The Cool List 2008

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2Rolo Tomassi

Picture shows : Sheffield Band Rolo Tomassi playing live at King Tuts, Glasgow. Sunday 19th October 2008. Edward Dutton - drums Joe Nicholson - Guitar Eva Spence - vocals James Spence - synth, vocals Joseph Thorpe - Bass Guitar Picture Drew Farrell Tel : 07721-735041.
Eva Spence of Sheffield hardcore bruisers Rolo Tomassi. The band wouldn't be half as thrilling without the razor-raw vocals of Spence, whose guttural banshee screams belie her demure appearance. See exactly what position Spence reached in the NME Cool List 2008 â

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Richard Johnson/NME
Little Boots. Rising starlet and NME blogger, Little Boots - aka 25-year-old Victoria Hesketh - helped shape a vintage year for electro; but you sense her best is yet to come. Who else has made the cut? Find out at NME.COM/THEOFFICE â

4Hyde Park Calling Festival - London

Peter Gabriel performing on the Main Stage at the Hyde Park Calling Festival in central London.
Peter Gabriel of Genesis fame. Yes, really. Chuffed at being name-checked in Vampire Weekend's 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa', Gabriel responded by teaming up with Hot Chip to cover the song. If only all prog dinosaurs were this clued up. Pic: PA Photos

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6ladyhawke

Amy Brammall/NME
New Zealander Ladyhawke makes her debut on the 2008 Cool List. Live she's so shy she can barely look at the audience, yet Pip Brown's limitations as a performer are an intrinsic part of her appeal, creating an enthralling disjunction between the euphoria of the music and the punishing self-doubt of its creator. Pic: Ed Miles

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Press / Getty
Rapper extraordinaire Jay-Z. "For those that didn't get the memo, my name is Jay-Z and I'm pretty fucking awesome." With these words the rapper introduced his Glastonbury headline set, surely one of the most talked-about live performances of all time, and created an unforgettable moment of grandstanding hip-hop theatre in the process. Warranted self-confidence? Let us know at NME.COM/THEOFFICE. Pic: Tom Oxley

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Getty
Andrew VanWyngarden, MGMT makes one of the highest new entry debuts in NME's 2008 Cool List. This year saw the words "shamanic" and "cosmic" bandied around more recklessly than at any time since 1973, and it was primarily down to MGMT's bandana-clad frontman, the blissed-out figurehead for a new generation of inner-vision voyagers. Pic: Ellis Parrinder

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Andy Willsher/NME
Brandon Flowers, The Killers. Sadly no placing for Brandon's moustache this year, which debuted at 18 in 2007. But there will always be room for Flowers in the NME Cool List, regardless of whether he ever gets to the bottom of that human/dancer conundrum: Pic: Pamely Littky

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11The CRibs

Johnny Marr. Tedious reactionaries scoffed at his decision to join The Cribs, but Marr proves that, in an era of endless big name reunions, the coolest thing an "elder statesman" can do is to move with the times, not trade on past achievements. Pic: Tom Oxley

12the last shadow puppets

the last shadow puppets (alex turner and miles kane)
Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys/The Last Shadow Puppets. Despite the best efforts of girlfriend Alexa Chung, Turner is still cool, with The Last Shadow Puppets proving he can play the role of the debonair Scott Walker-type as well as that of the caustic kitchen-sink poet. Pic: Dean Chalkley

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Victor Frankowski/NME
Alice Glass, Crystal Castles. Whether forcing Glastonbury organisers to pull the plug on her crazed onstage antics or eliciting gasps with tales of her nihilistic, rootless upbringing ("bonfires and fights and endless pills"), Glass was a black hole at the centre of 2008, utterly magnetic yet thrillingly inscrutable. Pic: Tom Oxley

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Dan Dennison/NME
Jamie Reynolds, Klaxons. OK, so he didn't really do much in 2008, but the uber-hedonist's wild-eyed determination to have a good time all the time stands as a lesson for us all in these joyless, gloomy times. Pic: Tom Oxley

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Getty
Carl Barat. 2008 was a rough year for the man Pete Doherty used to call Biggles, with serious illness and poor album sales conspiring to spell the end for Dirty Pretty Things. Yet Carlos retains an indelible aura of cool and his recent announcement that The Libertines have "unfinished business" bodes well for 2009. Pic: Jo Plimmer

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Ben Cannon/NME
Matt Bellamy, Muse. Whether he's holding Wembley Stadium in thrall or discussing intergalactic conspiracy theories, Bellamy's greatest gift is his childlike impulsiveness. This is a man who once strapped a praying mantis to a rocket and sent it hurtling skyward, for a laugh. Pic : Andy Willsher

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Andy Whitton/NME
Lovefoxxx, CSS. We were told CSS had "grown up" with second album 'Donkey'. Thankfully that didn't stop Lovefoxxx from dressing up in a silver dragon outfit (see below) and generally turning every UK festival into a riot of kaleidoscopic drunken joy. Again. Pic: Dean Chalkley

