Of Montreal plays the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. on April 6. NPR hide caption

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Front Row

Of Montreal

The Athens, Ga., rock group has built its reputation on wildly theatrical live performances. Watch the band's latest stage spectacle, recorded live from Washington, D.C.

Lost In The Trees perform at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on April 11, 2012. AJ Wilhelm for NPR hide caption

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Lost In The Trees In Concert

Lost in the Trees finds beauty in the darkest places, mixing breathtaking string arrangements with acoustic guitars to tell tragic stories of depression, suicide and family strife.

Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

The Magnetic Fields, Live In Concert: SXSW 2012

Those seeking silence at SXSW usually have to reserve time in a sensory-deprivation chamber or a hotel bathroom, but The Magnetic Fields' hold on a crowd is powerful enough to yield that rare sound.

Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Fiona Apple, Live In Concert: SXSW 2012

The Fiona Apple on stage at Stubb's for NPR Music's showcase at the SXSW music festival was more commanding than enigmatic, conveying vulnerability in her vibrato but otherwise full of confidence.

Fiona Apple, Live In Concert: SXSW 2012

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The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle live at the Ecstatic Music Festival, held at Merkin Concert Hall, New York City, on March 24, 2012. David Andrako/courtesy of Merkin Concert Hall hide caption

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Classics in Concert

The Ecstatic Music Festival: The Mountain Goats And Anonymous 4

Q2

Hear a transcendent show by a very unlikely pairing from the aptly named Ecstatic Music Festival: Indie icons meet up with a crystal-pure classical vocal quartet.

Channy Leaneagh of the Minneapolis-based band Polica, at NPR's SXSW day party in Austin, Texas. Katy Hayes Luke for NPR hide caption

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Front Row

Polica

Newcomers from Minneapolis, Polica arrived in Austin aloft on a boatload of buzz. Their live show mixed two live drummers and the heavily manipulated vocals of singer Channy Leaneagh.

Baltimore's Lower Dens, led by singer/guitarist Jana Hunter, perform at NPR Music's SXSW day party at The Parish in Austin, Texas. Katie Hayes Luke for NPR hide caption

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Front Row

Lower Dens

The Baltimore band, led by Jana Hunter, favors mood over showmanship, but its live show builds intensity out of difficult emotions mixed with washes of guitar noise and wails of feedback.

Sugar Tongue Slim brought a live band along with samples by Gotye and Kavinsky to his set at The Parish in Austin, Texas. Katie Hayes Luke for NPR hide caption

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Sugar Tongue Slim, Live In Concert: SXSW 2012

The versatile, playful rapper mixed well-known samples with a live-band bounce that quickly won over the crowd.

Rafael Perez (left) and Henry D'Arthenay of Venezuelan rock band La Vida Boheme. Katie Hayes Luke for NPR hide caption

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La Vida Boheme, Live In Concert: SXSW 2012

Wearing paint-splattered shirts, the Venezuelan dance-rock band kicked off NPR Music's day party at The Parish in Austin, Texas with chant-along songs and stage-shaking energy.