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Anais Mitchell performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 23, 2012. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Anaïs Mitchell

Singing and playing alongside guitarist and longtime collaborator Michael Chorney, the Vermont singer-songwriter performs three of Young Man in America's most bracingly beautiful songs with clear-eyed directness that requires no adornment.

Laetitia Sadier performs on KCRW. KCRW hide caption

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KCRW Presents: Laetitia Sadier


The former Stereolab singer has one of the most enchanting voices around. Watch her perform "Find Me the Pulse of the Universe," from the album Silencio, live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Metz performs live on KEXP in Seattle. Dave Lichterman/KEXP hide caption

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Metz: A Royal 'Headache'


In 2012, the Toronto punk trio has made some of the loudest noise in music. Watch the band visit KEXP in Seattle to perform "Headache," one of the best songs on Metz's self-titled debut album.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Tiny Desk Concert Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

The Seattle duo literally shakes the dust off the ceiling tiles in this performance at the NPR Music offices. In the span of about 15 minutes, the pair works through a moving message song ("Same Love"), a hilarious goof-off ("Thrift Shop") and a rousingly inspirational closer ("Can't Hold Us").

Graham Dechter performs at the Jazz24 studios in Seattle. Justin Steyer/Jazz24 hide caption

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Graham Dechter: Youth, Steeped In Tradition


The 26-year-old jazz guitarist has been making a name for himself ever since he joined the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Watch him perform the title tune from his album Takin' It There.

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.

Ray Chen performs at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City Tuesday, Feb. 7. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

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Ray Chen

Ray Chen might be the finest current violinist you don't yet know — but you soon will. See this stellar artist perform works by Sarasate and Saint-Saëns in a performance recorded live in New York.

Orbital perform on KCRW. KCRW hide caption

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KCRW Presents: Orbital


When it comes to the history of electronic dance music, few producers loom larger than siblings Phil and Paul Hartnoll. The British brothers visit KCRW to play their very first single, "Chime."

San Cisco performs on The Current. Nate Ryan/The Current hide caption

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San Cisco: An 'Awkward' Upstart From Down Under

The Current

An irresistible Australian band, San Cisco specializes in songs you can't get out of your head. They recently visited The Current in Minnesota to play their breakout hit, "Awkward."

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.