Passion Pit performs on Tiny Desk on Oct. 15. Ryan Smith/Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Passion Pit

Michael Angelakos makes electro-pop with monster hooks. But his songs are sturdy, versatile things.

Lord Huron performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 10, 2012. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Lord Huron

The band's rich harmonies are welcoming, its lyrics relatable and its live performances thrilling.

Robert Cray performs a Tiny Desk Concert Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Robert Cray Band

Like any great blues singer, Cray makes heartache and dysfunction sound engaging and relatable.

Dirty Three plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 24. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Dirty Three

The band unleashes a gorgeous flurry of shambolic rumbling, prolific hairiness and dramatic yelling.

Spirit Family Reunion performs at Tiny Desk concert on Sept. 18. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Spirit Family Reunion

The group plays fiddle, banjo, guitar and washboard, all gathered around a single microphone.

Antibalas performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 25. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Antibalas

It's one thing for 11 musicians to make a big sound, but what stands out is Antibalas' subtlety.

Kat Edmonson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 17, 2012. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Kat Edmonson

Hearing the 29-year-old singer makes it virtually impossible to do anything but stop and listen.

Yva Las Vegas plays a Tiny Desk Concert at the NPR Music offices. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Yva Las Vegass

Watch Las Vegass bring a punk aesthetic to Venezuelan folk music with a cuatro at the NPR offices.

Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra during Tiny Desk at NPR. (Kainaz Amaria/NPR) Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

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Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra

These songs' fervor is the product of a singer armed with intensity and musicians who can match it.

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Avi Avital

Avital's mandolin sings with the sounds of Ernest Bloch and a raucous Bulgarian folk tune.