For a hands-on accompaniment to the issue, you can download a free mixtape featuring all the bands we're tipping over on Jaimie Hodgson's Radar blog.
Plus, let us know who you think deserves to make it big in 2010 by posting a comment on the office blog.
Read about all these bands in more detail in this week's NME, on sale Wednesday 6 January.
NME says: South London's Joy Orbison creates a forward-thinking amalgamation of dubstep, Balearic bliss and UK garage that seems like a logical next step in dance music's evolution.
Free mixtape track: 'Hyph Mngo'
17The Avett Brothers
NME says: North Carolina's The Avett Brothers cross-stitch folk traditions on to punk dynamics in the way that Mumford & Sons or Goldheart Assembly do in the UK.
Free mixtape track: 'Will You Return?'
NME says: Washed Out is the prolific project of elusive 27-year-old Ernest Greene, who hails from the deepest depths of America's South, and is now at the centre of a slobbering industry scrum. He appears to have 2010 on lockdown.
Free mixtape track: 'Feel It All Around'
NME says: Theirs is a modern, mathy mongrel pop music where the spirit of contemporary R&B, classical songwriting structure and barbershop harmonies are all ripe for the picking.
They say: "We're trying to avoid cliche at all costs. If it's Girls Aloud or Slint, it doesn't matter."
Free mixtape track: 'My KZ Urbf'
NME says: Equal parts eccentric and anthemic, this Florida fivesome sound like an unholy jam between a demon-less Frank Black, Paul Simon and a sunburnt Rivers Cuomo.
Free mixtape track: 'Swim To Reach The End'
13Music Go Music
NME says: We've been enchanted by California's hippy-disco mystics Music Go Music since they first emerged as the offshoot of showtune indie-gods Bodies Of Water.
They say: "Maybe the fact that we do other things aside from Music Go Music means it isn't really a reflection of our identities."
Free mixtape track: 'Warm In The Shadows (Villa Remix')
NME says: Darwin Deez's debut single 'Constellations' zooms between the louche vocals of Julian Casablancas and the best '80s staccato fret-fluttering.
He says: His plans for 2010 include "opening for Passion Pit, kissing girls and bringing my homemade jams to Europe - musical jams, not jelly."
Free mixtape track: 'Constellations'
NME says: London bravely ditches macho posturing for poetry, ice-cold beats, recycled '80s electro and no wave snippets.
He says: "I'm a voice over raw beats with blaring synth and dancing bass lines."
Free mixtape track: 'Humdrum Town'
10Frankie And The Heartstrings
NME says: A neater amalgam of pop, post-punk, art-rock and indie you'll struggle to find.
They say: "'Biology' by Girls Aloud is better than anything in Radiohead's back catalogue." (Pete Gofton).
Free mixtape track: 'Possibilities'
NME says: Delphic could end up a world-conquering band. Their anthemic brand of house music enhanced with arena-sized guitars has the potential to define a summer.
They say: "We're trying to recreate that 5am feeling when you're wandering round after a club."
Free mixtape track: 'Counterpoint'