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The Cool List 2010 was originally published in the 23 October issue of NME.
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55Rose Elinor Dougall
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.
52Tim Harrington, Les Savy Fav
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.
People get the wrong idea about Gaga. They think she’s simply about the meat dresses and machine-gun tits and being ‘up the gays’. In fact, the key to her genius is Beatles-esque in its simplicity – her songs are genius.
The ‘package’ is crucial; the way the Haus Of Gaga has formed the most freestanding creative universe since Warhol’s Factory. The way she turned reckless product placement into a Dadaist in-joke with the ‘Telephone’ video. The way that with ‘Born This Way’ she’s about to effectively release her third album in as many years. Clearly, insane over-scheduling is the new rockstar laziness.
Katy’s on a mission, alright. A mission to ensure dubstep is remembered as more than just some beardy-man’s backroom art project by giving it some proper pop props. Already she’s on her way to becoming the genre’s first true breakout star.
Despite starting out at the Brit School she’s shown proper kudos by manoeuvring herself closer and closer to the razor’s edge of cool, hopscotching through Ministry Of Sound to work with Rinse FM and finally hitting the precipice on Magnetic Man’s ‘Perfect Stranger’.
A field of phone-waving shimmy freaks at V can’t be wrong, you might argue, but according to statistics it’s wrong 67.8 per cent of the time, usually while watching Faithless. But not this year, when Plan B drew a bigger crowd than the Pope to celebrate his transformation into the Amy Winehouse you could take home to your mum.
What’s cool about Ben Drew is that he’s planning to follow his soul concept album ‘The Defamation Of Strickland Banks’ with the self-released ‘The Ballad Of Belmarsh’ that might be back-to-his-roots hip-hop, might be reggae, but definitely won’t be the stuff of Skins syncs. Here’s an artist willing to blow his chart cred for the music he believes in.
47Alexis Krauss, Sleigh Bells
In a world where most teachers suck – you included, Ezra Koenig – it’s little wonder Alexis Krauss has found a home in rock’n’roll. The former primary school tutor jacked in books, desks and braces to hang out with MIA and write white noise pop songs with a man she met at
a Brazilian restaurant. In case you hadn’t guessed, randomness is the key to Krauss’ world.
Admittedly, had her mother not introduced her to fellow Sleigh Bell Derek Miller at said eatery, she’d probably still have been handing out detentions right now. But fate’s a beautiful thing, and as anyone who’s seen the band live will attest, Alexis is way more suited to throwing herself around a stage than slumming it in the schoolyard.
With barely a shred of nonchalance about her, she’s also fearlessly impulsive – inviting her kids with the highest grades to sing backing vocals on the band’s album, for instance. All together now: Awwww! Thanks Miss!
46Dave Sitek, TV On the Radio
If there was one man who seemed the least likely to turn up to your house party and moonwalk across your kitchen floor, it was TV On The Radio helmsman Dave Sitek. When NME travelled to the USA to talk about ‘Dear Science’, he refused to even leave his bus.
So, when he released his ‘Maximum Balloon’ album, featuring Jacko-esque rubber-funk and more party appeal than a clown with four-foot red shoes and a hat with a propeller on it, it was the coolest about-turn we’d witnessed since The Horrors stopped believing they were The Cramps. Suddenly he’s the guy who wouldn’t just moonwalk on your floor, he’d hand out party poppers like gig-flyers