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The New Immortals

14 more artists who will stand the test of time, from Kanye West to Wilco

Back in 2004, Rolling Stone assembled an expert panel of musicians, industry figures and critics to pick the 50 greatest artists of all time. We called these artists "The Immortals." A year later, our panelists expanded the roster to 100 all-time great artists, which you can read right here. But time stands still for no list, and when we look around us today we see a whole galaxy of other stars who belong in the Immortals conversation. Click through for 14 currently active (or relatively recently defunct) artists who we think will stand the test of time – the kind of acts whose names we wouldn't be surprised to see on a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot at some point down the road when they become eligible. Meet the New Immortals.

Related:
The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time

the roots questlove

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The Roots

The Roots may not have technically been the first live band in hip-hop – shout-out to Stetsasonic – but hands down, they're the greatest. Drummer Ahmir Thompson (a.k.a. Questlove) and rapper Tariq Trotter (a.k.a. Black Thought) connected in the late 1980s, when they were classmates at a performing-arts high school in Philadelphia. From 1993 on, they recorded a string of acclaimed LPs with an expanded line-up that took the jazzy style of predecessors like A Tribe Called Quest in revolutionary new directions – stirring in funk, soul, psychedelia and art-rock influences as the years flew by. In 2009, after nearly 15 years of tireless touring, the Roots accepted a gig as the house band on Jimmy Fallon's new late-night show. This could have heralded a comfortable retirement – but instead they've somehow become even more prolific, releasing some of their most fearless music to date and jamming on national television with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Prince.

the strokes julian casablancas

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The Strokes

The Strokes burst onto the scene in 2001 with an effortlessly distinct sound: Julian Casablancas' audible distant scowl, Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr.'s clashing double-guitar attack and an air-tight rhythm section. The band's first two albums, 2001's Is This It and 2003's Room on Fire, wrapped the youthful decadence and dive-bar realism of lower Manhattan life into contagious hooks recalling the Velvet Underground. The combination was monumental enough to open doors for a generation of rock & roll bands – including Kings of Leon, the Black Keys and many more. "Why does everything that has to be big and popular suck?" Julian Casablancas asked Rolling Stone in 2003. "We're trying to change that."

LCD Soundsystem

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LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem accomplished more in 10 years than most bands achieve in 40. Led by super-cool New York DJ James Murphy, the group made its first mark with 2002's "Losing My Edge," the hysterical, tongue-in-cheek lament of an aging hipster. The equally clever "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House" scored them even more popularity, but it was their 2007 disc Sound of Silver that cemented their legacy for decades to come – with highlights ranging from the somber ("Someone Great") to the sublime ("All My Friends"). Suddenly, LCD Soundsystem were headlining theaters all over the world and hearing their songs on Gossip Girl and in major Hollywood movies. Murphy could have easily milked his newfound popularity for years to come, but instead he opted to end the band after one more album and tour. They spent all of 2011 on the road, wrapping up at a marathon Madison Square Garden farewell show that had the entire crowd dancing and singing all night.

phish trey Anastasio

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Phish

Phish spent the Eighties in Vermont honing their chops with some unconventional practice techniques: jamming for eight hours straight after drinking mushroom-laced hot chocolate, playing long stretches blindfolded or hitting a single note for an hour. The band let fans bootleg their actual shows freely, and by 1993 they were conquering amphitheaters around the country, even organizing their own gigantic camp-out music festivals. Phish's weirdness wouldn't work without tight songs ("Bouncing Around the Room," "You Enjoy Myself") and vast graduate-level improvisational skills: Trey Anastasio can mimic Bach, Jerry Garcia, King Crimson and John Coltrane on his guitar with ease, and the band can nail entire albums by Little Feat or the Beatles at their famous Halloween gigs. They can also get away with stunts like the Big Ball Jam. "We had huge exercise balls we threw into the audience," keyboardist Page McConnell told Rolling Stone in 2003. "You had to play rhythmically with the way your ball bounced around the room. That's how our whole career has been – stupid ideas that work."

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