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.

Legend has it that the band Pink Floyd once played so loudly at a show that the sheer volume had killed all the fish in a nearby pond.

Now there's a new species of shrimp, named after Pink Floyd, that can kill fish by making a loud noise. Synalpheus pinkfloydi rapidly opens then snaps closed its large claw, creating a sound that can reach up to 210 decibels — louder than a typical rock concert and loud enough to kill small fish nearby.

Actor and singer Jack Black interrupted a performance with his band Tenacious D to break into an a cappella version of Prince's "When Doves Cry."

The moment came while the band was playing the song "Double Team" during the German music festival Rock Am Ring.

When Tracy Chapman released her self-titled, debut album back in 1988, the 24-year old singer was widely praised for her acute observations on the struggles of working class Americans. The album was political and, for some, possessed the kind of anthems that could spark a revolution. Not long after releasing her album, Chapman sat down with NPR's Margot Adler to talk about both the singer's growing popularity and her battle against stereotypes as a black woman with a strong voice in the predominantly white world of modern folk.

Swedish singer-songwriter Albin Lee Meldau has a profoundly arresting voice that delivers an emotional gut punch with every brooding phrase.

In his chilling new video for the song "Lou Lou," Meldau takes a single, wrenching scene and freezes it in time. Made with one unflinching, steadicam shot, it's an uncomfortably intimate look at the moment paramedics arrive to save a woman who's suffering a drug overdose. Nobody moves. Everything has stopped. It feels particularly helpless and hopeless.

Singer Kevin Morby is back with a followup to last year's much beloved full-length Singing Saw. The new album is called City Music and is due out June 16 on Dead Oceans. Morby has also shared the record's first single and lyric video, the moody and transfixing "Come To Me Now."

When Bob Boilen and I sat down to record this week's podcast, we were a little bleary-eyed after staying up late the night before to see the The Flaming Lips' show at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, D.C. But — between the band's confetti cannons, laser light show and the electric, rainbow-colored unicorn that frontman Wayne Coyne rode into the audience (I'm not making that up) — it was well worth the loss of sleep.

It's been nearly six years since the Fleet Foxes released any new music. But Tuesday morning the group announced it's got a new album coming in the spring called Crack-Up. In making the announcement, frontman Robin Pecknold shared a lyric video for a nearly nine-minute song called "Third of May / Ōdaigahara."

On its latest song and video, "Night Skiing," the instrumental rock group L.A. Takedown confirms that the guitar solo is alive and kicking.

It's perhaps the greatest immutable truth: Nothing lasts forever. Despite the most valiant efforts to hold on, all things pass, from the highest highs to the lowest lows.

Electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso is back with a much-anticipated followup to it's self-titled 2014 debut. The new album is called What Now and includes the jagged new single "Die Young."

Paul McCartney is giving fans a preview of what to expect from the upcoming deluxe reissue of Flowers In The Dirt, an album he originally released in 1989. The newly remastered version will include rare outtakes and demos from the recording sessions, snippets and goodies from which McCartney has been sharing in the build-up to its release.

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.

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.

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