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Hurray For The Riff Raff performs at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival. Meagan Beauchemin/NPR hide caption

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Hurray For The Riff Raff, Live In Concert

The New Orleans band exists as a vehicle for the powerhouse songs of Alynda Lee Segarra, whose gigantic voice conveys the grit of bluesy soul while still fitting within rootsy folk and country.

Phosphorescent performs at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick/NPR hide caption

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Phosphorescent, Live In Concert

Raised in Alabama and based in Brooklyn, Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck makes moody, searching, pretty music. Watch Phosphorescent perform "Ride On/Right On" at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.

Time For Three performs a Tiny Desk Concert. NPR hide caption

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Time For Three

In person, the members of Time for Three come off as just three dudes in a band. But with their staggering technique and freewheeling genre-crossing, it's hard not to be swept up in the force of their contagious energy. Hear the "classically trained garage band" perform in the NPR Music offices.

Dessa at the Fitzgerald Theater in Minnesota. Nate Ryan/The Current hide caption

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Dessa, 'The Man I Knew' (Live)

The Current

The Twin Cities area is home to Doomtree, one of the best independent hip-hop collectives in the country. Dessa, its only female MC, has stepped up the singing on her new solo album, Parts of Speech.

Junip performs live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW hide caption

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Junip, 'Your Life, Your Call' (Live)

KCRW

José González's rock band recently visited the KCRW studios in Santa Monica, Calif., to perform songs from its self-titled album. Watch Junip play the record's catchiest track, "Your Life, Your Call."

Guards performs a Tiny Desk Concert in June 2013. Denise DeBelius/NPR hide caption

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Guards

Guards' music captures the pop sound of the late '50s and early '60s, but with more power and polish. Hear three sturdy pop songs from the band's first album, In Guards We Trust, performed live at the NPR Music offices.

Cheyenne Mize performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 16, 2013. Marie McGrory/NPR hide caption

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Cheyenne Mize

The multi-talented singer, instrumentalist and music therapist showcases some of the quieter, moodier moments from Among the Grey (the slinky "Raymaker," the dreamy "Whole Heart") before closing with the more forceful "Wait for It." Along the way, Mize's voice rings out assertively in every style and setting.

Radiation City perform live at opbmusic. opbmusic hide caption

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Radiation City, 'Foreign Bodies' (Live)

opbmusic.org

With new members in tow, the Portland band shares songwriting and lead-vocal duties on its new album, Animals in the Median. Watch Radiation City perform "Foreign Bodies" at opbmusic's studios.

Queens of the Stone Age, live at Apogee's Berkeley Street Studio in Santa Monica, Calif. Jeremiah Garcia/KCRW hide caption

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KCRW Presents: Queens Of The Stone Age

KCRW

Josh Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Fertita, Michael Shuman and Jon Theodore make up one of the tightest live bands on the planet. Watch Queens Of The Stone Age perform "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" live.

Jucifer performs at the Black Cat. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

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Jucifer: NPR Front Row

The duo has been destroying ears and rattling bodies for 20 years. Somehow, the towers of amp stacks have gotten bigger and louder along the way. Watch Jucifer level the Black Cat in Washington, D.C.