For the first celebration of new music this decade – which you’l find in shops from Wednesday 6 January – we wanted to look further and deeper than ever before.

From a trip up north to visit Manchester’s post-everything buccaneers Egyptian Hip-Hop, to a trek down to darkest Croydon for the debut feature with dubstep’s first ever supergroup, Magnetic Man, via a fairytale Californian voyage with NME heroes The Drums, it’s the mother of all tip lists.

Who knows who or what will end up defining the decade; what we can say after putting this issue together is that it’ll be a lot of fun finding out.

Download a free mixtape featuring all our major tips for 2010

Watch a video interview with this week’s cover stars, The Drums

Also in the new issue, find out what we think of Vampire Weekend‘s new album, read new band tips from Arctic Monkeys and Kings Of Leon, and check out our ATP round-up, featuring a frankly stunning picture of Karen O, even if we do say so ourselves.