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James McNew (left), Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo perform live at opbmusic in Portland. Corey Arnold/opbmusic hide caption

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Yo La Tengo, 'Cornelia And Jane' (Live)

Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew visit Portland, Ore., to perform songs from their latest album, Fade. Watch them perform one of the album's most beautiful tracks, "Cornelia and Jane."

Colin Meloy performs at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival. Meaganc Beauchemin for NPR hide caption

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Colin Meloy, Live In Concert

Watch members of The Decemberists — at the festival as Black Prairie — and Laura Veirs join Meloy on a version of "Yankee Bayonet."

Adam Kissick for NPR

Andrew Bird, Live In Concert

Bird's records have grown quieter and more intimate in recent years, but he remains a remarkably dynamic live performer. Watch him collaborate with Tift Merritt at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.

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Bombino, Live In Concert

O mar Moctar (a.k.a. Bombino) is a young, Niger-born Tuareg guitarist inspired by the wizardry of Saharan rock bands like Tinariwen. Watch Bombino perform as part of the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.

Dana Falconberry performs a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR Music in Washington, D.C., on May 12, 2013. Gabriella Demczuk/NPR hide caption

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Dana Falconberry

Falconberry's songs are gentle, almost invariably delicate, sometimes mysterious and frequently feather-light. But her music's sweet, intricate softness never stands in for strength. Watch her and five bandmates perform three songs from her recent album Leelanau.

The Lone Bellow performs at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick/NPR hide caption

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The Lone Bellow, Live In Concert

Formed as a creative outlet for singer Zach Williams as his wife recovered from an accident that nearly paralyzed her, The Lone Bellow performs with a sense of necessity.

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.

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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)


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' 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)

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.