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.

This week's puzzler draws mostly on Top 40 hits and as such, should be pretty easy for some careful listeners. Then again, every time I say that people tank ... just like they get near-perfect scores whenever I think it's a particularly hard week. So what do I know?

I do know that Drum Fill Friday is going on a brief hiatus after this week for some technical maintenance work. But we hope to back in a few weeks.

This is a video built on surprises and unusual juxtapositions, so it's hard to say much without ruining the pleasure of watching them unfold. But suffice to say, "Norwegian Black Metal," by the L.A.-based electro-pop group Superhumanoids, is both comical and heartbreaking — and worth multiple views.

The members of Nashville's slacker rock group Bully could not be more emotionally detached and dismissive than they are in a new video for the song "Too Tough." Fronted by singer Alicia Bognanno, the band members plod their way through the song in a nondescript suburban living room, completely distracted and disinterested in their own performance. Drummer Stewart Copeland intermittently grows bored and stops playing all together.

On paper, the musical Hamilton sounds like a joke. But as NPR Music's Timmhotep Aku tells us in this week's +1 podcast, "Maybe you shouldn't judge things on face value."

When a legendary band returns after a long hiatus the results are often cringe-worthy—or mixed, at best. To be fair, it's nearly impossible to recapture the kind of magic that makes legends to begin with. But that's not the case with a surprise new album from the Electric Light Orchestra.

Due out Nov. 13, Alone In The Universe is ELO's first album of all-new songs in nearly 15 years, and only the band's second since 1986. "When I Was A Boy" is the opening track and first single.

Ian Chang is a gigantically talented drummer. You may have seen him recently in a Tiny Desk performance with the band Son Lux, but he's also known for his work with the bands Landlady and Body Language.

On this week's +1 podcast, we go to Nashville where host Bob Boilen has been making new discoveries at the Americana Music Festival, and attended the Americana Music Awards ceremony. Boilen chats with co-host Robin Hilton about this year's three biggest winners: Lucinda Williams, Sturgill Simpson and Shakey Graves.

The look Born Ruffians frontman Luke Lalonde gives at the end of the band's latest video says it all: Things are rarely as awesome as you think they'll be. Or, more to the point, it's best to be careful what you wish for.

Singer Sharon Van Etten has turned Donovan's gently strummed acoustic song, "Teen Angel" into a powerful, electrified ballad, with some of the most potent vocals she's ever recorded. The cover, which appears on a new Donovan tribute album, is still relatively spare, yet Van Etten injects it with an extra jolt of heartache and longing as she belts out the chorus.

Gary Clark Jr.'s latest video, for the song "Church," is a sweet and soulful portrait of a man trying to come to terms with his own missteps and a lifetime of regret. Directed by photographer and filmmaker Danny Clinch, the black and white video is a simple but deeply moving look at the singer as he makes a plea for strength to be the man he knows he can never be.

This week's show is split much like some of our favorite records: The A-side is loud and fast. The B-side is slow and quiet.

What can I say? You caught me in a good mood and I'm feeling generous. This week's Drum Fill Friday is a lowly one out of five stars for difficulty. I'd give it zero stars, but there's one song that I admit not everyone on the planet has probably heard, though they should. I'll leave it to you to decide which one I'm thinking of. And as always, good luck, careful listeners.

This week's episode of All Songs Considered is a journey of sound. Bob has a new favorite noise app, so he and Robin Hilton go on a sonic expedition that includes a spring walk, a gaggle of purring kittens, and a rolling rain storm (thunder optional). As if kittens weren't enough, Bob and Robin also have six new songs to share, including a British band, a Scandinavian band that sounds British, and an American band that sounds Scandinavian.

This week's Drum Fill Friday comes courtesy of Shaun Fleming, drummer for Foxygen and frontman for the band Diane Coffee. Fleming has an unabashed love of late-'60s psychedelic rock and pop, and you can hear as much in the fills he picked here. But he also threw in a few surprises from the '70s and '80s. I'd give it three out of five stars for difficulty.

Most of the bands that play the Tiny Desk strip down their sound to accommodate the limited space and unconventional acoustics of an office. But Son Lux chose to do the exact opposite. Normally a trio of guitar, drums and keys based out of New York, the band blew up its sound for this performance, adding off-duty, civilian horn players from the United States Marine Band.

Bob Boilen is back after several weeks for this week's episode of All Songs Considered, and at least part of this week's show is Robin coming to terms with Bob's new beard.