This illustrated cross-section is your helpful guide to heightening your own musical snobbery and discrediting other music snobs you may run into. Check back to this page often as we’ll be updating and adding other bands you need to know about, or sign up for our newsletter to get the updates.
Flat Duo Jets
Flat Duo Jets was an American psychobilly band from North Carolina and Georgia. They have influenced several bands including The White Stripes. Jack White has often spoken of Flat Duo Jets front man Dexter Romweber’s influence on his music.
An American rock band formed in the mid sixties that were one of the innovators of the punk movement in the United States. Many consider their three albums to be classics and their song “Kick Out the Jams” has been widely covered.
International Noise Conspiracy
This Swedish rock band, led by vocalist Dennis Lyxzén (see Refused), was known for their punk and garage rock fusion as well as their impassioned left-wing political stance.
A three-piece band originating out of Bethesda, Maryland was one of the originators of the “post-rock” movement in the 1990’s. Known for their constant touring and perpetual thematic re-invention.
This critically acclaimed Scottish rock band, active from 1979 to 1997, were known for their instrumental innovations and unique, non-lyrical vocals dubbed “mouth music.”
Throwing Muses is an American alternative rock band formed by Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly (Belly, The Breeders) in Rhode Island, in 1981 and still performs today. Some of their trademarks are wildly shifting tempos, creative chord progressions, unorthodox song structure and surreal lyrics.
Sterolab was an English alternative rock band that formed in 1990. The band spanned many different genres like post-rock, indie-rock, indie-electronic and psychedelic. They have been described as one of the most fiercely independent and original bands of the 90’s.
The Jesus Lizard
This alternative rock band was one of the leading noise rock bands in the American independent underground. While not commercially successful, material released by The Jesus Lizard received positive reviews in underground music publications and enjoyed heavy college-radio play.
David Roback and Kendra Smith started Mazzy Star in California, in 1989. Hope Sandoval became the vocalist after Smith’s departure from the band. Their unique sound stems from a blend of alternative-rock and neo-phsychedelia.
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Formed in 2003, Black Moth Super Rainbow is characterized by their analog electronic instruments. This Pittsburgh band combines elements of psychedelia, folk and electronica to formulate their distinctive sound.
Don Van Vliet was an American singer-songwriter best known under his stage name Captain Beefheart. He blended rock, blues, psychedelia, avante-garde and contemporary experimental composition in his music. Van Vliet apart from guitar also played harmonica and saxophone along with many other woodwind instruments.
Philip Glass is an American composer and one of the most influential musical artists of the 20th century. He founded the Philip Glass Ensemble, wrote 11 concertos, ten symphonies and three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy Awards.
An American hip-hop group formed in 1993. Wu-Tang Clan has achieved critical and commercial success for over twenty years. Fearless in their approach to music, Wu-Tang Clan is arguably one of the most successful rap groups of all time.
An American rockabilly singer, Ronnie Self is rumored to be the first rock artist to be signed to Columbia Records. Self never achieved mainstream fame but nonetheless was an extremely talented singer-songwriter. Many of his songs recorded by other artists went on to become hits.
Die Kruezen is a rock band formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1981. The band name is a grammatically incorrect adaptation of a term from the German Bible meaning “the crosses.” Beginning as a hardcore punk group, Die Kruezen eventually transformed into an alternative rock band and continues to tour.
Daniel Dumile, a British-born American underground hip hop artist that is best known performing with his “Super Villain” persona and unique lyrics. MF Doom is also a producer who has worked with artists like Bishop Nehru and Khujo Goodie.
Crass is an English punk rock band that formed in 1977. The group popularized the anarcho-punk movement in the punk subculture using a DIY punk ethic approach to its sound collages, albums and films.
An Italian progressive rock band that formed in 1972, Goblin is mostly known for their soundtrack work including Dario Argento’s Italian horror classic “Suspiria.” Originally named Cherry 5, the band has been influenced by notable acts such as Genesis and King Crimson.
Pere Ubu is an experimental rock group that formed in 1975. The band is self-described as ‘avant-garage,’ reflecting their interest in avant-garde music and the raw sound of blues-influenced garage rock.
Commonwealth Jones is the stage name of American rockabilly artist Ronnie Dawson. Dawson gained regional success in the 1950’s and his popularity peaked internationally with tours in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Founded by brothers Jimmy and Dennis Flemion in 1980. The brothers are known for their short, catchy pop songs, outlandish stage appearance and wild live performances. The Frogs have a fan base that includes well-known musicians like Beck, Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam.
A highly influential American jazz pianist and composer with a unique improvisational style. Monk made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, most notably “Round Midnight” and “Straight, No Chaser.” He is the most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington.
Brian Eno, English musician, composer, record producer, singer and visual artist is recognized as a principal innovator of ambient music. Eno has been a successful recording artist for over forty years.