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.

When STRFKR's Josh Hodges and Keil Corcoran wrote the synth-pop romper "In The End," they say they imagined it as "a cross-dresser, alien-abduction-type thing." Their new video for the cut came close — it's a drag queen heist film.

Dirty Projectors frontman David Longstreth decided he couldn't wait any longer.

Spoon's latest video is a surreal, black-and-white tale shrouded in mystery. Nearly everyone in this three-and-a-half minute, funk-inspired jam wears a creepy mask or some sort of ogre costume while riding bikes, dancing, chasing and intermittently accosting one another. It's anyone's guess what it's all about, but it's a curious and compelling watch.

"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.

Cab drivers have a special window into the twisted affairs of humanity, bearing witness to the full spectrum of joy and pain through the tiny frame of a rearview mirror. This cramped stage is the perfect setting for Kishi Bashi's "Can't Let Go, Juno" video, a song about heartache and the lengths one goes to spare someone else's feelings.

When the Los Angeles-based rock group Giant Drag released it's debut full-length, Hearts And Unicorns, in 2005, fans were immediately taken by frontwoman Annie Hardy's playful and fearless crush of the innocent into the profane. She intentionally subverted her image - pigtails with large, bashful eyes and an almost childlike voice - with brawny guitar noise and provocative songs like "You're Full of S*** (Check Out My Sweet Riffs)" and "YFLMD." (I'll let you look up that second one).

Everything about the long-running Rockabye Baby! music series sparks a smile. On its surface alone the project, which turns hits by Black Sabbath, Prince and other pop and rock artists into tinkling lullabies, is pure comedy, mining the gulf between Iron Maiden and a pacifier. But it's also notable for how fully realized and deftly orchestrated these cover songs are.

Hold on tight: it's another relentlessly exuberant, propulsive jam from The New Pornographers. The latest in the band's deep catalog of clever and addictive power pop is "High Ticket Attractions," taken from the group's upcoming full-length Whiteout Conditions. It's the first new music from The New Pornographers since 2014's Brill Bruisers album.

When Bob Boilen and I sat down to record this week's podcast, the Presidential inauguration and weekend marches were still fresh on our minds and the songs we ended up playing this week seem connected.

Hints have been trickling out since late in 2016, but the official word is here: The latest album from Dirty Projectors is self-titled and due out Feb. 24 on Domino Records.

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.

By now you should be pretty excited about the upcoming Grandaddy album, the group's first in more than a decade. Back in October, when the band announced it'd be releasing the long-awaited full-length Last Place, it shared the track "Way We Won't," a song so true to Grandaddy's sound it could have easily come from any of the group's earliest albums.

The latest single from Bonobo's upcoming album, Migration, is a brooding, four-on-the-floor dance thumper featuring vocals from Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker). At first, "No Reason" seems to drift into focus from another dimension, glittering with Murphy's delicate falsetto over gently arpeggiated synths. But the mood makes a subtle shift toward something darker and edgier once the beat kicks in.

The Joshua Tree, the album that made U2 global megastars, turns 30 this year. To mark the milestone, the band will perform the seminal album in its entirety at several live performances scheduled throughout the year, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo in June.

The Shins are back with the group's first new album since 2012's Port Of Morrow. Heartworms is set to drop on March 10 on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. In making the announcement today, the band shared the joyfully infectious pop cut "Name For You" and a lyric video.

Swedish pop artist Jens Lekman is back with his first new album in nearly five years. The singer, known for his darkly comical storytelling, says he'll release the calypso- and disco-inspired Life Will See You Now later this year. In making the announcement he shared the album's first single, "What's That Perfume That You Wear?," a playful, up-tempo tale about lost love and the ways a certain smell can spark a rush of memories.

Bob Boilen is like a child this time of year, his eyes and ears full of wonder, as he traipses through the NPR Music offices, vigorously jingling his collection of sleigh bells. He believes, in his heart, that he's truly getting everyone in the spirit of the holiday season. But it's always been a steady source of irritation for me.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is back with an incredibly infectious new song called "Fireproof." It's the first single from the band's upcoming full-length, The Tourist, due out Feb. 24.

"Fireproof" is a thumping, synth-heavy look at how naive people can be. "I know it's hard to win," sings frontman Alec Ounsworth. "But how could I have thought that we'd ever lose."

The Jesus And Mary Chain will release a new album next March, nearly 20 years after the band's last full-length release, 1998's Munki. The new album is called Damage And Joy, and our first taste of it is the grimly-titled but relatively poppy single, "Amputation."

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