50 albums you need to hear in 2010

My July birthday tends to fall on the day I'm sat on a Ryanair plane next to an overweight festival-goer who hasn't seen soap for four days, flying back to London from T In The Park each year. And I've never much been one for Christmas. And I can't afford holidays.

But even scratching what would normally be calendar highlights from the flip-chart, tomorrow (January 13) marks pretty much my favourite day of the year – when our albums preview issue comes out.

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MIA in the studio



In it we look ahead to all the releases that you're going to give a blank CD about this year – MGMT, Radiohead, MIA, Klaxons, LCD Soundsystem, Foals, Friendly Fires, Black Lips, and so on and so forth. Some albums are in the can, one is released already, and the rest are intriguing works in progress.

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Cole Alexander from Black Lips - he's gone and turned a human skull into a microphone chamber, the scamp

Obviously you can't sample the goods from all of them yet, but there are more than a couple of MP3s and videos from the records that matter pinging around the web already.

Firstly, The Courteeners have given away a song from their second effort, 'Falcon' (out February 22) on Thecourteeners.com. It's called 'Cross My Heart And Hope To Fly'.

Also Liars, set to return with their witchy clatter on new album 'Sisterworld', have given away album track 'Scissor' at Thesisterworld.com.

New Young Pony Club have offered up the opener from their forthcoming album 'The Optimist', 'Lost A Girl', from Newyoungponyclub.com.

Blood Red Shoes give us 'Colours Fade' from their second album 'Fire Like This' (out March 1) at Bloodredshoes.co.uk.

Broken Bells (that's Danger Mouse and James Mercer from The Shins' new double act) gave away album track 'The High Road' recently for 24 hours, so you'll be able to find that from various 'sources', one would imagine.

No MGMT second album MP3s yet, but here are some videos of songs that look likely to make the cut, played live.

'Song For Dan Treacy'


'It's Working'


Same deal for Klaxons – they're supposedly finishing the album this month, we should hear versions of these on the newie.

'Valley Of The Calm Trees'


'Echoes'


Foals, too, have a new album out in spring-ish. 'Spanish Sahara' is one of the newies they've been playing live and is almost certain for the album:



Meanwhile, the best song on Laura Marling's second album 'I Speak Because I Can' is 'Hope In The Air'. On record it's stormy and building, here's a deft acoustic version:



Babyshambles are supposed to be getting their third album out this year, we're not betting on release dates yet, but their punky newie 'Fireman' is expected to be considered for the tracklisting:



Then there's those Mystery Jets, who are aiming for the bigtime with their fourth. Here's 'Lady Grey', which they've been playing live for a while now. It's definitely on the record:



See NME.COM/magazine for more about the new mag.

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