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.

Our sprint through this week's best new albums includes one of the most ambitious and visionary works The National has produced in its nearly 20-year career, pop wisdom and a call for kindness from Carly Rae Jepsen, the raw and defiant sounds of Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Sidney Madden and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best new albums out on May 17.

Featured Albums:

Our shortlist of the best new albums out this week includes a deeply moving celebration of African American culture and history from the singer Jamila Woods, the sparkling, soul-searching guitar rock of Charly Bliss, composer Holly Herndon's brilliant collaboration with the AI known as "Spawn" and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best new albums out on May 10.

Featured Albums:

  1. Charly Bliss: Young Enough
    Featured Song: "Hard to Believe"

Our shortlist of the best albums out on May 3 includes Vampire Weekend's first new album in six years, life-affirming "pep talks" from Judah & The Lion, the interdimensional sounds of Big Thief's latest album U.F.O.F., the profound lyricism of Nashville singer-songwriter Caroline Spence, former Civil Wars singer Joy Williams and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Lars Gotrich and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the week's best new albums.

Featured Albums:

Our shortlist of must-hear albums this week includes the incredible sonic adventures of Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker), acoustic, instrumental rock from Rodrigo y Gabriela, a byzantine concept album from The Mountain Goats and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Felix Contreras and Stephen Thompson as they run through their picks for the best new releases out on April 26.

Featured Albums:

  1. Nick Murphy: Run Fast, Sleep Naked
    Featured Songs: "Sanity," "Sunlight," "Novocaine and Coca Cola"

The Prince Estate has announced plans to release another album of previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1981 and 1991. The album, titled Originals, will be available June 7 exclusively on Tidal's Hi-Fi subscription tier, with physical copies, downloads and wider streaming services following on June 21. It features 15 demo versions of songs Prince wrote and recorded for other artists, including Sheila E., The Time and Kenny Rogers. Fourteen of the tracks have never been released before.

The Boss is back with his first new studio album in five years. Western Stars is due out June 14 on Columbia Records and, according to a press release announcing the record, will be largely influenced by the Southern California pop sounds of the late '60s and early '70s.

"This record is a return to my solo recordings," Springsteen says in a statement, "featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements. It's a jewel box of a record."

We've been anxiously waiting for Lizzo to drop her debut full-length album ever since she dominated our South by Southwest showcase in 2017. Cuz I Love You is finally here and it's full of the kind of fearless swagger, unapologetic pride and boundless joy that's won over so many fans. We open this week's New Music Friday with just one of the standout cuts, "Juice."

Don't worry! Everything's going to be alright. But if you need more reassurance than that, look no further than "Set of Stairs," from the Amsterdam-based band Pip Blom. It's a burst of frenetic joy to lift you up whenever life deals you a bad hand. Its singular message: You got this!

When singer Norah Jones dropped her much-beloved debut album Come Away With Me in 2002, she won over legions of fans with her soul-soothing croon and blend of jazzy pop and bluesy folk. In more recent years she's explored a much deeper and sometimes darker sonic landscape. You can hear this remarkable range on her latest album, Begin Again, an inspired and often moody collection of songs she wrote and recorded with a number of collaborators, including Jeff Tweedy and Thomas Bartlett.

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Courtney Barnett wants you to feel better – and to understand most of your attempts to chill out and find joy are l

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy is surprising fans with a new album this week. WARMER is due out April 13 and will initially be available on vinyl only as a Record Store Day exclusive limited to 5,000 copies. The album is a sequel to Tweedy's previous full-length, WARM, which came out less than five months ago.

We open this week's New Music Friday with a quick spin of Love Keeps Kicking from the self-described queer, straight edge, vegan, anarchist punk band Martha. One of the week's best guitar rock albums, it's bursting with hooky melodies and memorable meditations on (among other things) the end of times.

This is probably the loosest you'll ever see Weezer. Known for meticulously produced — and electric — live shows, frontman Rivers Cuomo and the rest of the band settled in behind the Tiny Desk for an entirely acoustic set without the in-ear monitors, click track or vocal separation they usually employ to stay locked-in and tight for bigger performances. The result is surprisingly intimate, with songs that feel lived-in and rumpled, like an old flannel shirt from the '90s.

Billie Eilish is already a veteran pop artist at the age of 17, with a clear vision for her sound and image, even if that sound is sinister and the image a bit demented. (Have you seen her videos?) Her brilliant debut full-length, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is finally out and way more cryptic and complicated than the lead-up singles might have suggested.

It's a packed release week with a whole bunch of notable albums to highlight, including the rock guitar heroics on Ex Hex's It's Real, the wistful wisdom of Jenny Lewis, Andrew Bird's "finest work yet," mind-blowing sonics from the genre-bending composers Emily Wells and Lafawndah, the German electronic artist Apparat and much more. Hosts Robin Hilton and Stephen Thompson share their top picks for the best albums out on March 22 on this episode of New Music Friday.

Featured Albums:

When Amanda Palmer heard she'd have around 15 minutes for her Tiny Desk Family Hour performance, she assumed there wouldn't be time for most of the songs on her new album, There Will Be No Intermission, a sprawling masterwork with epic tracks clocking in at 10 minutes or more. So, she showed up with just her ukulele in hand, prepared for a stripped-down, abbreviated set. But when we wheeled out a grand piano just for her – and after I gushed to the crowd about Palmer's brilliant new opus on the nature of humanity called "The Ride" – she decided she had to play it.

