Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

You should love this music because...

The best new bands and singers have been selected by some of Britain's most influential tastemakers as part of the BBC's Sound of 2009 search.

More than 130 pundits named their favourite three new artists and the tips were counted. A longlist of 15 was published in December and the top five artists will be revealed from Monday.

Before that, a selection of the experts explain why they love the acts they picked. They also reveal the underrated albums they want to break through in 2009, and which established acts we will be enjoying in the next 12 months.

Favourite new acts

Little Boots
Victoria Hesketh is the perfect pop star. She knocks out great tunes and takes her music seriously while celebrating the giddy heights of pop at its best. As a result, she understands pop in a way that puts her miles ahead of her nearest rivals.

Julian Perretta
Julian's got a brilliantly expressive and quintessentially English songwriting style in the tradition of The Kinks and David Bowie, and since signing to Columbia in 2008 things seem to have been taking shape for a bright 2009. Great hair as well.

British male singer-songwriters make beige music which can't set pulses racing. Frankmusik is the solution - astonishingly talented, he has teamed up with Madonna and Killers producer Stuart Price for a stylish, modern and human debut album full of potential hits.

Most underrated album of 2008

Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke. Every year there's an artist whose lack of overnight success confuses and upsets me. In 2008, it was Ladyhawke. Her album is a romantic, atmospheric and sometimes lonely-sounding album which deserves a big push.

Best returning artist for 2009

Pet Shop Boys' new album Yes is produced with Xenomania. The duo who defined pop in the 20th Century and the hit-house who redefined it in the 21st. The album is a phenomenal return to form.

Favourite new acts

The Soft Pack (formerly The Muslims)
This tip came through just as a band name from a mate, but hearing the first 20 seconds of Parasites on their MySpace gave me goose bumps. It's alternately perky and dirty and done with a swagger few UK bands ever seem to pull off.

Empire of the Sun
I hated Empire of the Sun at first. It sounded over-played, over-produced and over-thought. But relentless spins on the NME stereo has made me fall for their lush '80s sound. The tracks throb and glow. Will be one of the albums of the year, no doubt.

Florence and the Machine
There's no-one to touch Florence right now. She might be barking but she's more rock 'n' roll than the rest of the scene put together and she's got the tunes and the voice to back it up. An inspiration.

Most underrated album of 2008

Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel. This was one of my albums of the year but it never completely connected. I love the combination of out-there tunes with hard, danceable grooves. They ripped it up at Reading but it's still all waiting to happen.

Best returning artist for 2009

Don't tell me Blur aren't going to start recording new stuff. Damon and Graham just can't stop writing and now they're playing live together again it can't help but happen. Album for Christmas 2009?

Favourite new acts

Dan Black
The minute I heard his track HPNTZ I knew this guy was special. His debut album combines yearning vocals with super melodic pop hooks and exciting, ultra-contemporary production. I love it.

Passion Pit
This band stood out straight away for me. Sonically they fall somewhere between MGMT and Hot Chip - alt rock electronica? And they're writing great songs. Rock fans will love them and dance fans will too. I predict they'll be festival favourites in 2009.

Carolina Liar
Their debut album is packed with strong melodic rock/pop songs with hints of The Fray and The Killers. It boasts fantastic production from Max Martin and lead singer Chad Wolf is blessed with a tremendous emotive voice. This is just waiting to blow up.

Most underrated album of 2008

The King Blues - Save The World, Get The Girl. It was refreshing to find an act with something to say and the ability to write great melodic songs. I don't necessarily agree with their politics, but I admire them. Their time may yet come.

Best returning artist for 2009

There are some serious contenders, but Green Day have to be top of the list.

Favourite new acts

Little Boots
Imagine if Debbie Harry had come from Blackpool and played the synthesiser. 2009 looks set to be dominated by the sound of electropop and Ms Boots should be one if its stars with her wonderfully catchy pop songs.

VV Brown
She continues the trend of today's girls, borrowing from the '60s, but VV takes it in a purely pop direction. She's talented, bright, infectious and, refreshingly, she isn't surrounded by teams of producers and writers.

White Lies
In the boys with guitars department, 2008 belonged to the US. White Lies should turn the tide back to the UK in 2009. With their epic and soaring songs, atmospheric shows and nod to the likes of Editors and Joy Division, they should have a successful year.

Most underrated album of 2008

Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires. Brilliant live and with a sound that was fun and refreshing from a UK group, I hope they get a second look in 2009.

Best returning artist for 2009

I am looking forward to the return of Franz Ferdinand and Green Day this year.

Favourite new acts
Jersey Budd
I love Jersey's down-to-earth charm and love of good old-fashioned songwriting. You can hear classic Springsteen and Mellencamp influences all over his music. Kasabian are big fans of this Leicester native, which is a big recommendation indeed.

Florence and the Machine
Our presenter Geoff Lloyd picked Dog Days Are Over as his single of the week and the following week we added it to the playlist. I love the complex song construction and stunning vocals. It is adventurous but it works on radio too.

Nick Harrison
For someone brought up on the 2 Tone magic of The Specials, Selecter and The Beat, I love Nick's refreshing approach to ska music. He gives it a contemporary twist - basically because he writes great songs.

