The Future 50: The bands, the artists, the innovators


Today we’re counting down the Future 50, the fifty most forward-thinking people in music today. Get this week’s mag for the full lowdown on all of these pioneers. In at 50 is Gaggle, a phenomenal all-girl choir. Pic: Tom Oxley

Xenomania, Brian and Miranda

At 49 is Xenomania, the production duo that have redefined the notion of pop through their work with Franz, Sugababes, Girls Aloud and many, many more.

Style: “invasion”

Invasion are at 48. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re the most exciting metal band you’ll hear all year. And the drummer plays her drums while they’re on fire. Pic: Tom Oxley



Brixton’s Cooly G is at 45 in our Future 50 list. The girl manages to combine a career as a social worker and semi-pro footballer with a sideline in impeccable funky house. Pic: Tom Oxley


Newcastle’s cinema scene is set to become the envy of the country as the city’s Star And Shadow Cinema continues to go from strength to strength. The pioneering venue is in at 44.


Barcelona’s Sonar is not just a cutting-edge festival in one of the world’s greatest cities, it’s also a symposium of ideas and haven for innovators. It’s placed 43 in our Future 50 list.


If you’ve ever put a donk on anything, you owe it to this lot, The Blackout Crew, who are in at 42.


3OH!3 Shot NME Radar

3OH!3 split opinion like all true pioneers do. Their electro-crunk goofiness is an acquired taste, but the pair are living in the year 2525 and putting Denver on the map. They are placed at 41. Pic: Richard Johnson


At Number 40, Stephen McGregor spearheads Jamaica’s dancehall scene. The NME Future 50 list celebrates the most forward-thinking people in music today. Get this week’s magazine for a full explanation of each act and head over to the blogs to have your say on who should be in the list. Pic: Stephen M


Normally we’d avoid opera like the plague, but with Damon, The Knife and Tyondai from Battles dabbling, we changed our minds. Opera makes 39.

Hannah and Aldene

If you’ve ever admired Florence, The Horrors or even Gallows’ sense of style, you have Aldene Johnson and Hannah Marshall to thank for their impeccable dress sense. Pic: Tom Oxley



Number 37 in our list goes to a video game. Project Natal is no normal video game though, it tracks your body movements via a wireless remote. So you can get fit while lost in a virtual world of bloodshedding.


34 goes to Hyperdub, the label that gave us Burial and then dubstep and in the future Joker and 2000F. These names will mean something when you catch up with them.

Lily Allen sighting – London

Seb Chew is at 33. He’s the A&R man that signed Klaxons, La Roux and Delphic and is therefore responsible for some of the most exciting music of the last three years. He also runs trend-setting London nightclub YoYo. Pic: PA Photos


Sweden the country places 32 in our Future 50 list, mostly because they have a political party there dedicated to free downloads.


Producer and songwriter Greg Kurstin has worked on a galaxy of great music of the last few years, from Little Boots to The Flaming Lips, Lily Allen and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. He makes 31.


When MGMT wanted someone to work on their highly anticipated second album, they turned to legendary Spacemen 3 man Sonic Boom. Get this week’s mag to find out why.

Take That live at the O2 Arena – London

The one boy band that compels normally cynical NME staffers to drop everything and run off screaming in a glittery pink hat, Take That took stage shows to a new level this year with mechanical elephants, flame-throwers and a bundle of circus tricks. Pic: PA Photos

19 is a website label that allows fans to fund their favourite artists that have been ruthlessly dropped by their labels, like Patrick Wolf. They’re at 27. Pic: Tom Oxley


Michachu plays with a vacuum cleaner. This alone is enough to get her at 26. Pic: Andy Whitton


Merok’s latest signing were always going to be special, and confessed ex-rent boys Salem (at 25) are set to redefine what we know about digital noise-pop.


Ray Tintori (at 22) made the video to MGMT’s ‘Time To Pretend’, and established a name for himself as one of the most visionary directors around. Pic: Ben Rowland


Platform, the website for young people that’s like Vice with the fangs filed down, hits number 21 in the NME Future 50 list.


Winners of the new band award at this year’s NME Awards, The Big Pink have delivered on their early promise again and again this year at numerous live shows, which gets them in the top twenty at 20. Pic: Tom Oxley


If you’re not a member of the Twitterari you might as well be living in 1995. Everything happens here, and the site is at 19.


Mike Sniper runs a label out of Brooklyn called Captured Tracks, and reaches number 17 in our countdown of the Future 50. Pic: Lyndsey Welgo


Norwich has historically been a joke city, thanks in large part to Alan Partridge. However, its DIY scene has resurrected the area, and it ranks 15th in our list.


Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox has a fine sideline in dreamy drone with his other project Atlas Sound and places 14th in our Future 50 list.


If you’ve never heard of Mattias Arrelid, that’s probably fair enough. However, if you’ve ever spent an evening with Spotify, you’ll see why he’s at 13 in our list.

La Roux (elly jackson)

This week’s NME cover star is pop sensation La Roux. She’s 10th in our Future 50 list, and there’s a five-page feature with the best thing to come out of ‘The Bill”s June Ackland in the mag. Pic: Dean Chalkley

little boots

Edging slightly ahead, though, is Blackpool electro minx Little Boots, who is placed at Ninth. Pic: Tom Oxley


VBS.TV is the video arm of Vice, responsible for the classic documentary ‘Heavy Metal In Baghdad’. They’re in at Eighth.

2009 CFDA Fashion Awards – New York

As if The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather weren’t enough, Jack White also runs a label in Nashville called Third Man Records, churning out the kind of timeless records most labels would chew their A&R man’s arm off to find. Pic: PA Photos

The XX

The XX are one of those few bands that can claim – accurately – that they sound like no-one else around. To find out more about them and for an interview with their beatmaster Jamie Smith, get this week’s NME. Pic: Tom Oxley


Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor is third in our Future 50. His 2007 concept album ‘Year Zero’ was seeded in an online ‘alternate reality game’, and in some cases USB sticks hidden in concert venues. His latest release was priced between free and 300 dollars, and saw him revolutionise the concept of music distribution yet again.

Animal Collective

Top spot in the NME Future 50, the definitive list of music’s most forward-thinking pioneers in 2009, goes to Animal Collective. For a full feature on the band get this week’s NME. Pic: Mathieu Zazzou