Robin Hilton

Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.

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, Georgia.

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.

Guitar rock is alive and well in the bruising, stadium-sized anthems of Sheer Mag. We kick off this week's New Music Friday with a spin of the Philadelphia-based band's sophomore full-length, A Distant Call. The classic R&B singer Raphael Saadiq is back with his wildest, most ambitious and unforgettable album so far, Jimmy Lee, named after his brother who died of an overdose in the 1990s. The hip-hop boy band BROCKHAMPTON has its fifth album of the past two years, a weird and wonderful genre-buster called Ginger.

Bob Boilen and I are back together again to share some of the phenomenal new music we've been hearing, starting with Brittany Howard's stirring and inspired "He Loves Me," from her upcoming solo debut Jaime. She named the album after her sister who passed away when they were both teenagers. The music is a celebration of the human spirit.

Sleater-Kinney took a lot of chances on its latest album, The Center Won't Hold, upending its much beloved sound to experiment with strange sonics, dark textures and surprising forms. The result is one of the most adventurous, exciting – and best – albums the band has ever made. We open this week's New Music Friday with a look at how and why The Center Won't Hold works and what the recent departure of drummer Janet Weiss means for the band at this point in its quarter-century long career.

Well before arriving for this performance, the three guys in half•alive asked for the exact dimensions of the space behind Bob Boilen's desk. Known for their live shows, with elaborate, synchronized dancing and costume changes, the group naturally wondered how they'd pull everything off in such a cozy space.

Note: With hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton away this week, we've got an encore presentation of The Worst Songs Of All Time, from Feb. 2014.


Guitarist, actor, writer (and former Monitor Mix blogger) Carrie Brownstein joins us, along with NPR Music's Stephen Thompson, to do something we don't normally do: Talk about the songs we really, really don't like.

Spoon is back — with a greatest hits album. Leading off this week's New Music Friday, Everything Hits At Once is a band-curated alternative to algorithm-manufactured playlists, with a stellar new track ("No Bullets Spent') thrown in.

Nearly 40 years into their career, The Flaming Lips remain remarkably ageless and endlessly creative. They return this week with another heady, psychedelic pop record inspired by a surreal art installation by frontman Wayne Coyne. On this week's New Music Friday, we climb inside the band's kaleidoscopic new record, The King's Mouth.

Wilco has announced it'll release the band's 11th studio album later this year. Drawing its title from the poetry of Friedrich Schiller — and Beethoven's Ninth symphony — Wilco's Ode to Joy will feature what frontman Jeff Tweedy calls "really big, big folk songs," including the album's first single, "Love is Everywhere (Beware)."

It's been eight years since Ed Sheeran released his 2011, career-launching EP, No. 5 Collaborations Project. Now his No. 6 Collaborations Project has arrived and it's a features-heavy flex that shows the singer can pretty much work with anyone, from the country rock of Chris Stapleton to Eminem, 50 Cent and Skrillex. We give a listen on this week's New Music Friday along with K.R.I.T. IZ HERE, Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T.'s followup to his 2010 mixtape K.R.I.T.

For the past year, NPR has been taking a deep look at American anthems and all the forms they can take. These are the songs that unite us, inspire us or say something about what it means to be an American — songs as traditional as Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," or as defiant as Public Enemy's "Fight the Power."

After giving us a series of baffling ads in the London Tube and the back pages of the Dallas Observer, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke finally released his third solo album, ANIMA, on Thursday — meaning you won't have to listen to "Not The News" on speakerphone anymore. On this week's New Music Friday, we dive into Yorke's vivid dreamscape and its accompanying film, as well as The Black Keys' electrifying Let's Rock (their first record in five years), Freddie Gibbs and Madlib's fresh collab Bandana and more.

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Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard will release her first-ever solo album later this summer.

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Hobo Johnson and The Lovemakers, the comical rap-rock group from Sacramento and former

The 20-year old Atlanta rapper Lil Nas X has been riding a major hype wave since his self-released single "Old Town Road" blew up the Internet and multiple music charts. (It's in its eleventh week on top of Billboard's Hot 100). Now he's on Columbia Records and his debut EP has finally dropped. Is he a one-hit wonder or does he have more surprises for his fans?

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The latest video from Sharon Van Etten finds the singer-songwriter wandering the streets of a strange and empty cit

Spoon has dropped its first new song since the 2017 album Hot Thoughts. "No Bullets Spent" is classic Spoon, with crisp guitars, spare beats and frontman Britt Daniel's cryptic observations, this time on youth and coming of age in a world plagued by gun violence and economic inequality. "You got an education," sings Daniel. "Don't know what you got 'til you're 22 / Got a mortgage hung around your neck." Repeatedly he pleas, "What we need now is an accident / No one to blame and no bullets spent."

