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.

Kate Bush has toured only once in the last 35 years. Fortunately, that string of live performances, at the Hammersmith Apollo in London in 2014, was recorded and will soon be available for everyone to hear. Concord Records will release Before The Dawn, a three-disc set of the recordings, on Dec. 2. Bush produced the set herself, with no additional recording or overdubs.

Paul Simon is ageless and animated in his first-ever performance at Austin City Limits. His hour-long, career-spanning set includes this playfully infectious version of the song "Wristband," from Simon's most recent album, Stranger To Stranger. It's vintage storytelling from Simon as he describes a musician who's inadvertently locked out of the club where he's supposed to be performing. It's a maddening comedy of errors that ultimately speaks to much larger issues like abuse of power, race relations and the privileged class.

Swedish singer, organist and all-around bad-ass Anna von Hausswolff has released a monumental new video for her song "Come Wander With Me/Deliverance." Breathlessly beautiful and brooding, the film unfolds in the deep, dark woods where Hausswolff walks stone-faced among the trees, drinking in the majesty of nature and its indifference to the human experience.

When Conor Oberst started releasing music more than 20 years ago, first as a solo artist and later as Bright Eyes, he was just a teenager from Nebraska. Everyone marveled at how a kid could write and record at such a breathlessly prolific pace, producing inspired, sonically adventurous songs with a wisdom and world view beyond his years. Now just in his mid-30s, he's already a veteran, with dozens of albums and EPs behind him.

While Bob was gallivanting about Nashville last week for AmericanaFest, I was hiding under a pile of covers fighting a case of Hand-Foot-And-Mouth disease (it's as Medieval as it sounds). But show business never sleeps, which means Bob made it back home, I recovered and we're back in the studio this week to geek out over our favorite new music.

A new David Bowie box set released late last week includes a complete (and remastered) version of his long-lost album, The Gouster. Bowie originally recorded the album in 1974, but eventually shelved the project. Reworked versions of "Somebody Up There Likes Me" and "Can You Hear Me" wound up on 1975's Young Americans. Other tracks, like "It's Gonna Be Me" and "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)," trickled out in various forms in the years that followed. But this is the first time Gouster's full track list is available to hear as it was originally intended.

Life is like an endless forest lined with many paths, each leading to an entirely different experience. But what happens if you leave the path altogether?

Neil Young's latest single is a jangly, shuffling folk-rock song that takes on the Dakota Access Pipeline, a vast oil duct under construction near Native American land in North Dakota. The track, called "Indian Givers," supports the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which is attempting to block the pipeline's construction, and targets the government and oil companies. "Behind big money," Young sings, "justice always fails."

Neil Young's latest single is a jangly, shuffling folk-rock song that takes on the Dakota Access Pipeline, a vast oil duct under construction near Native American land in North Dakota. The track, called "Indian Givers," supports the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which is attempting to block the pipeline's construction, and targets the government and oil companies. "Behind big money," Young sings, "justice always fails."

Peter Gabriel's new video, for his song "The Veil," pays tribute to former CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden. The video features footage from military training exercises, real-life combat images and surveillance tapes, mixed in among scenes from director Oliver Stone's new biopic Snowden. Snowden himself also makes a surprise appearance in Gabriel's video.

The gang's finally back together! And by gang we mean hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, who find themselves in the studio together for the first time in a month. With the summer break finally over, the two return with this week's essential mix, from both veteran artists and new discoveries.

Michel Gondry's latest video was a complete surprise to the band for whom he created it. Gondry made the short film for The White Stripes' song "City Lights" on his own and shared it with frontman Jack White over the weekend.

The '80s are alive and well in "Real Thing," a retro, synth-heavy new song and video from Lower Dens. Shot through a lens presumably slathered with Vaseline and captured on grainy VHS tape, the video features frontwoman Jana Hunter singing and playing guitar on a darkened stage, dimly lit by hazy red lights. "I'm married to a terrific guy," Hunter sings. "I'll never leave until I die. But I just love to get out and get it on."

Regina Spektor is back with another preview of her upcoming album, Remember Us To Life. Her latest song is a gorgeous, soaring ode to love and heartache called "Black And White."

