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 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.

It's human nature to reinvent and romanticize the past. Memories fade and become distorted, reduced to proximate notions and imagined details. Maybe it's a matter of survival, or maybe just the innocent aging and inescapable fraying of synapses. Regardless, the golden age we celebrate was rarely as great as we remember.

On this week's episode of All Songs Considered, we play new music from old favorites Wilco, JEFF The Brotherhood and Sleigh Bells. We also share songs from artists we've only just found out about: Bob introduces us to the young, Singapore-based Linying and our intern Sophie brings us Globelamp.

We recently asked people what they think about new technology that can disable their phone cameras or otherwise lock away their devices while at concerts.

A number of musicians, including Beyoncé, Neko Case, Björk, Jack White and many more have been asking fans to shut off their phones at live shows for years. But just asking fans may not be enough. Last week Apple was granted a patent on technology that would use infrared signals to forcibly disable cell phone cameras at specific locations, ie. concert venues and theaters.

Is there anything that says "summer" better than ice cream? Well, beer maybe. And hot dogs. And baseball and barbecue and beach parties. Okay, lots of things say "summer," but we're getting sidetracked. July is National Ice Cream Month so that's what we're interested in here: Ice cream ... and music.

On this week's All Songs Considered, we share new music from legendary producer and ambient pioneer, Daniel Lanois, and from the friends-for-life trio Nonkeen, whose new album comes in the aftermath of a "freak carousel accident." Also on the show is a shout-along emo track from Montclair, N.J.'s Pinegrove and a psych-pop track about never wanting to go outside from Morgan Delt, who recently signed with Sub Pop.

On this week's All Songs Considered we come full circle. Robin Hilton opens the show by looking back in time with a weird, psychedelic track by Cornelius from his long out-of-print, newly reissued album Fantasma. If the song doesn't justify itself, Bob Boilen provides an argument for looking back with a song by The Wild Reeds called "Everything Looks Better (In Hindsight)."

Also on the show: We also play an electro-folk track by the Israeli sisters A-WA and a new song by Tiny Desk veterans Bellows.

But first, Robin and Bob talk knee surgery.

On this week's All Songs Considered mix, we play songs about longing, loss, and healing, with premieres from The Tallest Man On Earth, pop singer LP and more.

You'd figure Paul McCartney, the most well-known songwriter on planet Earth, would, by now, have confidence in his ability to write a song. But as he tells us in this week's All Songs +1 podcast, "You never get it down. I don't know how to do this. You'd think I do, but it's not one of these things you ever really know how to do."

Get your hanky out. The latest song and video from Rochester-based Maybird is a real tear-jerker. Made entirely of old home movie clips, the video for "Looking Back" shows band members and brothers Adam and Josh Netsky from their earliest childhood moments, as they grow up with their older brother, Aaron, aging from scene to scene. At first they're toddlers, playing in freshly mown grass, making a snowman with their father and dancing freely together. By the end they're long-haired, skateboarding teenagers on the brink of adulthood.

On this week's All Songs Considered, we play songs about facing fears, being true to yourself and not worrying about what everyone else thinks, plus a new song from Angel Olsen and a conversation with her about her surprising new sound.

Robin Hilton opens with an introspective pop gem from the Portland, Ore. band Ages And Ages inspired by the ephemeral nature of nearly everything. Bob Boilen follows with a sonic adventure from the Asheville, N.C. folk group River Whyless.

Sean Lennon's latest collaboration is with Primus bassist and lead singer Les Claypool. They're calling themselves the Claypool Lennon Delirium, and their new album is a collection of trippy, psychedelic space jams called The Monolith Of Phobos (a reference to a large rock discovered on Phobos, a moon orbiting Mars).

On this week's episode we've got one of the sunniest bands of all time, mesmerizing music from the Sahara and an elegy to growing old.

Co-host Robin Hilton gets things started with a sweetly sad song from Matt The Electrician, a pop-folk singer based in Austin who no longer has anything to do with his own hands, while host Bob Boilen follows with Esmé Patterson, a singer with roots in folk music and a new album that stretches into the world of gritty rock.