Most underrated album of 2008

Panic at the Disco - Pretty Odd. This is an adventurous mix of alternative, country, Americana and vaudeville with Beatle-esque nuances. Their usually loyal fanbase were left bewildered but every time I play it to people, they fall in love with its whimsy.

Best returning artist for 2009

An obvious choice but it would have to be U2. They are still one of the greatest bands in the world and their recorded output has been of a consistently high standard. To have maintained a career at the top, approaching 30 years, is a huge achievement.

Favourite new acts

Broken Records
One of those bands you hear and either don't get or fall in love with completely. I fall very much into the latter camp - they have a sound that's as evocative as a lot of the great new American folksy rock music of the past year or two.

White Lies
Lots of newish bands have tried to take that icy melodic, Joy Division-esque sound and run with it but most of them have forgotten the need for great songs. White Lies haven't, which makes them stand out.

VV Brown
Great voice, great look, ready-made star. Simple as that.

Most underrated album of 2008

The Gaslight Anthem (The '59 Sound) made the best song-for-song record of the year by far, and My Morning Jacket (Evil Urges) served up a modern masterpiece, and both deserve to have been both bought and acclaimed far more widely.

Best returning artist for 2009

That'll be U2 with their No Line On The Horizon album and the attendant tour. I've been fortunate enough to hear a number of the tracks slated for the album, and there's a real sense that this is the best thing they've done since Achtung Baby.

Favourite new acts

Master Shortie
Rather than the typical grime MC you'd expect a 19-year-old black kid from the streets of London to be, he's a little bit indie, a little bit hip-hop, a little bit electro but very relevant, now and damn good! 2009 sees the release of his debut album ADHD.

Soda Boys
A collective of arty creatives from across the world - think Basement Jaxx meets Daft Punk in a London '80's hip-hop, reggae and soul night. They merge the dance and black music worlds perfectly.

Kid Cudi
Has been making waves in the underground hip-hop scene for the past year. His natural sound is quality hip-hop with soulful tendencies and as he's worked with Kanye West on his album. Kanye is returning the favour on Cudi's album and has signed him.

Most underrated album of 2008

Jazmine Sullivan - Fearless. Mixing R&B, dance, reggae, jazz and classical influences with a hefty slab of soul, it was fresh yet familiar - innovative yet unpretentious. The album deserved to be a success both in the UK and US. A brilliant journey album.

Best returning artist for 2009

We've been promised Dr Dre's much fabled Detox album, but Ms Dynamite is a safer yet still exciting prospect. After disappearing from the public eye to raise her kids, she's back and is starting again with some real hits with great crossover potential.

Favourite new acts

White Lies
I love bands that create their own world and, although the influences are pretty clear, this album still sounds very fresh. Most importantly, however, the songs already feel stadium-sized.

The Temper Trap
This is a band with a unique and expansive sound that have a singer with a stunning voice and some of the most seductive songs you will hear all year. They also nail it live and will engage both press and radio with equal enthusiasm.

Run Toto Run
Run Toto Run is the band built around Manchester singer-songwriter Rachel Kitchenside. She writes some of the most beautiful and interesting songs - definitely one to keep an eye on.

Most underrated album of 2008

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound. This has received some good press but that is just the tip of the iceberg. They will be the word-of-mouth success story of 2009.

Best returning artist for 2009

Liam Frost and Sam Isaac are two great British singer-songwriters who will deservedly make 2009 their year.

Favourite new acts

The Big Pink
They're the dark underbelly of the top London scene. There's an obvious Velvet Underground obsession that sounds really cruel and horrible but with a soulful subtlety. They're going to be both the big art-school success of the year and the critics' choice.

Titus Andronicus
They paraphrase WH Auden, mention Brueghel and open their album with quotes from Titus Andronicus, the play. The poetry and romance are coupled with dangerous shambolic rock 'n' roll that reminds me of the Libertines.

Fan Death
They've got a bunch of work to do but no-one's got more hooks. Every song I've heard is potentially massive and it's only going to take two banging remixes and everyone's going to fall in love with them. Plus, lead singer Dandi Wind is a super cool chick.

Most underrated album of 2008

Cass McCombs - Dropping the Writ. I'm normally wary of folk but he's got a great sense of non-conformist songwriting. It's honest, contemporary and still folk. It was a bit of PR away from being every person's favourite "intellectual" album this year.

Best returning artist for 2009

A friend has heard Klaxons' second album and said it's fantastic. They did really exciting things a couple of years ago and more than anyone are poised to make an incredible return. If they do it properly they can prove that pop music isn't necessarily dead.

Favourite new acts

Lady GaGa
Just Dance is a great single but the album is full of hit singles. She is also working with the world's contemporary hitmakers, so the A list surely beckons.

VV Brown
She has a totally fresh approach to pop songs - the commercial appeal of Kate Nash with the credible box still firmly ticked.

All Time Low
American pop punk bands are often overlooked in these polls, but these guys have great songs and a terrific album - expect success similar to Paramore in 2009.

Most underrated album of 2008

Foxboro Hot Tubs - Stop Drop And Roll!!! A cracking album that leaves any listener salivating for a whole lot more.

Best returning artist for 2009

I'm an obsessive Green Day fan and frankly new material from these guys gets me very excited. Also it's been nearly five years in the making so it should be an absolute corker.

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