Bands/Musicians The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists  

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3.4k votes 417 voters 25.8k views 196 items

Avant-garde musicians are among the most interesting musicians in the world, Their curious creative nature allows to experiment with different music and stylistic forms that less creative bands would be afraid to touch. The best avant-garde musicians also bring an element of theatricality to their stage show that often times will reflect the ideas presented and different musical structures of their songs. Art rock bands are considered avant-garde music as well. The best avant-garde music is ahead of its time and the best avant-garde artists are legends because of this forward thinking.

So who are the best avant-garde bands and avant-garde artists? If you look into the recent past, you'll definitely considered art rock bands like Roxy Music and the iconic David Bowie to have taken avant-garde futuristic music and push the envelope well beyond what people expected to hear. Fusing unusual genres along with a new image, in the case of Bowie, the whole Ziggy Stardust and Thin White Duke image, is considered avant-garde. These artists weren't afraid of bending and breaking conventional wisdom and are revered among avant-garde music fans.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best avant-garde artists. If you notice one of the best avant-garde artists not here, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best avant-garde bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest avant-garde musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular avant-garde bands that you might've heard of (196 items)

1
173 35
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
David Bowie Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

2
27 13
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
MrChris added King Crimson New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

3
94 80
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

4
49 39
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Blues-rock, Spoken word, Garage rock

5
27 19
Björk is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house

6
57 51
Nico is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Nico Pop music, Folk music, Folk rock

7
39 33
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Residents Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

8
25 18
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

9
16 10
Public Image Ltd is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Public Image Ltd Noise rock, New Wave, Dance-punk

10
12 6
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

11
47 48
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

12
52 55
Mike Patton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Mike Patton Hip hop music, Noise rock, Rock music

13
14 11
Pere Ubu is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added Pere Ubu New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

14
62 67
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

15
11 8
Devo is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

16
17 16
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Laurie Anderson Experimental music, Art rock

17
15 14
John Lennon & Yoko Ono is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added John Lennon & Yoko Ono Rock music

18
4 1
Mr. Bungle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Mr. Bungle Noise rock, Experimental rock, Funk metal

19
3 0
Fantomas is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Fantomas

20
20 21
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Butthole Surfers Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia

21
5 3
Primus is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Primus Progressive metal, Rock music, Experimental rock

22
18 19
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Tom Islava added The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

23
13 13
Fugazi is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Fugazi Noise rock, Experimental rock, Alternative rock

24
20 22
David Sylvian is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
David Sylvian New Wave, Electronic music, Classical music

25
17 19
The Plastic Ono Band is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Plastic Ono Band Rock music, Experimental music, Art rock

26
16 18
Foetus is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Foetus No wave, Experimental rock, Industrial music

27
19 22
Lydia Lunch is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Lydia Lunch Spoken word, No wave, Experimental rock

28
2 1
Headless Chickens is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Headless Chickens Rock music, Industrial music

29
10 11
Moondog is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Moondog Avant-garde jazz, Outsider music, Jazz

30
13 15
The Brian Jonestown Massacre is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Brian Jonestown Massacre Psychedelic folk, Shoegazing, Rock music

31
30 37
Einstürzende Neubauten is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Einstürzende Neubauten Dark ambient, Noise rock, Industrial rock

32
18 22
Scott Walker is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added Scott Walker Pop music, Rock music, Merseybeat

33
8 10
The Pop Group is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Pop Group Noise rock, Punk rock, Punk funk

34
15 19
Boris is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Boris Doom metal, Noise rock, Rock music

35
1 2
Peeping Tom is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Peeping Tom

36
13 18
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Dark ambient, Space rock, Experimental rock

37
9 13
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Anthony Braxton Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

38
15 21
Peter Hammill is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Peter Hammill Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

39
18 25
Luigi Russolo is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Luigi Russolo Experimental music, Avant-garde

40
2 4
Gwar is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Gwar Horror punk, Crossover thrash, Thrash metal

41
2 4
U.S. Maple is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added U.S. Maple Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

42
8 12
Zu is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Zu Noise rock, Mathcore, Experimental rock

43
11 16
Jordan Rudess is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Jordan Rudess Progressive metal, New Age music, Electronic music

44
13 19
Les Claypool is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Les Claypool Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

45
3 6
Sound Horizon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Sound Horizon Rock music, J-pop, Folk metal

46
3 6
Thinking Fellers Union Local 2... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 Noise rock, Experimental rock, Alternative rock

47
6 10
Sean O'Hagan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Sean O'Hagan Post-rock, Avant-garde music, Avant-garde

48
8 13
Boredoms is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Boredoms Krautrock, Noise rock, Psychedelia

49
2 5
Anne Clark is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Anne Clark New Wave, Electronic music, Avant-garde

50
2 5
Dirty Projectors is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Dirty Projectors New Prog, Experimental rock, Afrobeat