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.

Laura Marling's latest taste from what may be her best album so far is "Wild Fire," a beautiful, breezy reflection on the universal search for identity and purpose. It's an immediately arresting mix of spare, fluttering percussion and gospel harmonies with gently strummed acoustic guitars. Marling lets the song breathe and slowly open up. It feels like the dawn.

The latest single from Bonobo's upcoming album, Migration, is a brooding, four-on-the-floor dance thumper featuring vocals from Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker). At first, "No Reason" seems to drift into focus from another dimension, glittering with Murphy's delicate falsetto over gently arpeggiated synths. But the mood makes a subtle shift toward something darker and edgier once the beat kicks in.

The Joshua Tree, the album that made U2 global megastars, turns 30 this year. To mark the milestone, the band will perform the seminal album in its entirety at several live performances scheduled throughout the year, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo in June.

The Shins are back with the group's first new album since 2012's Port Of Morrow. Heartworms is set to drop on March 10 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. In making the announcement today, the band shared the joyfully infectious pop cut "Name For You" and a lyric video.

Swedish pop artist Jens Lekman is back with his first new album in nearly five years. The singer, known for his darkly comical storytelling, says he'll release the calypso- and disco-inspired Life Will See You Now later this year. In making the announcement he shared the album's first single, "What's That Perfume That You Wear?," a playful, up-tempo tale about lost love and the ways a certain smell can spark a rush of memories.

Bob Boilen is like a child this time of year, his eyes and ears full of wonder, as he traipses through the NPR Music offices, vigorously jingling his collection of sleigh bells. He believes, in his heart, that he's truly getting everyone in the spirit of the holiday season. But it's always been a steady source of irritation for me.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is back with an incredibly infectious new song called "Fireproof." It's the first single from the band's upcoming full-length, The Tourist, due out Feb. 24.

"Fireproof" is a thumping, synth-heavy look at how naive people can be. "I know it's hard to win," sings frontman Alec Ounsworth. "But how could I have thought that we'd ever lose."

The Jesus And Mary Chain will release a new album next March, nearly 20 years after the band's last full-length release, 1998's Munki. The new album is called Damage And Joy, and our first taste of it is the grimly-titled but relatively poppy single, "Amputation."

This week, all the songs I play ended up being about the ways people, particularly women, empower themselves in the face of difficult times. Singer Sam Phillips offers a feast of sound in less than two and a half minutes with "World On Sticks," a song about the indomitable human spirit.

OK Go's latest (and astonishing) video, for the song "The One Moment," took only 4.2 seconds to film. But the whole thing — a series of rapid-fire explosions — was slowed down to fill the four-plus minutes it takes the band to sing the song. Remarkably, like OK Go's previous videos, the group manages to sync the whole thing using... I don't know, math?

If there's a singular message in the latest work from The Avett Brothers, it's this: Love everyone.

Their video for the song "Ain't No Man," released this past summer, challenges preconceived notions about race and religion by observing the way people treat each other at a busy airport.

Brian Eno is back with another ambient record. Called Reflection, it's due out Jan. 1 on Warp Records and consists of a single, 54-minute track. While Eno isn't sharing any samples of Reflection for now, he says it's similar to his 1985 album Thursday Afternoon, a moody, meditative record that was one 60-minute track.

In a prepared statement, Eno describes Reflector as a "generative" work because the sounds "make themselves."

Ty Segall's next album, which will be self-titled, is due out Jan. 27, 2017, on Drag City. It comes just over a year after Segall released his previous full-length, Emotional Mugger.

Shortly after his 82nd birthday, Leonard Cohen sat down with KCRW's Chris Douridas for an interview. The two talked about Cohen's health, the role of religion in his life, his 14th and final album, You Want It Darker, and much more.

The conversation took place at the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles on Oct. 13 as part of a special listening session for You Want It Darker. It's the last interview Cohen gave before his death on November 7.

Last week Bob Boilen and I asked you to share your favorite memories of Pink Floyd and what the band's music has meant to you. It's one of those bands that stirs up powerful feelings.

If you love Pink Floyd like Bob Boilen and I do, chances are you've got a story or two to tell about how the band's music has figured into your life. Maybe it's the first time you heard them, or a live show you saw, or an important friendship that formed over their music. Whatever your story is, we want to hear it.

When Maggie Rogers brought Pharrell to tears with her electro-pop earworm "Alaska" last summer, fans of the viral hit quickly scoured the web for more music from the young musician, but came up mostly empty handed.

Foxygen's next full-length album, Hang, is due out Jan. 20 on Jagjaguwar. In announcing the new album today, the band released its second single, "Follow The Leader," along with a wildly infectious and comical dance video. In it, Foxygen singer Sam France twists, turns and skips through a park in a series of choreographed dance moves, while a group of befuddled friends attempts to keep up with every move.

HBO's new Westworld series is only five episodes deep, but the sci-fi western has already established itself as a reliable source for musical easter eggs. Nearly every episode has featured a player piano in the background clinking out versions of popular rock songs. The slightly out-of-tune instrumentals end up sounding like something Scott Joplin might have played.

If you're looking of a break from the relentless assault of gut-churning news headlines, you've come to the right place! For this week's show I thought I'd send a little bit of good cheer into the world with some big, joyful group sing-alongs that celebrate life and all its gloriousness.

The first burst of light and love comes from the London-based band Crystal Fighters and its anthem to how momentary and magical life is. I follow with Fialta, a group from California with a simple message: We're all in this together.

If you've ever endured time away from someone you love, you know how much of it comes down to simple emotions and math: heartache and counting down the days until you're reunited. That's the premise behind one of the year's most infectious songs, "Emotions And Math," from one of the year's best new artists, Margaret Glaspy.

Now, in a new video for the song, Glaspy takes an office job, where she finds it hard to keep her mind on her work.

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