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.

Back in 2001, not long after All Songs Considered started, Bob Boilen and I made what was one of the show's first-ever musical discoveries, a then-new band called The Be Good Tanyas. The trio of young women from Vancouver made incredibly infectious folk with the sweetest harmonies and a swoon-inducing surplus of innocent charm.

For this week's show, Bob Boilen and I throw open the studio door to welcome a parade of guests from the NPR Music team, each sharing their favorite April releases. This includes Jake Witz, one of our fabulous Spring interns, who has some relatively restrained music from U.K. grime artist Mr. Mitch.

So I took last Friday off to clean out my garage and ended up using the time to listen to the new Kendrick record, DAMN. over and over again. It was a glorious, uninterrupted stretch of several hours, but even that wasn't enough to really understand everything he covers on it. DAMN. is dense, packed with religious imagery, deep thoughts on race, fame and identity, and a whole lot of personal stories and memories. Those are some initial observations.

Singer Kevin Morby is back with a followup to last year's much beloved full-length Singing Saw. The new album is called City Music and is due out June 16 on Dead Oceans. Morby has also shared the record's first single and lyric video, the moody and transfixing "Come To Me Now."

When Bob Boilen and I sat down to record this week's podcast, we were a little bleary-eyed after staying up late the night before to see the The Flaming Lips' show at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C. But — between the band's confetti cannons, laser light show and the electric, rainbow-colored unicorn that frontman Wayne Coyne rode into the audience (I'm not making that up) — it was well worth the loss of sleep.

"I don't want to be the kind / struck by fear, to run and hide / I'll do better next time."

The more I hear from Laura Marling's upcoming album, Semper Femina, the more I'm convinced, over a career of intimate and beautiful work, that it's the most inspired, beautiful and fully realized thing she's done. The latest cut she's sharing from the record is "Next Time," a perfectly rendered vignette that captures the moment when solitude can lead to enlightenment.

On this week's +1 podcast, singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten talks about how and why she made the surprising decision to take an acting role on the Netflix series The OA.

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.

Do you ever want to hear another rock guitar solo again? That's where the fight began. Robin played a song with a lot of guitar wankery by the band Major Stars. He loved it and I frankly couldn't wait for it to end. It got me wondering: Is this sort of music even relevant in 2016?

Singer Tom Brosseau's latest video, for hew new song "You Can't Stop," is both beautiful and surreal, built from seemingly mundane moments that shiver with a strange unease. Like the unsettling undercurrents of a David Lynch movie, things aren't as pastoral or innocent as they seem.

Perhaps that's because Brosseau sees the world as a complicated place. One that's surrounded by darkness but ultimately overwhelmed by love.

Sometimes the best way to save yourself is to let go of the things that once seemed indispensable. That's what Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff had in mind when he wrote the stirring "Okkervil River R.I.P.," an elegy to his beloved band's past life.

On this week's All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton share a mix of new songs by veteran artists and shiny premieres from up-and-coming bands. Robin leads off the show with a cut from the country-folk flavored alternative rock group The Jayhawks, while Bob wheels out a premiere by the Australian band Oh Pep!.

As one of the judges for this year's Tiny Desk Contest, I was so inspired by all the incredible entries we received — the level of thought, creativity and care that went into producing them and, of course, the music people made. But I'd be lying if I said that the judging process wasn't, at least sometimes, mind-numbing. After the first 100 or so videos (out of more than six thousand submitted), your eyes and ears start to glaze over.

On this week's All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton play songs that volley between soft, sentimental pop and more abrasive rock, including The Black Ryder's show-stopping cover of George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity," My bubba's simple, stunning vocals and the face-frying, fist-pumping, riff-heavy rock of

On this week's All Songs Considered, we've got several new favorites including Bob Boilen's No. 1 discovery of 2016 so far, Lucy Dacus. Robin Hilton shares songs by several artists he thinks are about to release their best albums yet, including Santigold and Ane Brun.

Bob Dylan's 1965 classic "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" is a dense masterpiece, packed with literary references and serpentine tales about a weary, uncertain life on the road. It makes a fitting score for a newly produced video, which includes rare footage from Dylan's European tour of that year.

Lord Huron's "Fool For Love" opens with a delicate wash of humming bells, a distant organ drone and a few carefully plucked strings. It's a beautiful, meditative mix that shimmers with the kind of hope and determination that only a new day can hold in its earliest hours, just after waking, before the inevitable letdown.

In our darkest hours, time seems to slow to an excruciating crawl. The mind races, desperate to find something to hold onto, while our whole sense of time, space, or even reality becomes warped. It's an unsettling but familiar feeling captured beautifully in a new video for the Chris Staples song "Hold Onto Something."

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