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.

After raising more than $125,000 on Kickstarter, the synth-psych-rock group Black Moth Super Rainbow is set to self-release its fifth full-length record. The gritty, beat-heavy Cobra Juicy is due out on Oct. 23, but the band is giving fans an early taste now with the thick and dirty "Gangs in the Garden."

This will be the last in our summer-long series of polls in search of the albums everyone can love. We've featured a few hundred records since we started back in May, and have found a lot of surprises.

It turns out people really like The Beatles! Every record we've featured from the fab four have consistently rated higher than any other albums in these polls. According to last week's, 85 percent of you love Revolver.

Just a year after releasing the full-length album Raven in the Grave, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo — the Danish musicians behind The Raveonettes — are back with yet another shimmering noise-pop record. Observator is out today, and includes the gorgeous cut "The Enemy."

The basic overlays and spectral effects used in '80s music videos are so rough and out-of-place, they now seem cutting edge. The prolific, endlessly inspired lo-fi garage-rock musician Ty Segall re-creates that psychedelic vibe on his latest video, "The Hill."

Whitney Houston's 1992 Bodyguard soundtrack was a huge hit. Huge! It sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. Remember "I Will Always Love You"? It's from that record. But according to last week's poll, a staggering 90 percent of you either don't like it or haven't heard it.

Bob Boilen and I were out in Portland and Seattle last week on our summer listening party tour, so we didn't post a new poll of albums everyone can love. Fear not: To make up for the week off, this week we've got 40 albums for you. In the coming weeks we'll let you know which records have been doing the best and have some sort of runoff between the highest vote-getters to come up with a top ten we all can agree on (well, most of us, anyway).

Here's this week's double-size poll. Just tell us whether you love, don't love or haven't really heard each album.

What was the most important band of your college years? The one that you held above all others? The one you turned to when you needed it most?

When Bob Boilen asked me this recently, I froze. I knew he was fishing for something loud and rebellious. The words "college years" imply youth and freedom and celebration and tearing life up!

Few bands make music as strangely captivating - or make it as as fearlessly - as Dirty Projectors. The group's always unpredictable songs crisscross a mind-bending mix of genres and styles, with disjointed rhythms and structures, unusual melodies and harmonies that make it one of the most creative but polarizing groups of the past decade. For some it's an inspired form of high art, while others think it's just plain weird.

I guess it's not that big of a surprise, but according to last week's poll, 67 percent of you haven't heard Big Star's #1 Record. One of the nice side benefits of doing this series is that it gives people a chance to discover great albums they've never heard before, so if you're part of the 67 percent that hasn't heard Big Star, take some time to listen. You'll love it.

This week's quiz comes from Sean Carey, the drummer for Bon Iver and a fantastic solo artist (who records and performs as S. Carey). We featured his stunningly beautiful debut album, All We Grow in our First Listen series back in 2010. Earlier this summer he released the EP Hoyas.

We started this series of polls, like so many of the things we write and think about, with a simple water cooler conversation. After learning that the entire NPR music team loved Paul Simon's Graceland, we began to wonder whether it's possible to make a top ten list of albums everyone can agree on.

Apart from Rubber Soul by The Beatles, there weren't any big winners in last week's poll, the latest in our summer-long attempt to identify the albums we can all agree on.

The selections in this week's drum fill quiz come from the amazing Michael Lerner, drummer for The Antlers. Somehow he found time to put this list together for us while the band was finishing up it's new EP, Undersea. I thought it was a pretty challenging quiz, but see what you think.

Drag the drum fill or intro to the album it's from. If you get it right, the song names will appear.

More Drum Fill Quizes

If last week's poll is any indication, most of you don't care much for Madonna, Dave Matthews, or Whitney Houston, at least not for the records of theirs we suggested.

My favorite new discovery of the year is actually an album that came out last fall by a band called The Dø (pronounced "dough"). After months of living beneath a massive pile of other CDs, it finally surfaced a couple of weeks ago and blew me away. It's called Both Ways Open Jaws and it's an epic listen: beautiful but gritty, unpredictable, unsettling and full of mystery.

The deeper we get into our search for the albums everyone can love, the more intriguing our findings become. For example, last week's poll, shows us that a solid majority of you don't care for the Guns N' Roses album Appetite For Destruction, even though it was a huge record when it first dropped in 1987.

The Brooklyn-based duo She Keeps Bees likes to go it alone. Singer-guitarist Jessica Larrabee and drummer Andy LaPlant have been recording their music at home and self-releasing it since 2006. Their sound is intimate and moody, with incredibly spare arrangements that mix swampy blues with gritty rock.

To record the band's latest single, "Counter Charm," the duo headed to Paris, where they set up a makeshift studio in a small restaurant, late on Halloween night. If they were hoping to bottle the airy creepiness of the time and space, they found it.

We continue our search this week for the top ten records everyone can love with a look back at last week's poll results.

Another week brings more surprises in our search for the albums everyone can love. According to our most recent poll, a third of you haven't heard the one record we've probably pimped more than any other on All Songs Considered: Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. Really? A third of you haven't even heard it?

We're a few weeks and a few polls into our summer search for the albums everyone can love, and so far the results have challenged some of our long-held assumptions. Most of you have never heard Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's soundtrack to the film Once (we thought it was wildly popular).

The results are in and it turns out most of you who voted in our mid-year poll really love Jack White's explosive and eclectic Blunderbuss. But the race was close: White's album beat-out the Alabama Shakes record Boys & Girls by less than 25 votes. Beach House's Bloom, one of the most popular records ever in our First Listen series, came in at third. The Shins' Port Of Morrow and Of Monsters And Men's My Head Is An Animal round out the top five.

Around this time each year I begin to marvel at how we've already reached the halfway point. I haven't even taken down my Christmas lights yet and already everyone's reflecting on all the great music we've had so far.

Fans of the Brooklyn-based art-pop group Grizzly Bear won't have much longer to wait for a new record. The band says it'll drop the as-yet-unnamed album on Sept. 18. It'll include this opening cut, "Sleeping Ute."

This is Grizzly Bear's fourth full-length studio release, and first since 2009's Veckatimist. Here's the full track listing for the new record:

This week's quiz comes courtesy of Janet Weiss, drummer for the band Wild Flag (and former drummer for Sleater-Kinney). She's got some killer fills and intros here that (I thought) ranged from pretty easy to pretty hard. But see what you think.

Drag the intro or fill (or beat) to the album it's from. If you get it right, the song names will appear.

Note: This week's All Songs Considered offers a preview of the upcoming Maryland Deathfest.

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