Your picks for the best new artists of 2019 (so far) include a lot of bands and musicians we've been following for a while – Maggie Rogers, Stella Donnelly, Nilüfer Yanya and Jade Bird have all been releasing music for several years – but they didn't drop an official full-length debut until this year.

New Music Friday

Jun 17, 2019

Every Friday is a gift. You made it to the end of the week, you get paid and hundreds of albums and singles are released. While we can't take credit for the first two accomplishments, All Songs Considered host Robin Hilton is here with members of the NPR Music team to guide you through the essential music out each Friday.

It's the podcast... as a playlist! For nearly two decades, All Songs Considered has treated music discovery as a mission, to share in the joy of new artists and old favorites. Updated weekly with songs featured on the show.

Stream: Spotify, Apple Music.

It's been a crazy-packed week of surprise singles, with new tracks dropping from Charli XCX, Mac Miller's first posthumous verse (with Anderson .Paak's Free Nationals) and country singer Sturgill Simpson's "The Dead Don't Die," a song he wrote

It's a packed release week, starting with Western Stars, Bruce Springsteen's lush and loving ode to mid-'60s orchestral pop. The metal band Baroness ventures into prog-rock territory with its most ambitiously artful release to date, while British spoken word artist Kate Tempest takes listeners on a head-spinning journey into the heart of modern anxiety. All of those, plus the most joyful album to date from Bill Callahan, DMV rapper Goldink and more.

Radiohead has officially released 18 hours of demos and outtakes recorded between 1995 and 1998 during the band's OK Computer sessions, after the tapes were reportedly stolen and leaked online.

The midyear point is a good time to pause and take stock of all the great new music that's come out, which usually includes releases from a whole bunch of new and emerging artists. We'd like to know who your favorite new band or musician is in 2019, so far. We'll define a "new artist" as someone who released their debut, full-length album in the first half of the year. (If they don't yet have a full-length, their first EP or single will do.)

Our shortlist for the best new albums out this week includes the roots-rock duo Ida Mae, a stirring gospel record from disco legend Gloria Gaynor, the ruminative rock of Palehound, an ode to the African diaspora from Santana, a collaboration between Stef Chura and Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Felix Contreras, Marissa Lorusso and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best releases of June 7.

Featured Albums:

Bon Iver is back with its first new recorded music in three years. The band this morning dropped two new songs with lyric videos. The first, "Hey, Ma," is a glittering remembrance of childhood and a mother's love. "Tall time to call your ma," sings Justin Vernon over faded home videos of his family. "I was tokin' on dope / I hoped it all won't go in a minute / With the past that you know."

Our list of the best new albums out this week includes Kishi Bashi's moving remembrance of Japanese internment camps during World War II, a sometimes surreal but lucid dream from R&B singer Raveena, stark solo piano pieces from the electronic artist Eluvium, veteran of the U.K. grime scene Skepta and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Tom Huizenga, Sidney Madden and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best new albums out on May 31.

Featured Albums

Sufjan Stevens is celebrating Pride Month (which begins June 1) with the release of two new songs. The first, "Love Yourself" is based on a sketch Stevens originally wrote and recorded in 1996. "Love, can you love yourself," Stevens sings in a euphoric chorus. "Show me everything, every reason to believe in yourself."

In the summer of 1973, Carole King was at the peak of her popularity and influence. She had ushered in a new era of singer-songwriters that dominated popular music; Tapestry, which she'd dropped two years earlier, was still a top-selling album, well on its way to becoming one of the most-loved and best-selling albums of all time. King had also just released Fantasy, a thematic album recorded with a jazz-funk band, and embarked on her first-ever live concert performance outside of the United States.

Rhye has built its reputation on crooning, soft-focus love ballads. But on the band's latest release, Spirit, singer Mike Milosh offers something unexpected: a set of downcast, solo piano instrumentals. On this week's All Songs Considered we hear the stark and beautifully gloomy cut "Malibu Nights."

Our shortlist of the best albums out this week includes a stirring call for social justice from soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples, rapper YG's powerful remembrance of Nipsey Hussle and the first new release in six years from lo-fi rock veterans Sebadoh. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Sidney Madden and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the most essential albums dropping on May 24.

Featured Albums:

  1. Mavis Staples: We Get By
    Featured Song: "Sometime"

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