After a ten-year break, Grandaddy is back. The Modesto, Calif. band has signed with Danger Mouse's 30th Century Records and released two new songs, "Way We Won't" and "Clear Your History." The group has also officially announced a new full-length album coming sometime next year. It's the first new music from Grandaddy since 2006's Just Like The Fambly Cat. From the sound of the new songs, the band has lost nothing in the years since.

The Pretenders are back with the band's first new album in eight years, this time collaborating with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach as producer. The album is called Alone, and the first single is a jangly pop cut with arpeggiated synths and quirky guitar riffs called "Holy Commotion!"

When we settled into the studio for this week's All Songs Considered, a clear theme quickly emerged: We had a whole lot of music by artists we already adore! This includes a rare acoustic demo by R.E.M., a glorious new electro-pop cut from Sylvan Esso, a heartbreaking tribute song from Sharon Van Etten and more.

Back in March, both President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spoke at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Now, inspired by the trip, the Obama administration is collaborating with SXSW to host a miniature version of the festival at the White House.

Jack White has shared another cut from his upcoming collection of acoustic recordings. The track is a version of The Raconteurs' "Carolina Drama," from the band's 2008 album Consolers Of The Lonely.

The original version of "Carolina Drama" is an electrified blues slow-burner. Here, the song sounds more like an old-time murder ballad, with banjo, fiddle and lap slide guitar.

In the sun-dappled world of Los Angeles duo Deap Vally, everyone is free to be anyone or anything they want — even if that's a neon-pink yeti strutting on the beach with a surfboard. "I'm gonna do it 'cause I wanna," the band sings over and over in a new video for "Gonnawanna"; meanwhile, the defiant creature trolls the beach, ignoring a gaggle of sunbathers who snicker and gawk.

The new video and song from the Brooklyn noise duo Sleigh Bells throb with rage and fiery defiance. Words flash on screen over Derek Miller's jagged guitars as the video opens: "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to build a fire."

Wilco's latest song is the Beatles-inspired "Someone To Lose," both a woozy acoustic strummer and a fiery rock song with a playful melody. Partly a reflection on past mistakes in romance and relationships, "Someone To Lose" perfectly captures the almost comical cluelessness we sometimes experience as we fumble our way through life and love. "Wouldn't you know it," sings frontman Jeff Tweedy. "I keep rollin' considerin' no one... ...I'm so confused, I can't lose."

The latest song from Angel Olsen is both epic and reflective, a melancholy meditation on heartache and coming to terms with lost love. "'No' is forever," she sings, as the video shows her wandering through her lonely days against the Los Angeles landscape. "Show me the future. Tell me you'll be there."

The remarkable new video from DJ Shadow and Run The Jewels, for the song "Nobody Speak," opens at what could easily be the United Nations, where a large group of diplomats has gathered to ostensibly sort out the world's problems. But tensions are high as two men face off, verbally assaulting one another in the voices of El-P and Killer Mike. "I'ma send you to the yard," one says.

It's been 17 years since the Urbana, Ill., emo group American Football released its self-titled debut album. In the years since, fans have elevated the group and its sole release to legendary status, anxiously awaiting any kind of follow-up. Today, the members of American Football announced that the wait is over: They've got a new record coming Oct. 21 (it's also self-titled) and a beautifully wistful new song called "Ive Been So Lost For So Long."

Sharon Van Etten has released a new song she wrote in memory of the victims of the June shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. "Not Myself" is a gorgeous, haunting elegy, with Van Etten's voice layered over simple piano and a droning synth. "It's too much to take," she sings. "It's too much at stake. I want you to be yourself around me."

The fabulously flamboyant duo PWR BTTM takes a melancholy turn on its latest single. The sweetly sentimental sounding "New Hampshire" ponders the end of everything, from a love affair to the birds in the sky and the burning sun. But it shrugs it all off as an inevitable evolution of any life. "Don't be sad," sings guitarist Ben Hopkins. "I've done my share of living."

Florence and the Machine dropped an EP today with three new songs. The tracks, "Too Much Is Never Enough," "I Will Be" and a cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," were recorded for the Final Fantasy XV video game.

Pages