bands/musicians The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists  

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3.1k votes 397 voters 25.3k views 190 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 (190 items)
list ordered by

1
166 32
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
89 77
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

3
23 11
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
MrChris added King Crimson New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

4
44 38
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
23 16
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

6
14 7
Public Image Ltd is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Public Image Ltd Noise rock, New Wave, Dance-punk

7
53 50
Nico is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Nico Pop music, Folk music, Folk rock

8
35 31
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Residents Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

9
23 18
Björk is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house

10
14 10
John Lennon & Yoko Ono is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added John Lennon & Yoko Ono Rock music

11
16 13
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Tom Islava added The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

12
9 5
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

13
13 10
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
58 63
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

The Best New Male Artists

15
9 6
Devo is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

16
43 47
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

17
11 9
Fugazi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Fugazi Noise rock, Experimental rock, Alternative rock

18
47 54
Mike Patton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Mike Patton Hip hop music, Noise rock, Rock music

19
14 14
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Laurie Anderson Experimental music, Art rock

20
9 8
Moondog is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Moondog Avant-garde jazz, Outsider music, Jazz

21
17 18
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Butthole Surfers Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia

The Greatest One-Hit Wonder Songs of the 70s

22
16 17
The Plastic Ono Band is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Plastic Ono Band Rock music, Experimental music, Art rock

23
14 16
Foetus is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Foetus No wave, Experimental rock, Industrial music

24
29 35
Einstürzende Neubauten is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Einstürzende Neubauten Dark ambient, Noise rock, Industrial rock

25
17 20
Lydia Lunch is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Lydia Lunch Spoken word, No wave, Experimental rock

26
17 20
Scott Walker is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added Scott Walker Pop music, Rock music, Merseybeat

27
11 13
The Brian Jonestown Massacre is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Brian Jonestown Massacre Psychedelic folk, Shoegazing, Rock music

28
17 21
David Sylvian is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
David Sylvian New Wave, Electronic music, Classical music

The Best K-pop Dancers of All Time

29
2 2
U.S. Maple is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added U.S. Maple Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

30
14 18
Boris is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Boris Doom metal, Noise rock, Rock music

31
7 9
The Pop Group is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Pop Group Noise rock, Punk rock, Punk funk

32
8 11
Zu is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Zu Noise rock, Mathcore, Experimental rock

33
43 58
Vasily Shumov is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Vasily Shumov New Wave, Electronic music, Avant-garde

34
2 4
Dirty Projectors is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Dirty Projectors New Prog, Experimental rock, Afrobeat

35
8 12
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Anthony Braxton Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

36
14 20
Peter Hammill is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Peter Hammill Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

37
17 24
Luigi Russolo is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Luigi Russolo Experimental music, Avant-garde

38
3 6
Sound Horizon is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Sound Horizon Rock music, J-pop, Folk metal

39
9 14
Marion Brown is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Marion Brown Jazz, Avant-garde

40
10 16
Jordan Rudess is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Jordan Rudess Progressive metal, New Age music, Electronic music

41
4 8
Yoko Ono is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Yoko Ono Pop music, Rock music, Electronic dance music

42
4 8
Ahleuchatistas is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Ahleuchatistas Noise, Jazz, Progressive rock

The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders

43
9 15
Les Rallizes Dénudés is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Les Rallizes Dénudés Noise rock, Garage rock, Avant-garde

44
6 11
Keuhkot is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Keuhkot Industrial music, Avant-garde, Post-punk

45
0 3
Gastr Del Sol is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added Gastr Del Sol Rock music

46
0 3
The Synthetic Dream Foundation is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
victoriasellinger added The Synthetic Dream Foundation Neoclassical Dark Wave, Trip hop, Steampunk

47
0 3
Doug Tielli is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Doug Tielli Jazz, Indie rock, Avant-garde

48
0 3
Yonin Bayashi is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Yonin Bayashi New Wave, Progressive rock, Avant-garde

49
0 3
System D-128 is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
System D-128 Electronic music, Rap music, Freestyle rap

50
0 3
Dywane Thomas, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Dywane Thomas, Jr. Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Noise music