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.

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.

It's our first show with new music in 2016! After nearly two months of best-of's, holiday and Sweet 16 specials, we get back to doing what we do best and love most: playing great new music.

It's no surprise that the latest song from Violent Femmes, "Memory," feels like a classic. Frontman Gordon Gano actually wrote it a long time ago. "We even recorded it as a demo many years ago," he tells NPR Music via email. "And then it was forgotten about until digging into [our] archives, which led us to record it anew and release it."

Every year around this time we like to take a break from our usual musical discoveries and get together with old friends for what we call the All Songs Considered Holiday Spectacular, a seasonal special done in the tradition of old-time radio.

By the time Spoon released Gimme Fiction in 2005, the Austin, Texas rock group was already a decade into its career with more than a half-dozen releases. But none of the band's previous work felt as polished or as remarkably inspired. Gimme Fiction is at times brooding and cryptic. There's apocalyptic imagery, evangelical Christians, a pre-social media commentary on people who hide behind cameras, and at least one song inspired by Prince.

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.

The Detroit band Protomartyr makes loud, screeching rock that's more thoughtful than thrilling. It only takes a few seconds of the group's brightly lit Tiny Desk performance for things to get pretty deep: "False happiness is on the rise," enigmatic frontman Joe Casey deadpans. "See the victims piled high in a room without a roof."

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