Tiny Desk Intimate concerts, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.

Taken by Trees performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 12, 2012. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Taken By Trees

Victoria Bergsman's songs seem to come from a place somewhere between a dream state and waking life. There's restraint to the way Taken by Trees' players approach this music, almost as if they're trying not to wake the baby in the other room.

Martha Wainwright performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 15, 2012. Ryan Smith/Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Martha Wainwright

Wainwright does the opposite of sugarcoating: She roughs up life's smooth spots, then digs her fingertips into the cracks that form. Watch her perform three songs from her new album, Come Home to Mama, in the NPR Music offices.

Benjamin Gibbard performs a Tiny Desk Concert at the NPR Music offices on Nov. 8, 2012. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Ben Gibbard

For this, the 250th Tiny Desk Concert, the Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service singer performs solo and unadorned, with just an acoustic guitar to back him up. Hear Gibbard perform a new song, a little-heard track from 2011, and "St. Peter's Cathedral" from Death Cab's Codes and Keys.

Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca play a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 3. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Flaco Jimenez

Jimenez is part of a musical continuum that reaches from 19th-century Mexico all the way to The Rolling Stones. And he does it by playing waltzes on a button accordion.

Jason Lytle performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 28. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Jason Lytle

Lytle's deeply affecting story-songs offer listeners moments of fantastical escape or quiet reflection, while examining the mundane hopes and failed dreams of oddball characters. Watch him perform solo acoustic versions of songs from his latest record, plus one classic Grandaddy tune.

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

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Passion Pit

A keyboardist and singer who started out working solo on his laptop, Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos makes Technicolor electro-pop with monster hooks. But his songs are sturdy, versatile things, as this performance indicates.

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

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Lord Huron

Lord Huron is a band for just about anyone: The rich harmonies are welcoming, the lyrics relatable and the live performances thrilling. Its first album, Lonesome Dreams, just came out.

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. The three new songs here execute the deftest possible blend of emotional misery and instrumental majesty — just the way the blues ought to be.

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

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Dirty Three

One of the loudest performances ever captured in the NPR Music offices, Dirty Three's set alternately seethes and rages in a flurry of high kicks, 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 in an old-style tradition. The result is what Spirit Family Reunion's members call "open-door gospel" — gospel music that's not tied to any particular religious denomination.