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COOL LIST 2010

 

It's NME's favourite time of year, as we herald the dudes du jour.

Disagree with our choices? Have your say here. And watch a behind-the-scenes video of the Cool List cover shoot here.

The Cool List 2010 was originally published in the 23 October issue of NME.

Have your say - Vote for the readers' Cool List

 
 
 

He used to be mad as a box of spanners, but the grand vizier of geek-rock has mellowed with age - and the world has come round to his way of thinking. In an age where a film about Facebook tops the box office, we are all geeks now.

And the ecstatic reaction that greeted Weezer at Reading/Leeds this year suggests the band's stock has never been higher.

 
 
 

With a voice that's more stern and passion-filled than Count von Count remonstrating with a parking warden, Bowman invests Chapel Club with boundless gravitas.

Meanwhile, his band prove that the age-old formula of big tunes, long faces and Jesus & Mary Chain-style feedback never stops being awesome.

 
 
 

Like a younger Lucinda Williams (much younger - she's 23), Rose has a plangent quality to her voice that belies her age. And her lyrics are so clear-eyed.

Take this couplet from 'Shanghai Cigarettes': “Trying to quit will make you wish you didn’t start / ‘Cos the pack is as empty as the hole in your heart”.

 
 
 

Part producer, part dubstep singer-songwriter, James Blake is another London-based artist - Katy B is another - who's spinning underground dance music into something fresh, exhilarating and highly listenable.

 
 
 

With yet another mind-expanding album under his belt in the form of 'Halcyon Digest', Bradford Cox has been so good for so long, we're in danger of taking him for granted.

 
 
 

Even collaborating with pop goblin Justin Bieber on 'Rich Girl' hasn't quite dented Soulja Boy's aura. A man of ineffable swag, his upcoming album 'The DeAndre Way' (rumoured guest spots: Kanye, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg) looks likely to confirm him as hip-hop's best-connected young star.

 
 
 

He goes out with a movie star (Kate Hudson) and plays guitar like a Jimi Hendrix for the Virgin Galactic age. Not even the fact that Muse contributed a song to that lame Twilight film can diminish our admiration for their outrageously gifted frontman.

 
 
 

For a man who's supposedly king of the new slackers, Williams gets up to his fair share of mayhem, whether it's getting in a brawl with one of Black Lips or enduring a drug-induced meltdown onstage in Barcelona. He's shambolic and unpredictable, and we like that.

 
 
 

His Twitter feed suggests he's the most upbeat man on earth, and while his song titles might be a little odd ('Summer Cum', 'Five Little Sluts'), there's nothing crude about the beautifully crafted songs that make up Avi Buffalo's debut album.

 
 
 

66. Cher Lloyd off X Factor. Why is she in the Cool List? Allow Jaimie Hodgson to explain.

 
 
 

Representing the UK wing of the new slacker movement, Summer Camp have been responsible for some of the year's sweetest melodies, always delivered with heart-melting purity by the John Hughes-movie-obsessed Sankey.

 
 
 

Raucous, lank-haired and possessed of a saw-toothed howl, Hudson offers a glimpse of what grunge might have sounded like had it emerged in Leeds rather than Seattle.

 
 
 

Chillwave. Hypnagogic pop. It doesn't matter what pretentious name you give to the genre - Greene simply makes music so beautiful and immersive you want to crawl inside it, like a flotation tank.

 
 

62

Glasser

 

She wears a mask on stage and takes her name from "a midnight vision of a figure hovering over water" - yes, Glasser (real name Cameron Mesirow) is one of those witchy post-Bat For Lashes acts (see also Zola Jesus), but there's nothing remotely generic about her gorgeous, synth-drenched debut album.

 
 
 

What with covering Sade and occasionally sounding like Bruce Hornsby, it's hard to know if Ryan Olson is being entirely sincere, but the mellifluous, nostalgic atmospheres he conjures with collaborator Justin Vernon are unquestionably very now.

 
 
 

Like a Steel City equivalent to Alice Glass, Spence's is never less than compelling live. That's mainly because she's got a voice like a heavy artillery bombardment.

 
 
 

Currently riding high on the strength of 'Fuck You', it's wonderful to see helium-voiced soul man Cee-Lo escape the shadow of Gnarls Barkley.

 
 
 

58. Jack White. Whether it's working with Laura Marling or inventing whole new formats, White is evolving into an indie-rock renaissance man, part producer, part elder statesman.

 
 
 

Another British band reviving grunge, Yuck benefit from Blumberg's keen ear for a hook, which will be familiar to those who remember his last band, Cajun Dance Party.

 
 
 

As all modern pop stars must, the man born Radric Davies understands the need to present his life as a soap opera. That's why new album 'The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted' deals with his numerous prison experiences. Sounds generic? It is a bit, but the man's got just enough style to sneak into our list.

 
 
 

In a year of indie singers going solo, few pulled it off with as much panache as Dougall, who left The Pipettes behind to record the mesmerising 'Without Why'. She also cropped up on Mark Ronson's new album, 'Record Collection'.

 
 
 

Last year's 'Phrazes For The Young' solo album seemed to give Julian a fresh jolt of enthusiasm for his craft, and at his solo shows in 2010 - especially at Glastonbury - he looked to be having the most fun he'd had on stage in years.

 
 
 

With a delivery that's by turns exquisitely intimate and painfully intense, Manchester's LoneLady (real name Julie Campbell) is a singer-songwriter who deserves a wider audience.

 
 
 

Because an enormous sweat-drenched man bellowing in your face just never gets tiresome.

 
 
 

OK, he's not done a whole lot of note this year, aside from touring with Them Crooked Vultures, but the man known to his QOTSA bandmates as "the ginger Elvis" will always be at least 15% cooler than the average American rocker.

 
 
 
 
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