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.
8Marina And The Diamonds
NME says: Hers is an almost unnervingly absorbing pop personality, one so strong that it seems to have its own gravitational pull.
She says: "Fuck being cool, I'm living my absolute dreams!"
Free mixtape track: 'Obsessions'
NME says: If you took Joy Division at their starkest, and gave it to the Pet Shop Boys to perform on The X Factor, you'd be getting somewhere close to Hurts' songwriting process.
They say: "I'm very much of the opinion that you can say a lot with a little." (Theo Hutchcraft).
Free mixtape track: 'It's A Wonderful Life'
NME says: Kindness, aka Adam Bainbridge, makes music that's worth tying a man down in a dilapidated warehouse for.
He says: "I want there to be a purity to music, to reject the crassness of contemporary culture."
Free mixtape track: 'Swinging Party'
NME says: Skream + Benga + Artwork = Magnetic Man, the dubstep collective set to destroy 2010.
They say: "We're still all about dubstep, but this is another evolution. We can get creative."
Free mixtape track: 'The Cyberman'
4Egyptian Hip Hop
NME says: "Categorising them is like trying to pin the genre on a bolting donkey. In pitch black. While on ketamine.
They say: "What really interests me is what we'll sound like by the end of next year. I've got no idea." (Alex Hewett).
Free mixtape track: 'Rad Pitt'
The south-east London area of Peckham might just have found an unlikely saviour in Nathan Thompsons, aka Hollowman, aka Giggs - currently being touted by his new label XL as UK rap's brightest new hope.
NME says: "You wouldn't exactly call him an angel - last we checked, Gabriel never served two years in prison for gun charges (as Thompson had by his 21st birthday). However, the 27-year-old, , insists he's a man who's out the "naughtiness" of his youth behind him."
He says: "It's easier when I go to America because a lot of other people have gun charges and stuff."
Free mixtape track: 'Talking The Hardest'
Ellie Goulding is a British singer-songwriter currently signed to Polydor. She is currently finishing recording her debut album with producer Mark Ronson, due to be released in the first quarter of 2010.
NME says: "Ellie's not Lady Gaga. She seems real. You can imagine pouring your heart out to her, and you can imagine her doing the same.
She says: "If I summed up everyone who's sent me a message over the last year, it's mostly girls going, 'Yeah, I totally know what you mean'."
Free mixtape track: 'Wish I Stayed (Demo)'
There are few things that unite the NME office, bar mild alcoholism, social retardation or the threat of imminent nuclear holocaust. So when we heard The Drums and realised that we all thought they were brilliant, we were suspicious. Surely some trick? This perfect band must be a kind of Trojan horse, a trap to get us all into one venue and then gas us like the vermin we are.
Probe as we might, though, we can’t see any rotten molars on this fine-fetlocked gift pony. From the innocent/knowing euphoria of the early-Cure-gone-west-coast sunshine pop of ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ via the Jonathan Richman-ish naivety of ‘The Saddest Summer’ to the synth-soaked, John Hughes-soundtrack new romantic crush-angst of ‘I Felt Stupid’, it’s all so flawless you almost feel embarrassed for everyone else. And they only formed a year ago!
Let’s just hope these cads don’t leave us with summer dreams, ripped at the seams… Emily Mackay
Free mixtape track: 'I Felt Stupid'