Bands/Musicians The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists  

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3.2k votes 406 voters 25.6k 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)

1
172 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
91 78
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
24 12
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
45 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
55 50
Nico is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Nico Pop music, Folk music, Folk rock

6
37 31
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Residents Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

7
23 16
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

8
24 18
Björk is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Björk Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house

9
15 9
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
18 14
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Tom Islava added The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

11
10 5
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

12
60 63
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

13
14 11
John Lennon & Yoko Ono is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added John Lennon & Yoko Ono Rock music

14
45 47
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

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15
13 10
Pere Ubu is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added Pere Ubu New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

16
10 7
Devo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

17
49 55
Mike Patton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Mike Patton Hip hop music, Noise rock, Rock music

18
12 11
Fugazi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Fugazi Noise rock, Experimental rock, Alternative rock

19
15 15
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
19 20
Lydia Lunch is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Lydia Lunch Spoken word, No wave, Experimental rock

21
4 2
Primus is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Primus Progressive metal, Rock music, Experimental rock

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22
2 0
Mr. Bungle is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Mr. Bungle Noise rock, Experimental rock, Funk metal

23
15 16
Foetus is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Foetus No wave, Experimental rock, Industrial music

24
18 20
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Butthole Surfers Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia

25
9 9
Moondog is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Moondog Avant-garde jazz, Outsider music, Jazz

26
30 35
Einstürzende Neubauten is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Einstürzende Neubauten Dark ambient, Noise rock, Industrial rock

27
12 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
16 18
The Plastic Ono Band is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Plastic Ono Band Rock music, Experimental music, Art rock

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29
2 1
Gwar is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Gwar Horror punk, Crossover thrash, Thrash metal

30
18 21
David Sylvian is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
David Sylvian New Wave, Electronic music, Classical music

31
1 0
Fantomas is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Fantomas

32
1 0
Headless Chickens is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Headless Chickens Rock music, Industrial music

33
1 0
Peeping Tom is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Peeping Tom

34
17 20
Scott Walker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added Scott Walker Pop music, Rock music, Merseybeat

35
15 18
Boris is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Boris Doom metal, Noise rock, Rock music

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36
2 2
U.S. Maple is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added U.S. Maple Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

37
7 9
The Pop Group is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
The Pop Group Noise rock, Punk rock, Punk funk

38
8 11
Zu is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Zu Noise rock, Mathcore, Experimental rock

39
18 24
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
Dirty Projectors is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Dirty Projectors New Prog, Experimental rock, Afrobeat

41
8 12
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Anthony Braxton Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

42
43 58
Vasily Shumov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Vasily Shumov New Wave, Electronic music, Avant-garde

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43
14 20
Peter Hammill is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Peter Hammill Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

44
3 6
Sound Horizon is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Sound Horizon Rock music, J-pop, Folk metal

45
9 14
Marion Brown is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Marion Brown Jazz, Avant-garde

46
10 16
Jordan Rudess is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Jordan Rudess Progressive metal, New Age music, Electronic music

47
7 12
KUKL is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
KUKL Gothic rock, Anarcho-punk, Industrial music

48
4 8
Ahleuchatistas is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Ahleuchatistas Noise, Jazz, Progressive rock

49
12 19
Les Claypool is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Les Claypool Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

50
9 15
Les Rallizes Dénudés is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Les Rallizes Dénudés Noise rock, Garage rock, Avant-garde