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19Style: "Daylight pop plus"

Style: "Daylight pop plus"
Pink Eyes from Fucked Up. The spirit of punk writ large, the swivel-eyed anarchy of Pink Eyes' onstage antics is doubly impressive when you consider that he also holds down a job in the film industry â

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22Music - Blur - Photoshoot

Indie band Blur. (l-r) Graham Coxon, Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn and Alex James
Ex-Blur frontman Damon Albarn. It's been a good year for Albarn - only in 2008 has Albarn's abundant creativity found its most mature expression. Monkey opera is his business, and business is good. Pic: PA Photos

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24the verve shot for nme magazine

the verve shot at marble hill house
Nick McCabe, The Verve. Take away guitarist McCabe and what have you got? Another Richard Ashcroft solo album. And no-one wants that. Don't agree with our shortlist? Then tell us and vote for the Reader's Top 10 at NME.COM/THEOFFICE. Pic: Dean Chalkley

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26Mercury Music Prize - London

Gruff Rhys on stage during Neon Neon performance at the Nationwide Mercury Prize at Grosvenor House, Park Lane.
Gruff Rhys, Neon Neon. Twelve years on from Super Furry Animals' debut album, and a year after calling time on his solo project due to "musical indifference", Gruff Rhys staged 2008's most unlikely comeback, notching up a Mercury nomination for the debut Neon Neon album, 'Stainless Style', his collaboration with producer Boom Bip. Pic: PA Photos

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Emilie Bailey/NME
Friendly Fires' frontman Ed MacFarlane. 'Paris'' beatific chorus - "Every night we'll watch the stars/They'll be out for us" â

30santogold

Santogold. She used to be an R'n'B A&R, before quitting in protest at the way P Diddy was dominating the scene. Clearly, Santi White is someone whose instincts you can trust. Pic: Ed Miles

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34scum

Derek Bremner/NME
Cool List 2008 new entry Tom Vain â

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Foals frontman, Yannis Philippakis. Not even getting arrested in the wake of an ugly fracas with John Lydon in July 2008 could slow the steady ascent of post-punk's hippest Oxford dropout. Pic: Dean Chalkley

36the last shadow puppets

the last shadow puppets (alex turner and miles kane)
Miles Kane, The Rascals/The Last Shadow Puppets. Would he have made the list on the strength of The Rascals? Unlikely. But Alex Turner coaxed a songwriting panache from Kane that had hitherto lain dormant. Meanwhile, few rocked a shirt-and-tie with as much flair as the Wirral lad did in 2008. Pic: Dean Chalkley

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38weezer live

Weezer open Make Believe tour at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Ashley Maile/allactiondigital.com
Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. 2008 was the year he stopped acting batshit barmy and concentrated on writing amazing tunes again. 'Pork And Beans' boasted his best chorus in years, not to mention the best Weezer video since 'Buddy Holly'. Pic: PA Photos

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Queens Of The Stone Age's founding member, Josh Homme. The desert-rock James Dean possesses a classic charisma that ensures he'll always be a Cool List contender. And news that he's working with Arctic Monkeys just makes us love him more.

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Andy Willsher/NME
Jason Pierce, Spiritualized. After nearly dying from double pneumonia in 2007, this year Jason Pierce capped a remarkable comeback with the mesmeric 'Songs In A&E'. The Spiritualized veteran would have ranked even higher had he realised his ambition of playing a gig inside the Large Hadron Collider...Pic: Andy Fallon

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Richard Johnson/NME
The Big Pink's Robbie Furze. Former Alec Empire guitarist Furze is one half of nihilistic drone-kings The Big Pink. The other half is Merok label boss Milo Cordell. You can download a free Big Pink track from the NME Radar blog. You can also tell us what you think of our selection and vote for the reader's Top 10 at NME.COM/THEOFFICE.

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Derek Bremner/NME
One half of Florida's most potty-mouthed lesbian hip-hop duo Yo Majesty, Shunda K is typical of the hard-partying, needle-in-the-red spirit that re-energised hip-hop in 2008. Pic: Pieter M Van Hattem

43lil wayne

Rapper Lil Wayne. Forget the backstory â

44Africa Express at BBC Electric Proms 2008 - London

Reverend and the Makers singer John McClure performs on stage with Western and African musicians at Africa Express during the BBC Electric Proms 2008, at Koko, Camden High Street, north London.
The Rev himself, Jon McClure from Reverend & The Makers. In an age of apolitical hedonists, The Rev is a beacon of conscience and political engagement. You might not always agree with what he says, but in the current apocalyptic climate, rock needs outspoken firebrands like McClure more than ever. Give us your views on our selection and even vote for your own top 10 at NME.COM/THEOFFICE. Pic: PA Photos

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