We've returned from our weeklong grind through the South by Southwest music festival happy, though a little dazed, with ringing ears, and a whole bunch of incredible discoveries. On this All Songs Considered we run through some of the most memorable music and performances, from the shredded noise rock of Rev Rev Rev and thundering soul of Yola Carter to the Afro-Cuban grooves of Cimafunk and the remarkable voice of Tamino. Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson and I each saw around 100 different shows in just a few short days, way more than we could ever share in a single episode.

This week's somewhat abbreviated edition of New Music Friday includes an ambitious collaboration between Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O and producer Danger Mouse; the British electronic duo The Cinematic Orchestra returns with its first new album in more than a decade, featuring singer Moses Sumney, rapper Roots Manuva and other guests; and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus injects his woozy rock with a strange jolt of electronica. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best new albums out on March 15.

Each year, the buzz in Austin, Texas, at the South By Southwest music festival can reach a deafening pitch. Our NPR Music team is here to help you cut through the noise. Every evening, we'll gather to roundup and recap the best discoveries of the day.

Juice WRLD, the reigning prince of emo rap, is back with a follow up to last year's Goodbye & Good Riddance. Deathrace for Love is bleak, brutal and the rare sequel that lives up to the original. The Oxford rock band Foals takes a big swing in one of the group's most ambitious albums to date; and singer Patty Griffin has a beautiful and profoundly moving, new self-titled album on growing old, the frailty of life and perseverance.

Meg Myers put out one of 2018's most intense and cathartic albums. Take Me to the Disco raged and threw sonic punches at anyone who'd ever attempted to use or abuse her, from former record executives to past lovers. Dressed in a sparkling blue leotard, Myers re-creates that fire and ferocity behind the Tiny Desk, replacing her album's roaring electric guitars and electronics with a pulsing string quartet, piano and brushed drums.

The annual South by Southwest music festival is our personal endurance challenge to discover as many great unknown and often unsigned bands as possible in just one week. To train for the event, Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson and I listen to more than a thousand songs by bands playing the festival, from all over the world, and try to map out a calendar to see our favorites.

Much of the best new music we heard in February was deeply personal, with lots of room for reflection. Ariana Grande delivered the most anticipated album of the month, a highly polished pop diary on the need for hope. On the other end of the sonic spectrum was singer Julia Jacklin's uncluttered call for strength and resilience in a post-Me Too universe that's still very much evolving.

A lot of the songs we loved most in February illuminated some of life's darker or at least more complicated corners. Rapper Quelle Chris pondered America's love affair with guns, while hip-hop artist Mahawam released a vivid meditation on living with HIV. The Brooklyn-based rock group Charly Bliss explored millennial burnout, singer Molly Sarlé preached the importance of embracing disappointment, and Aldous Harding dropped a strangely alluring song called "The Barrel," all about a relationship falling apart.

Our sprint through this week's best new albums includes Grey Area from the UK rapper Little Simz, Weezer's self-titled "Black Album," the foot-stompers of Hozier, country crooner Dee White and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson, Sidney Madden and Jewly Hight as they share their picks for the best albums out on March 1.

Featured Albums:

  • Little Simz: Grey Area
    Featured Song: "Offence"
  • Hand Habits: Placeholder
    Featured Song: "Can't Calm Down"

Our picks for the best albums out this week include an epic treatise on Americanism from Gary Clark Jr., the delicate and beautiful sounds of Julia Jacklin, Atlanta rapper Gunna, a gorgeous study in the healing powers of restraint from Lowland Hum, and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael and Stephen Thompson as they share their top picks for Feb. 22.

Featured Albums

  • Gary Clark Jr., This Land
    Featured Song: "Gotta Get Into Something"

Our list of the best albums out this week includes the first new music from funk and R&B legend Chaka Khan in 12 years, the cinematic, transporting sounds of Yann Tiersen, bubblegum punk from Sir Babygirl and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Lauren Onkey and Stephen Thompson as they share their top picks for Feb. 15.

Featured Albums:

  1. Chaka Khan: Hello Happiness
    Featured Songs: "Like Sugar" and "Too Hot"
  2. RY X: Unfurl
    Featured Song: "Untold"

Joel and Ethan Coen's film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs takes some dark and violent turns over the course of six, Western-themed vignettes. But its opening story, about the film's affable (if deadly) namesake, offers a more comical take on the genre's most popular tropes, particularly a high-noon gunfight between the white-clad Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson) and black-clad villain The Kid, portrayed by Old Crow Medicine Show singer Willie Watson.

This week's show is made possible by a generous amount of existential anxiety. This includes the ego-destroying rock anthem "I Don't Matter At All," from the Toronto band Pkew Pkew Pkew, and an epic life manifesto from Amanda Palmer called "The Ride" – a ten-minute oration about the crippling effects of unbridled and rampant fear.

Our list of the best albums out this week includes delicate piano pieces from Hauschka, the brilliantly burning rock of Bob Mould, songs inspired by the film Roma, Mercury Rev's remake of Bobbie Gentry's country opera The Delta Sweete, and much more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Felix Contreras, Tom Huizenga and Stephen Thompson as they sprint through their top picks for Feb. 8.

Featured Albums:

  1. Bob Mould: Sunshine Rock
    Featured Song: "Sunshine Rock"

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