509 voters

The Best Underground Music Bands/Artists

Updated April 29, 2020 1.6k votes 509 voters 61.9k views28 items

Underground music artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. List of good underground music bands includes a filter so you can sort by the groups’s label and what albums they've put out. This list of the top underground music bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Underground music groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. If available, you can also see information about where all underground music bands on this list got started. These are truly the greatest underground music bands of all time, since the most famous underground music artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best underground music music.

You can click on the underground music band names to see more information about that particular notable underground music group. If they're near the top of the best underground music artist list, though, then they should have at least some information available. All the top underground music bands named on the list also have discographies on their pages if you click on the underground music band names themselves.

This list features Sonic Youth, Steve Peregrin Took and more. Vote for your favorite artists to see them rise to the top! Downvote the artists you like the least, like Bill Callahan or Yanka Dyagileva. If you do like them, then vote them up.

All important, significant and iconic names in underground music music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. You can only vote once on this list.

The list includes all new underground music bands, and if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. Just make sure they aren't already on the list and check your spelling, because this is already an accurate compilation of the best examples of underground music, as well as a good place to start if you're asking yourself, or friends, exactly how to get into underground music music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good underground music bands with which to start out. No point in listening to them if they aren't actually good or even half-way decent underground music bands.

This list answers the questions "who are the best underground music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest underground music 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 underground music bands that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote.

Re-rank the list to fit your opinion, make it votable then share it with your friends.

  • 1

    The Velvet Underground

    Noise rock, Blues-rock
    The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in 1964 in New York City by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise...  more

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  • 2

    Sonic Youth

    Noise rock, Rock music
    Sonic Youth was an American rock band based in New York City, formed in 1981. Founding members Thurston Moore (guitar, vocals), Kim Gordon (bass, vocals, guitar) and Lee Ranaldo (guitar, vocals)...  more

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  • 3


    Alternative rock, Noise pop
    Pavement was an American indie rock band that formed in Stockton, California in 1989. The group mainly consisted of Stephen Malkmus (vocals and guitar), Scott Kannberg (guitar and vocals), Mark Ibold...  more

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  • 4

    The Residents

    Noise rock, Rock music
    The Residents are an American art collective best known for their avant-garde music and multimedia works. Since their first official release, Meet the Residents (1974), the group has released over...  more


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  • 5

    Aphex Twin

    Electronic, Techno
    Richard David James (born 18 August 1971), best known by the stage name Aphex Twin, is an English musician. He is best known for his influential and idiosyncratic work in styles such as acid techno,...  more

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  • 6


    Krautrock, Rock music
    Can was a German experimental rock band formed in Cologne in 1968 by the core quartet of Holger Czukay (bass, tape editing), Irmin Schmidt (keyboards), Michael Karoli (guitar), and Jaki Liebezeit...  more
  • 7

    Tangerine Dream

    Krautrock, New Age music
    Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music band founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The group has seen many personnel changes over the years, with Froese having been the only continuous member until...  more
  • 8

    And Also the Trees

    New Wave, Gothic rock
    And Also the Trees are an English post-punk band, formed in 1979 in Inkberrow, Worcestershire. They are notable for their poetic lyrics and evocative music which are strongly influenced by the native...  more
  • 9

    Radio Werewolf

    Horror punk, Gothic rock
    Radio Werewolf was an eclectic ritual musical collective active in California and Europe from 1984 to 1993....  more
  • 10

    Van der Graaf Generator

    Progressive rock
    Van der Graaf Generator are an English progressive rock band, formed in 1967 in Manchester by singer-songwriters Peter Hammill and Chris Judge Smith and the first act signed by Charisma Records. They...  more
  • 11

    King Crimson   

    Progressive rock
    King Crimson are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968, that now is more international in membership. King Crimson have been influential both on the early 1970s progressive rock...  more

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  • 12

    Faith No More

    Nu metal, Rock music
    Faith No More is an American rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1979. Before settling on the current name in 1982, the band performed under the names Sharp Young Men and later Faith...  more

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  • 13

    Gentle Giant

    Experimental rock, Folk rock
    Gentle Giant were an English progressive rock band active between 1970 and 1980. The band was known for the complexity and sophistication of its music and for the varied musical skills of its...  more

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  • 14

    Pigmy Love Circus

    Rock music, Underground music
    Pigmy Love Circus is a Los Angeles rock band that has existed since the mid 1980s era of the Hollywood underground rock scene. Pigmy Love Circus originally consisted of Shepherd Stevenson on bass,...  more
  • 15

    Steve Peregrin Took

    Underground music
    Steve Peregrin Took (born Stephen Ross Porter; 28 July 1949 – 27 October 1980) was an English musician and songwriter. He is best known for his membership of the duo Tyrannosaurus Rex with Marc...  more
  • 16


    Indie, Electronica
    Hybrasil are an Irish underground electronica group that formed in the seaside town of Wicklow, Ireland in 2004. The band are named after Brazil, a phantom island featured in a many Irish myths. They...  more
  • 17

    The Automatic

    Pop punk, Dance-punk
    The Automatic (also known as The Automatic Automatic in the U.S.) are a Welsh rock band. The band is composed of Robin Hawkins on vocals, bass and synthesisers, James Frost on guitar, synthesisers,...  more
  • 18

    Yanka Dyagileva

    Noise rock, Folk rock
    Yana Stanislavovna "Yanka" Dyagileva (Russian: Яна Станиславовна Дягилева; 4 September 1966 – c. 9 May 1991) was a Russian poet and singer-songwriter and one of the most popular figures of her time...  more
  • 19

    13th Floor Elevators

    Rock music, Garage rock
    The 13th Floor Elevators is an American rock band from Austin, Texas, formed by guitarist and vocalist Roky Erickson, electric jug player Tommy Hall, and guitarist Stacy Sutherland, which existed...  more

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  • 20

    Hapshash and the Coloured Coat

    Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic rock
    Hapshash and the Coloured Coat was an influential British graphic design and avant-garde musical partnership in the late 1960s, consisting of Michael English and Nigel Waymouth. It produced popular...  more
  • 21


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop
    Panacea is an American hip hop duo, formed in 2003 in Washington DC. The duo consists of MC Raw Poetic and producer K-Murdock,. Throughout their musical career, Panacea has had deals with various...  more
  • 22
    A. E. Bizottság was a Hungarian underground band formed by a group of visual and multimedia artists and amateur musicians in the early 1980s. Their name translates as 'Albert Einstein Committee'....  more
  • 23


    Rock music, Classic Punk
    One of the Top NYC Classic Punk Rock and Roll Band from mid/late Seventies (to present) Was influential and integral part of original music scene playing venues such as Max's Kansas City, Botany,...
  • 24

    Big High

    Rock music, Underground music
    Big High is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 2008 by vocalist Mesa and guitarist Ari Joshua, most noted as the guitarist for Arisawkadoria. On bass there is William "Sandy"...  more
  • 25

    Európa kiadó

    New Wave, Underground music
    Európa Kiadó is a Hungarian underground rock band formed in 1981 in Budapest from the members of the then freshly disbanded URH: László Kiss, András Salamon and lyricist-composer-guitarist-singer...  more