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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.

In the summer of 1997, when All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer sat down with Colin Greenwood and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead to talk about the band's new album OK Computer, it sounds (in retrospect) like none of them – not our host nor the guys in the band – entirely knew what they were sitting on. O'Brien and Greenwood cracked jokes, gently brushed off questions they didn't care to get into and attempted to explain why this album was so different from the band's previous two releases.

Back in 2001, not long after All Songs Considered started, Bob Boilen and I made what was one of the show's first-ever musical discoveries, a then-new band called The Be Good Tanyas. The trio of young women from Vancouver made incredibly infectious folk with the sweetest harmonies and a swoon-inducing surplus of innocent charm.

We follow Father's Day weekend with a mix of powerful new pop and rock from a lot of incredible women, including "Exhumed," a raging, cathartic song from Zola Jesus, and roaring doom metal from Chelsea Wolfe.

Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle has always been more comfortable with machines than people. It's a dynamic he's well-documented, and even romanticized, in his work, with tales of misfit characters and their troubled relationships with everything from robots to appliances. Perhaps it's because mechanical friendships don't require much of an emotional investment — they're not built on a lot of open and earnest discussions.

You're in a New York apartment, alone on a warm night, hearing the sounds of the city drift up from the streets. Or you're in Paris and part of the noise, moving through the crowded streets and sidewalks, both feeling the weight of the world and a being a part of that weight. Or maybe you've never even seen a large city, and mistake the glowing lights from afar for a mysterious fire.

We're not quite to the halfway point of 2017 and we've already discovered dozens of new artists who've gone on to become a permanent part of our musical lives, from Diet Cig and Charly Bliss to Overcoats, Vagabon, This Is The Kit and many more. We'll define a "new" artist as someone who released their debut full-length in 2017. (If they haven't released a full album, an EP or single can count).

We get right down to business this week with the fantastic, frenetic pop of Guerilla Toss. The New York band has a new album on the way and recently released "Betty Dreams Of Green Men," a cut inspired by alien abduction, addiction and the obsessions that can consume a person's life.

The War On Drugs will release A Deeper Understanding, its fourth full-length, late this summer, coming three years after the band's previous album, Lost In The Dream.

A couple of weeks ago I snuck a Harry Styles cut on the show, to see if I could trick Bob Boilen into loving the One Direction singer's solo effort by not telling him who it was. (It didn't work).

Since releasing his debut album Learning under the name Perfume Genius in 2010, Mike Hadreas and his music have both steadily grown bolder, more daring, more defiant. Over the course of four full-length albums his songs have evolved from intimate piano pieces to grandly orchestrated, stirring pop anthems that often rage against both his inner demons and the social and political injustices Hadreas sees in the world.

"Mom" is one of the most powerful words in any language, able to provoke profoundly emotional reactions from nearly everyone who hears it, from intense love to, well, the extreme opposite of that.

Bob Boilen and I rarely know what each other is going to play before we record the show. This week, Bob didn't even know what he himself was doing because he was too busy to plan ahead.

Update, Mar. 3, 6:49 p.m.: A rep confirmed to NPR that the band has cancelled its upcoming North American tour (dates at the bottom of this article). "Given the circumstances," a statement reads, "we unfortunately have to cancel our upcoming US tour dates. We hope to reschedule these at some point in the future."

The 2015 Sufjan Stevens tour for his crushingly sad and beautiful album Carrie & Lowell produced some of the best live shows of that year, if not this decade. Now the singer is sharing a full video of one of those performances. The video, which includes the entire Carrie & Lowell album and a seven-song encore, was shot Nov. 9, 2015 at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

When you listen to Sylvan Esso singer and lyricist Amelia Meath talk about the band's new album, What Now, you quickly learn how profoundly she's motivated by love. There's the love of magical sounds and the euphoria she feels when music "lifts you off the earth." There's the love for the audience, of connecting with and freeing them through song. And, especially for Meath, there's the love of dance and of feeling the body (literally) become the music.

As the 50th anniversary of the greatest rock album of all time rapidly nears, Capitol Records is sharing a previously unreleased outtake from the Sgt. Pepper's recording sessions. The clip, premiered at The Guardian, is a stripped-down version of the album's opening title cut and includes some fantastic chatter between John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

To be clear, Radiohead did not cover the reggaeton hit "Gasolina" at the band's April 17 show in Berkeley, Calif. But a video that's surfaced online sure makes it seem like they did.

For this week's show, Bob Boilen and I throw open the studio door to welcome a parade of guests from the NPR Music team, each sharing their favorite April releases. This includes Jake Witz, one of our fabulous Spring interns, who has some relatively restrained music from U.K. grime artist Mr. Mitch.

The War On Drugs is sharing its first new music since 2014's well-regarded Lost In The Dream. Clocking in at more than 11-minutes, "Thinking Of A Place" is both epic and wistful, with moody reflections and memories of a time gone by. And what do you know — it also includes some extended guitar shredding.

"Thinking Of A Place" will be a 45 RPM 12" release for Record Store Day this Saturday, April 22.

"Smell The Roses," the first song Roger Waters is sharing from his upcoming album Is This The Life We Really Want?, is a rage against complacency and an elegy to the American dream.

"Wake up and smell the roses," he sings. "There's nothing but screams in the field of dreams. Nothing but hope at the end of the rope."

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