a really, really good cut, I'm still listening to it, nonstop, weeks later. We assume you're in the same boat, whether it's the latest Rihanna ear worm or some heartbreaking acoustic ballad by a singer hardly anyone has heard of.

On this week's All Songs Considered we talk about the secrets to being happy and how they relate to a euphoric new track from the electro-pop group Passion Pit. We'll hear the first song from Franz Ferdinand's collaboration with one of Bob Boilen's favorite bands from the early '70s — the wild, strange and playful duo Sparks. Together, as FFS, they cordially invite everyone to "piss off!"

The electro-pop group's latest cut is a euphoric anthem to youthful dreams and the inertia that keeps us from reaching them. Frenetic, propulsive and bristling with life, "Until We Can't (Let's Go)" finds Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos pleading for escape from the tedium of an ordinary life. "We'​r​e here in this godforsaken place," he sings. "I can hear what you are saying, I can see it on your face so, let'​s​ go."

It's been a couple of weeks since we last had a Drum Fill Friday (South by Southwest and the weeklong flu I always get after the festival set me back a bit). So I thought I'd return with some low-hanging fruit to help get everyone back into the swing. You'll find a collection of recurring, classic rock mainstays in this week's puzzler, with one exception. But I still expect a lot of perfect scores. Good luck, careful listeners!

On All Songs Considered this week, we hear two songs by familiar musicians, one stripped down to his essence and one in a brand new context. Ryan Adams is at his best live, playing solo acoustic hits, with lots of comical chatter. The prolific singer and songwriter has a massive live album coming out with 42 songs recorded at Carnegie Hall. From that collection, we've got Adams' rock anthem "New York, New York," slowed waaaay down for solo piano (along with his seemingly random oratory on the film Terminator 2).

Son Lux, the brain child of beat wizard Ryan Lott, is back as an official trio, with a new album and a new song. The album is called Bones and was co-written and recorded by Lott with drummer Ian Chang and guitarist Rafiq Bhatia.

The first single from the album, "Change Is Everything," is vintage Son Lux, with a startling mix of chopped up rhythms and sonic curiosities set against lyrics that are both grand and minimal.

After a week of 16-hour days and little-to-no sleep, the All Songs Considered gang is back from Austin with a slew of musical discoveries from the 2015 South by Southwest music festival.

If you love music as much as we do (we really love music), there's a good chance that this is one of your favorite weeks of the year. This is when the massive South by Southwest music festival and conference bubbles up and spills over into the streets of Austin, Texas. For five days, live music pours out of every alley, doorway, club, restaurant and street corner. Whether it's sensory overload or total nirvana, March 17-21 is all about discovering some new band or sound that sets your ears on end.

I don't have any special tricks or themes to this week's Drum Fill Friday. (Well, I may have slipped one little trick in here. See if you can catch it.) But there should be a little bit in here for everybody, from funk and soul to vintage Top 40 pop and rock. If I star-rated these for difficulty, I'd give this one a two out of five. So see how you do, and good luck, careful listeners!

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

On this week's All Songs Considered, we look at one of life's immutable truths: Nothing's ever easy! Or, at least some things are way harder than they need to be. That's part of the message in the new kiss-off song that opens our show, "Hot Scary Summer," from the upcoming Villagers album Darling Arithmetic.

Hardly anyone had heard of Bon Iver when we booked him to play our South By Southwest day party in March 2008. It was a magical time. Jagjaguwar had just released Bon Iver's breathlessly beautiful album For Emma, Forever Ago, the one Justin Vernon had famously recorded in a remote log cabin in the woods, where he'd holed up to exorcise some inner demons. He's adored now, but for many people in the audience, it was the first they'd heard of the record or of Bon Iver.

This week on All Songs Considered, we get heavy — heavy lyrics, heavy themes — as hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton explore the meaning of life, even breaking it down to the atomic level, with existential music from English folk singer Bill Fay, Björk and more.

In last week's Drum Fill Friday I included one of my favorite drummers, Steve Jordan. (I won't say which song he was on in case you haven't taken the quiz yet.) I was first introduced to Jordan through his work with The Blues Brothers in the late '70s and early '80s, but his list of album credits is much longer.

I don't know what it's like where you live, but here in D.C. (as well as the rest of the eastern seaboard in general) we've had enough of winter. It's been downright arctic with subzero temperatures, record snowfall and no apparent end in sight. All of which is to say that this week's Drum Fill Friday comes to you from the confines of my super secret Robin Cave, where I've holed up with my stuffed animals and an iPod to play sweet drum fill jams and drown out the howling winter winds. Stay warm, and good luck, careful listeners.

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a story about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

This week on All Songs Considered we reflect on age and time, how we make sense of the world as we all grow older, and how it all ties in to the artist who opens this week's show: Sufjan Stevens. Stevens has been busy with numerous projects since releasing his insane masterpiece, The Age Of Adz, in 2010. But he's back with his first official studio album since then, the lovely and intimate Carrie & Lowell. We've got the first single from the album, "No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross."

This week's Drum Fill Friday was put together by drummer Cully Symington. He's currently with the band Cursive, though he's also played with The Afghan Whigs, Bishop Allen, Okkervil River and Shearwater. Cursive is currently on tour for their deluxe reissue of The Ugly Organ, originally released in 2003.

Lord Huron's "Fool For Love" opens with a delicate wash of humming bells, a distant organ drone and a few carefully plucked strings. It's a beautiful, meditative mix that shimmers with the kind of hope and determination that only a new day can hold in its earliest hours, just after waking, before the inevitable letdown.

Every Thursday this year we're celebrating All Songs Considered's 15th birthday with personal memories and highlights from the show's decade and a half online and on the air. If you have a personal memory about the show you'd like to share, drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

Jazz percussionist Lionel Hampton once said that "drumming was the best way to get close to God." For me, it's putting together these Drum Fill Friday puzzlers. This week's batch of fills comes from a handful of (I think) instantly recognizable hits, so I'm expecting a lot of perfect scores. 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.

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