Mary Halvorson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2012. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Mary Halvorson Quintet

The guitarist brings a decidedly non-standard approach to jazz's standard practices.

Night Beds' members perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 6, 2013. Marie McGrory/for NPR hide caption

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Night Beds

Winston Yellen's arresting voice propels a lighthearted but deeply affecting set at the NPR office.

The xx performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 29, 2013. Gabriella Demczuk/NPR hide caption

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The xx

In The xx's songs, all the calm chilliness in the world can't quite contain an exposed heart.

Cantus performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 3, 2012. Ryan Smith/for NPR hide caption

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Cantus

The a cappella ensemble sings widely divergent songs from American, European and Sufi traditions.

Of Montreal performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 14, 2012. Christopher Parks/NPR hide caption

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Of Montreal

Frontman Kevin Barnes uses the intimacy of the NPR Music offices to try out some quiet new material.

Black Prairie performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 9, 2012. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

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Black Prairie

With members of The Decemberists, the band lends a snappy, lilting quality to songs of alienation.

Lucius Tiny Desk Concert Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Lucius

One minute, Lucius sounds like a '60s girl group; the next might conjure images of Emmylou Harris.

Miguel performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Denise DeBelius/NPR hide caption

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Miguel

Performing at the NPR Music offices, Miguel strips his highly produced hits down to their bones.

The Polyphonic Spree performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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The Polyphonic Spree

The sprawling group, 17 strong, squeezes behind Bob Boilen's desk for a special holiday performance.

Alt-J Tiny Desk Performance NPR 2012 Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Alt-J

The Mercury Prize-winning band plays angular, poetic, inventive music that takes unexpected turns.