Bands/Musicians The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists  

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3.5k votes 443 voters 26.6k 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)
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list ordered by

1
182 36
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

2
34 19
Björk is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house

3
30 16
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
MrChris added New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

4
98 83
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

5
53 40
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Blues-rock, Spoken word, Garage rock

6
16 6
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

7
59 51
Nico is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Folk rock

8
41 33
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

9
10 1
Mr. Bungle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Noise rock, Experimental rock, Funk metal

10
28 20
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

11
11 3
Primus is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Progressive metal, Rock music, Experimental rock

12
17 10
Public Image Ltd is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Noise rock, New Wave, Dance-punk

13
16 11
Pere Ubu is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

14
7 1
Fantomas is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added

15
67 68
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

16
56 56
Mike Patton is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Hip hop music, Noise rock, Rock music

17
13 8
Devo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

18
48 49
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

19
19 16
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Experimental music, Art rock

20
21 20
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Tom Islava added Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

21
17 16
John Lennon & Yoko Ono is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added Rock music

22
21 22
David Sylvian is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
New Wave, Electronic music, Classical music

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

24
20 22
Lydia Lunch is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Spoken word, No wave, Experimental rock

25
20 22
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia