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.

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All Songs Considered
1:29 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, With Purple's Hanna Brewer

Purple's Hanna Brewer laying down the party-rock beats.
Roger Ho Courtesy of the artist

This week's Drum Fill Friday comes from Guest Quizmaster Hanna Brewer, drummer for the Texas party-rock group Purple. The group is known for its rowdy live shows and healthy sense of humor, and is currently on tour for its debut album, (409).

Brewer, who also sings for Purple, shared a range of her own influences for this week's puzzler, from hip-hop to reggae, rock and pop. I'd give it three drum sticks out of five for difficulty. As always, good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs Considered
11:38 am
Fri May 15, 2015

All Songs +1: How Music Can Really Save Your Life

While they're not splitting open a person's chest and massaging their heart back to life, musicians and the songs they make may actually be saving lives.

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All Songs Considered
4:52 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

All Songs At 15: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah In A 2006 Concert

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in an early 2006 publicity photo.
Stephane De Sakutin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 5:08 pm

When Clap Your Hands Say Yeah released its self-titled debut record in 2005, it became one of the first albums to break big because of the Internet. The band recorded and released it on its own, without any label support, and shared it on the group's website, where fans picked it up and quickly spread the word.

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All Songs Considered
2:58 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

All Songs Considered: From Perfect Pop Anthems To Saxophone Punk

Clockwise from upper left: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, The Mynabirds, Nate Ruess, Death And Vanilla
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 3:16 pm

On our show this week, bigger is better. We start with a pop anthem and feature a set of artists all leaning into or newly discovering their boldest, most attention-grabbing music yet. Some, as in the case of a frontman gone solo and a bilingual saxophone-heavy punk band, deliver precisely the momentous sounds we'd expect. Others used the pull of memory, a desperate four-month stretch of insomnia, or a single shared microphone and two minutes of trippy ambience to level up their sonic ambitions.

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All Songs Considered
5:12 am
Sat May 9, 2015

What Song Makes You Cry Every Time?

Originally published on Sat May 9, 2015 12:35 pm

This week Bob Boilen and I and a handful of other people from NPR Music got to see Sufjan Stevens in concert. It was a life-changing performance — one we'll all remember for many years.

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All Songs Considered
2:15 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

All Songs +1: Songs That Remind You Of Mom

The song that reminds host Bob Boilen the most of his mom is Shirley Temple singing "The Good Ship Lollipop."
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Sat May 9, 2015 12:22 am

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All Songs Considered
11:10 am
Thu May 7, 2015

What Song Reminds You Of Your Mom?

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 2:45 pm

Mother's Day is back again (it's this coming Sunday) to remind you to do something nice for your mom. But maybe you don't need a commercial holiday to think about your mother and all she's done (or hasn't done) for you. Maybe all it takes is a song. If so, we want to know what it is. What song reminds you of your mother every time you hear it? Tell us in the form below. We'll talk more about it and make a playlist of some of the picks in this week's Plus One podcast.

All Songs Considered
10:47 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Songs We Love: Sharon Van Etten, 'Just Like Blood'

Sharon Van Etten
Laura Crosta

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 2:19 pm

Sharon Van Etten could sing the instruction manual for a dishwasher and make it sound like lyrical poetry. Over the course of four full-lengths, her voice has only evolved and grown both bolder and more nuanced. Van Etten plays every word like an instrument, bending one note into the next with a woozy purr that's sometimes sensual, sometimes heartbreaking but always arresting.

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All Songs Considered
12:41 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Songs We Love: Pale Honey, 'Over Your Head'

Pale Honey's self-titled debut album is out now.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 2:20 pm

Tuva Lodmark and Nella Daltrey, the pair of 22-year-old Swedes who together make up the minimalist-rock duo Pale Honey, have been making music together since elementary school. Their latest music is quite spare – they turn it up every now and then with some great distortion, but usually it's simple, propulsive synth lines paired with strummed guitar and an understated beat. They remind me of The xx with a slightly elevated pulse.

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All Songs Considered
12:33 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Songs We Love: Jeen, 'Everywhere I Go'

Jeen O'Brien's debut solo album, Tourist, is out June 30th.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 2:20 pm

Singer Jeen O'Brien has been around for a while, making music with a number of artists. She and Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene are in a band together called Cookie Duster. Don't ask me what a cookie duster is — I have no idea.

