Music

The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists 

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Updated March 28, 2019 4.2k votes 532 voters 28.2k views 197 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 (197 items)
list ordered by
1
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Genre: Rock music, Psychedelic pop & Electronic music; Nationality: United Kingdom
2
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Genre: Rock music, Experimental rock & Heavy metal; Nationality: United States of America
3
Captain Beefheart & ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
4
Björk is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Genre: Electronic dance music, Jazz & Tribal house; Nationality: Iceland
5
Nico is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Genre: Pop music, Folk music & Folk rock; Nationality: Germany
6
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
MrChris added
7
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
8
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
9
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Genre: Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop & Post-bop; Nationality: United States of America
10
Mr. Bungle is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added
11
Mike Patton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Genre: Hip hop music, Noise rock & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
12
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added
13
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
14
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added Genre: Experimental music and Art rock; Nationality: United States of America
15
Primus is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added
16
Fantomas is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
dan808 added
17
Pere Ubu is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Bruscolino added
18
Public Image Ltd is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added
19
David Sylvian is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Genre: New Wave, Electronic music & Classical music; Nationality: United Kingdom
20
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
21
Einstürzende Neubau... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
22
Devo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
JasonHitchcock added
23
Scott Walker is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
lili added Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Merseybeat; Nationality: United States of America
24
Les Claypool is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Genre: Thrash metal, Progressive metal & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
25
Lydia Lunch is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Bands/Artists
Genre: Spoken word, No wave & Experimental rock; Nationality: United States of America