Jethro Tull. Rock 'n roll flute???
Seconded Neutral Milk Hotel, Animal Collective and the Cocteau Twins. I’d also add Xiu Xiu, Young People, Tom Waits, Brian Eno and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffitti.
Nothing else like them…
They Might Be Giants.
The Books. They use a lot of recorded sounds and bits of speech, and the music is sort of cut up and put back together, like a sonic collage. It’s nothing like anything else I’ve ever heard. Very aleatoric.
I would also say that Radiohead is pretty original.
I nominate a 1960s band called United States of America. I think they only made one album, but it was a doozie.
Here’s the album by the United States of America that I mentioned above.
Read the reviews to get an idea just how innovative it was.
I’ve always been bummed in the way that so many bands have emulated the U.S.A. without giving credit. I think that Portishead were the only one, with “Half Day Closing,” where they straight-up said “this song is dedicated to the United States of America.” Which is fair, because it practically sounds like a cover of “The American Metaphysical Circus.”
But bands like Stereolab and Broadcast have really taken direct emulations of the band to the bank without ever even discussing the influence.
…that is, until both the organist and the sax player quit at the same time, and Peter Hammill replaced them with a violinist and a bass player! (Okay, technically they weren’t even Van der Graaf Generator then, as they also shortened the name to just Van der Graaf.)
A second for My Bloody Valentine- particularly “Loveless” - a record beamed to Earth from a distant galaxy.
Let’s see what I can add:
The exact post I was going to make.
How about The Fall? Their sound is instantly recognizable and completely original. Even though many bands have been influenced by them I don’t know of anyone who sounds just like them (with the possible exception of I, Ludicrous).
Seconded. [old fart]And the Dave Brubeck Quartet[/old fart] , and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
Lenny Pickett and the Borneo Horns
the Dillinger Escape Plan
the Mars Volta