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All Songs Considered
2:30 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

All Songs: Nine Creative Musicians You Should Know

Clockwise from upper left: Django Django, Farao, Pale Honey, The Staves, Tony Allen
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 3:40 pm

This week on All Songs Considered, we grapple with the alchemy of creation — the myriad ways a musician gets from blank page and empty studio to a full sound and lyrics that ring true. We were inspired in part by a show Bob saw recently by Magnetic Fields front man Stephin Merritt, where he performed 26 songs, each based on a letter of the alphabet. (Merritt, whose projects are often governed by external limitations, claims that his best-known project, 1999's monumental triple album 69 Love Songs, took him only a year to write.)

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All Songs Considered
9:41 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Son Lux's New Video Is Kinda Mind-Blowing

A still from The Made Shop's stop-motion video for "Change Is Everything" by Son Lux.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 10:34 am

It's hard to get your head around the amount of work it must have taken to make the new video for Son Lux's "Change Is Everything." Conceived and produced by The Made Shop, the whole thing was painstakingly pieced together entirely with a foam white board, a whole bunch of map pins and old-school stop motion animation.

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All Songs Considered
3:09 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, For May 1

Steve Gadd performs live in 1980.
Ed Perlstein Redferns/Getty Images

Last week's Drum Fill Friday was a tough one: I'd give it four out of five stars for difficulty. One thing that's nice about the tougher games is that they can turn you on to some great songs and bands you've never heard before. That said, I tamed this week's puzzler a bit — more like two out of five stars — so hopefully you'll be a little more familiar with the fills, while still feeling challenged. As always, good luck, careful listeners!

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All Songs Considered
2:10 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

All Songs At 15: Stephin Merritt Writes And Records A Song In Two Days

Stephin Merritt records a Project Song for NPR.
NPR

This past week we held a listening party in Denver, and one of the songs we played for the crowd was Stephin Merrit's "Book Of Love," from his album 69 Love Songs, by The Magnetic Fields. Our panelist, Amelia Mason, writer for WBUR's The ARTery, called it a perfect song, and many of us in the room agreed.

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All Songs Considered
1:10 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

What Song Did You Turn To This Week?

Clockwise from upper left: A woman faces riot police in Baltimore (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images); A woman and child sit amid earthquake ruble in Nepal (Omar Havana/Getty Images); Demonstrators outside the supreme court (Drew Angerer/Getty)
Getty Images

All Songs is a music podcast, and we like to have fun. But music can speak to significant political, cultural and social events that can be challenging to process on their own. Songs can spark a protest or offer peace of mind, or just be close companions.

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All Songs TV
11:36 am
Tue April 28, 2015

First Watch: Benjamin Clementine, 'Nemesis'

Singer and pianist Benjamin Clementine in a scene from his new video for the song "Nemesis."
Courtesy of the artist

After surviving homelessness, poverty and years of busking to get noticed, Paris-based singer Benjamin Clementine has come to appreciate life's golden rule. "Treat others the way you want to be treated," he sings on his stirring piano ballad "Nemesis." "Remember your days are full in number."

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All Songs Considered
2:33 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, With Cayetana's Kelly Olsen

Kelly Olsen at the kit for the Philadelphia-based rock trio Cayetana, performing at NPR Music's CMJ music festival show.
Loren Wohl for NPR

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 3:46 pm

This week's guest Quizmaster is Kelly Olsen, drummer for the Philadelphia-based rock trio Cayetana. This is one of our favorite new bands of the past year. We featured Cayetana in a live concert webcast from New York during last fall's CMJ music festival, and most recently for their video for the song "Scott Get The Van, I'm Moving."

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All Songs Considered
12:16 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

All Songs +1: Why We Like The Music We Like

Guests hold up ratings cards at an All Songs Considered listening party in Boston.
Kelly Davidson for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 3:36 pm

What goes on in your brain when you hear a new song? Is there a formula for what makes a perfect pop song? What's better, something brand new, or something familiar? It's nearly impossible to completely explain or understand why we like the music we like. But Susan Rogers, a music cognition expert and associate professor of music production and engineering at the Berklee College of Music, gets closer to making sense of it than we've heard before.

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All Songs Considered
11:15 am
Thu April 23, 2015

All Songs At 15: From 2008, Songs Of Hope And Change

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.

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