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 Considered
8:28 am
Tue July 16, 2013

New Video From David Bowie: 'Valentine's Day'

Courtesy of the artist

The latest in a series of videos for David Bowie's album The Next Day isn't a big budget spectacle, but it is thrilling and intense. The video, for the song "Valentine's Day," places Bowie in some sort of industrial, concrete warehouse with just his guitar. But Bowie's penetrating gaze and gritty delivery turns an otherwise benign performance into a chilling scene.

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All Songs Considered
1:24 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Question Of The Week: What Music Will You Be Nostalgic For In 20 Years?

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 5:26 am

Earlier this week week we asked you to look ahead 20 years from now, and guess what music from today you'll be the most nostalgic about. There were some great suggestions, including Wilco, Outkast and Sufjan Stevens.

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All Songs Considered
12:05 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Question Of The Week: What's Your Karaoke Jam?

Rick Diamond Getty Images for ACM

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:21 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:09 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Question Of The Week: What's Your Stereo?

We asked readers what system they listen on, here is reader Andrew Limpic's music listening set up.
NPR Audience

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 6:55 pm

My first stereo had a built-in 8-track player, a turntable and a radio. My parents bought it at a local discount store for what probably seemed like a fortune to them at the time, and I used it for years. My mom eventually sold it at a garage sale. It wasn't that nice of course, but I'd love to have it back.

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All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Thu June 20, 2013

First Watch: Majical Cloudz, 'Bugs Don't Buzz'

Cockroaches and beetles slither through a miniature world in a new video from Majical Cloudz.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 6:05 am

I won't lie to you. The new video from Majical Cloudz, for the Canadian electro-pop duo's song "Bugs Don't Buzz," is kinda gross. There are scenes so strange and slimy, I'm not even sure what's going on. But, set to what is an undeniably gorgeous, if plaintive love song, the imagery from director Gordon von Steiner is strangely transfixing. I couldn't stop watching.

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All Songs Considered
8:27 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Question Of The Week: What Veteran Band Should Have A Comeback?

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 12:29 pm

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All Songs Considered
7:27 am
Thu June 13, 2013

First Watch: Low, 'Plastic Cup'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 8:01 am

"Plastic Cup," the moody opening cut to Low's latest album, The Invisible Way, recalls a friend's substance abuse, a lifetime of dependence on others and a soul-crushing future of pointless drug tests. But in a strange new video for the song, director Ryley Fogg takes those themes in a dark and curious direction. Creepy, hooded figures intercut with black-and-white images of the band performing in period costumes.

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All Songs Considered
1:11 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Question Of The Week: What's Your Favorite Song Of 2013 (So Far)?

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:03 am

Earlier this week, while we were prepping our list of favorite songs and albums of 2013 (so far), we asked you to tell us your own No. 1 track for the first half of the year.

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All Songs Considered
11:03 am
Mon June 10, 2013

First Watch: Young Galaxy, 'New Summer'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 2:01 pm

The latest video for the Canadian electro-pop band Young Galaxy is a study in stark, disturbing contrasts. "Here it comes again, the beautiful, warm weather," sings frontwoman Catherine McCandless, just as all hell breaks loose.

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All Songs Considered
1:03 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

First Watch: Grant Olney, 'Not From Body'

A tiny owl tries to find its way in the world, in a new animated video from singer-songwriter Grant Olney.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 7:15 pm

When singer-songwriter Grant Olney started working on his latest album, Hypnosis For Happiness, he never imagined it'd take six years to finish. But after laying down the first tracks in 2006, Olney left for the U.K. and the Netherlands to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics. After finishing a 300-page dissertation on something called "high dimensional geometry," Olney returned to music and found himself reflecting on identity, friendship and what it means to really know someone. It's a knotty mix of emotions and ideas he tackles in a touching new video for the song "Not From Body."

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All Songs Considered
11:51 am
Fri May 24, 2013

What Does It Mean To Listen?

Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock uses a massive ear trumpet to really listen.
Wendy Lynch

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 1:00 pm

We got a lot of thoughtful comments and replies from readers this week when we asked whether they really listen to full albums from start to finish. Much of the discussion focused on the ways we listen and what constitutes actually engaging with an entire album in a full-on listening, as opposed to merely having it on.

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All Songs Considered
11:08 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Do You Really Listen To Full Albums?

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 7:17 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:34 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

First Watch: Sam Amidon, 'As I Roved'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 10:30 am

Vermont folksinger Sam Amidon says he intentionally borrowed lines from older songs for his new mountain ballad "As I Roved Out." The result is an erratic narrative, played out brilliantly in an absorbing (and comical) new video about a

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All Songs Considered
1:09 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

First Watch: Exitmusic, 'White Noise'

Courtesy of the artist

Exitmusic's Passages was one of 2012's darkest and most arresting ambient rock albums. Now, the band returns with an equally transfixing new video for one of the album's standout tracks, "White Noise."

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All Songs Considered
1:29 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

First Watch: Telekinesis, 'Empathetic People'

Scene from the Telekinesis video "Empathetic People."
Courtesy of the artist

In the latest video from Seattle-based pop masters Telekinesis, for the song "Empathetic People," frontman Michael Benjamin Lerner ambles into an abandoned record-pressing factory and gets it running again. It's a curious glimpse into one of the last gasps of industry keeping music tethered to the physical world.

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All Songs Considered
11:44 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Question Of The Week: Do You Hear Music When You Dream?

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 6:13 pm

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All Songs Considered
11:53 am
Mon April 29, 2013

How Are Your Music Tastes Changing As You Get Older?

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:40 pm

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All Songs Considered
12:30 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

First Watch: Yellow Red Sparks, 'A Play To End All Plays'

Scene from the Yellow Red Sparks video, for the song "A Play To End All Plays
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 1:47 pm

The songs of Yellow Red Sparks, a folk-pop trio based in California, are twisted tales told through cinematic, often epic orchestrations. In the group's spectacular and creepy new video, for the song "A Play To End All Plays," a couple's failed relationship is acted out like an old circus sideshow before a finger-wagging audience. Frontman Joshua Hanson, who appears as the play's host, indicts the lovers with a surprisingly infectious melody and old-timey instrumentation.

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All Songs Considered
10:52 am
Mon April 22, 2013

What Are Your Top Five Album Covers?

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:24 pm

This past week we lost one of the greatest album cover art designers of all time. Britain's Storm Thorgerson, who died last Thursday, was just 69 years old. He'd spent more than 40 years designing and orchestrating some of the most iconic album covers of all time. Even if you don't know the name Storm Thorgerson, you know his work. That prism on the cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon? That was his.

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All Songs Considered
12:52 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

NPR Is Relocating: What's The Best Song About Moving On?

Twenty years after if first opened, NPR's old headquarters is being torn down. The network is moving to a new building at 1111 North Capitol street NE.
Marie McGory NPR

Editor's note: NPR is moving from its longtime home of 635 Mass. Ave. in Washington, D.C. to new digs a few blocks away. All the planning and packing has made NPR Music's Robin Hilton a bit reflect-y on all the time he's spent with the old building.

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All Songs Considered
2:21 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

First Watch: STRFKR, 'Beach Monster'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 5:20 pm

The new video for STRFKR's song "Beach Monster" is an absolute horror show disguised as a breezy day at the sea. The band members, decked out in matching Buddy Holly suits and glasses, play against an blank blue background while staring blankly into the camera. The scene is intercut with a smiling couple at the beach with two children who draw in the sand and uncover something deadly.

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All Songs Considered
12:48 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Song Premiere: Emily Wells, 'Los Angeles'

Courtesy of the artist

Singer and violinist Emily Wells was one of our favorite discoveries at last year's South by Southwest music festival. Her 2012 album Mama was a surprising and beautiful mix of hip-hop beats and strings, with folk-flavored pop arrangements. Now Wells is back with a re-imagined, all-acoustic version of Mama, with the songs stripped bare and her voice more fragile than ever.

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All Songs Considered
7:51 am
Thu April 4, 2013

First Watch: Junip, "Your Life, Your Call"

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 8:40 am

I love the crazy surprises you get when two or more artists get together and turn their creative ideas over to one another. When the band Junip wrote the song "Your Life, Your Call," frontman José González says, it was meant to be an unambiguous meditation on growing up, moving on and taking responsibility for your life. But in the hands of video director Mikel Cee Karlsson, the song, from Junip's new self-titled album, takes on a whole new (and disturbing) meaning.

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All Songs Considered
1:39 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Your Picks For The Best Headphones

 

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 9:59 am

We got a lot of great suggestions when we asked readers to tell us their picks for the perfect pair of headphones last week. We also learned a lot. For example, you all know way more about this than I do.

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All Songs Considered
11:17 am
Tue April 2, 2013

First Watch: Keaton Henson, 'You'

Courtesy of the artist

The Keaton Henson who appears on the new album Birthdays is an avowed hermit with a profoundly broken heart. He also has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard. The 24 year-old singer from London, who says he rarely leaves his bedroom, bares his wrecked emotional remains in an arresting new video for the song "You."

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All Songs Considered
11:07 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Question Of The Week: What Is The Perfect Pair Of Headphones?

An American zoo tried experiments of playing music to animals to see if it subdued them.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 12:17 pm

I've been buying headphones for 30 years now, have owned more they I can possibly remember and still haven't found the perfect pair. I must chew through one or two sets a year in a never-ending, desperate (and futile) search to find the right acoustics, feel and functionality. I've tried in-ear buds, over-the-ear hooks, full-sized cans and wireless. Some sound great but fit horribly. Or the fit is perfect but the sound too tinny, or the controls don't quite work. The truth is, I hate headphones, especially because I hate being tethered to my stereo. It's like wearing a leash.

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All Songs Considered
12:24 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

First Watch: Julianna Barwick, 'Offing'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 3:38 pm

In a way, singer Julianna Barwick's ethereal voice and seemingly shapeless songs are a form of abstract art: colorful and curious, with lines that drift and flow in unexpected but beautiful directions. For her latest video, and a new song called "Offing," Barwick finds commonality in architect Philip Johnson's Glass House and a strange sculpture from artist Ken Price. Barwick performs alongside the sculpture for a live audience, filling the Glass House with layers of her sublime voice.

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All Songs Considered
12:46 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Our SXSW Plans: Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Youth Lagoon, More

Mito Habe-Evans NPR Music

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 11:03 am

Get some earplugs and a case of your favorite caffeinated beverage ready: The annual sensory-overload-joy-fest known as South by Southwest is almost here. Bob Boilen, Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson and I, along with a small army of other NPR Music peeps, will be there next week for the whole thing. Whether you'll be in Austin for the festival, or watching and listening on our website, we hope you'll join us for these events:


WEDNESDAY, March 13

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All Songs Considered
1:39 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

First Watch: The Zolas, 'Escape Artist'

Courtesy of the artist

In "Escape Artist," the new video from Canadian pop duo The Zolas, the band plays around with audience expectations about race, culture and sexuality. As frontman Zach Gray sings about his mysterious alter ego, a group of kids kick around their neighborhood, playing basketball, chatting up girls and passing the hours. One of them clearly feels like an outsider.

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All Songs Considered
1:37 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

It's Your Favorite Song: Did You Get It From A Movie?

Promotional poster for the 1999 film Rushmore.
Courtesy of the Touchstone Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 12:31 pm

I knew I had a rare gem of a song when even Bob Boilen couldn't place it, especially since it was by The Kinks, one of his favorite bands. The cut was "Nothing In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl" and I'd discovered it in the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies, Rushmore.

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