Bands/Musicians The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists  

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3.5k votes 429 voters 26.1k 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)
list ordered by

1
178 35
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

2
29 14
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
MrChris added New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

3
96 81
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

4
31 19
Björk is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Electronic dance music, Jazz, Tribal house

5
50 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
58 51
Nico is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Folk rock

7
15 6
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

8
26 19
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

9
39 33
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

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

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

12
15 11
Pere Ubu is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

13
12 8
Devo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

14
63 67
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

15
53 56
Mike Patton is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Hip hop music, Noise rock, Rock music

16
7 3
Primus is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Progressive metal, Rock music, Experimental rock

17
18 16
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Experimental music, Art rock

18
5 1
Mr. Bungle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Noise rock, Experimental rock, Funk metal

19
4 0
Fantomas is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added

20
20 19
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
16 16
John Lennon & Yoko Ono is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added Rock music

22
20 21
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia

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

25
16 18
Foetus is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
No wave, Experimental rock, Industrial music

26
19 22
Lydia Lunch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Spoken word, No wave, Experimental rock

27
2 1
Headless Chickens is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Rock music, Industrial music

28
10 11
Moondog is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Outsider music, Jazz

29
13 15
The Brian Jonestown Massacre is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Psychedelic folk, Shoegazing, Rock music

30
17 20
The Plastic Ono Band is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Rock music, Experimental music, Art rock

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

34
15 19
Boris is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
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

36
14 19
Les Claypool is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

37
13 18
Godspeed You! Black Emperor is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Dark ambient, Space rock, Experimental rock

38
9 13
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

39
15 21
Peter Hammill is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

40
2 4
U.S. Maple is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

41
2 4
Gwar is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added Horror punk, Crossover thrash, Thrash metal

42
18 25
Luigi Russolo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Experimental music, Avant-garde

43
8 12
Zu is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Mathcore, Experimental rock

44
11 16
Jordan Rudess is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Progressive metal, New Age music, Electronic music

45
3 6
Sound Horizon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
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
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
Post-rock, Avant-garde music, Avant-garde

48
2 5
Dirty Projectors is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
New Prog, Experimental rock, Afrobeat

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

50
8 13
Boredoms is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Krautrock, Noise rock, Psychedelia