This entire section; dozens of bands who are popular and obscure don't even have a page.
Van Morrison. It's true he's a very well-respected Artist, but his fanbase is mostly relegated to critics and other musicians. Many people think he's responsible for the hits "Brown-Eyed Girl", "Domino", and maybe "Wild Night", "Moondance" and "Have I Told You Lately..." and nothing more. Yet he's easily the equal of his contemporaries Bob Dylan and Neil Young, and his successor, Bruce Springsteen.
Approaching Nirvana. Without a doubt, the best band (and by "band" we mean "two guys on YouTube who make music for fun") no one has heard of. Well, there music is beloved among the gaming community on YouTube, but totally unheard of elsewhere. Although ostensibly an electronic band, they also do instrumental music and a mix of both. Their songs range from upbeat to cool to beautiful to epic, but are always Crowning Music of Awesome incarnate.
The Acro-Brats are an excellent punk band that most know from their song "Day Late Dollar Short," which is in Rock Band. They're quite talented and deserve a listen. Just look them up on Youtube.
Antoine Gratton is a Canadian singer who is purely exceptional. Check out the album Le Problème Avec Antoine for proof.
Serbian dance music duo Camaro Kids, who show an obvious influence from both Daft Punk and the neo-disco edge of Justice.
Brian Melo. Outstanding alternative singer from Canada that has been basically forgotten since Canadian Idol ended.
The Canadian electro-pop singer Lights. Between seeing other electropop females (like Lady Gaga and Ke$ha) and other Canadian pop acts (Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé) becoming hugely popular, it's puzzling as to why Lights isn't a huge pop star by now...
Mika, at least in the US. He's quite popular in England, but not so much in America. Ironically, "Love Today" has been used in many American ads and TV shows, so you'd think he'd be more popular.
Tally Hall. Dear LORD, theirnewalbum is looking to be (yet again) a pop masterpiece. They independently released a phenomenal debut and recorded the follow-up with major producer Tony Hoffer, only to suffer from Development Hell in accordance with Atlantic Records, who held onto the record for a while and then decided to junk it. These guys should be huge, but they're back to being signed to an obscure indie label and playing small venues across the US.
Gruppa USSR. A very obscure Russian band formed by veterans of the Soviet War in Afghanistan. While for the most part extremely obscure, their song, Bronezhilet (Бронежилет) is a favorite of the Russian internet. Several videos exist of people making their own covers.
Most of the stuff about them is in Russian, and all of their songs are in Russian, making it very difficult to locate anything about them.
Peter Schilling: He's best known for "Major Tom (Coming Home)," but he released ten albums and the rest of his work is just as haunting and awesome.
Critics praised Rachel Stevens' second album "Come and Get It", yet its sales were lackluster. Even a couple of years later, a BBC review begged for people to please not let it become a forgotten classic.
Suzuka. No, not the european emo band, this Suzuka is an obscure Japanese IDM musician who reverse-engineered tech-house, much like the early '90s-era Warp releases did to techno and club music. The result is a blend of sometimes melancholy, sometimes sweet, but always beautiful music.
Connor Long, better known as Khonnor. A former Child Prodigy with released works dating back to when he was 15, his style features roots from IDM, glitch, and shoegaze, among others, done under a multitude of nicknames. His stuff as Grandma especially falls under this, if only for the songs "Mexico" and "Religion." He has the unique ability to dispel all negative emotions. Just don't go near his work as Jimmy Buffer.
As said on her page, Lisa Germano spent so much time label-hopping that it's no wonder she never found a mass audience.
Not many people know about わたしのココ. Even fewer know that they were once known as Kesson Shoujo. It's a shame, too; while markedly different from their present work (barring perhaps "Lala Sings" and what would later be reworked intoわたしのココ's self-titled debut), their earlier work was more ambient- and soundtrack-influenced. It's also infinitely less depressing.
Google "Top X Guitarists of all time" — make X as large as you want. And then note how few (if any) of them include Ernie Isley.
Utah Saints deserves way more recognition... in America. These guys chart in the UK every single time they put out a single, but not on the other side of the Atlantic.
Enter the Haggis. Amazing talent, amazing energy. Funny name. Catch them live if you get a chance.
Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal are two of the most maligned genres in music history. Thankfully, metal has earned belated respect, as critics finally realized it's not just sludgy dumbass noise. Progressive rock, however, is still Deaderthan Disco, generally considered the province of pompous Brits with too much money and too many egos. But for every example of Spinal Tap excess, you have great bands like King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator. John Lydon, by the way, is a VDGG fan. Still think prog is unhip?
The english Vocaloids. They have some nice voices, if you care to listen to them.
Vocaloids in general. As the main page says, even in Japan it's a niche thing. However, such extremely advanced (in this troper's opinion) technology should be known much more widely. I wonder why they don't use the Japanese ones for anime themes, for example.
My Vitriol gained some minor popularity back in the early 2000s but quickly disappeared after they refused to release a second album. The second wave of Shoegazing bands owe a lot to these guys, as they are used as the focal point of where the second wave officially started. People tend to forget they exist due to their sudden decision to hide from the spotlight. They gave the genre a new modern flair. Whoever said My Bloody Valentine were the only Shoegazing band to spark an entire movement?
JFA (Jodie Foster's Army). Extremely talented and fun pioneers of the Skate Punk subgenre of Hardcore Punk. Started in the '80s, still performing, still awesome, still horrifically underrated.
Brooke Fraser has a beautiful voice and her songs are wonderful. Take for example Shadowfeet, the lyrics are so optimistic that it may give sweet dreams.
Most of her opening tracks on her albums are like this. Check out "Arithmetic" from her debut album What to Do With Daylight or "Something in the Water" from Flags. (Shadowfeet also happens to be the opening track of the album Albertine.) But aside from happy songs, she also does emotional ballads and more contemplative songs very well. Examples: "Scarlet", "Faithful", "Hosea's Wife", "Who Are We Fooling? (featuring Aqualung)", among others.
Blind Melon. Especially their second album, Soup. It was given some harsh reviews because of the darker and unique sound that changed a lot from their first album. The death of Shannon Hoon soon after kept the band from being able to tour and support it keeping the album from being a hit like it deserved or at least a cult classic.
Machinae Supremacy has a loyal underground following and positive critical reception to their studio albums.... but that's about it. They can't seem to gain any real significant fanbase and their record company, while supportive of their music, doesn't want to take a lot of risks with them. Because of this, they've never toured outside of Europe and only recently started touring outside northern Europe.
Soviet-German neo-classical\post-modernist composer Alfred Schnittke, whose music is strange, complicated and has unique style. He is sadly underrated and is known mostly among hardcore fans of classical music. His music is also very dark, and many of his works(for example, Nagasaki oratorio) are great tearjerkers.
That Handsome Devil has a unique blend of different genres that has garnered a small supportive fanbase, but still, probably not big enough to call a cult following which is sad considering they should have their name more well known since they've had music featured in Guitar Hero and Rock Band.
Faylan, a relatively new name in the J Pop business. She has a very lovely voice and great range to accompany her mostly electro-rock-ish songs.
Tom Russell may very well be one of the most underrated folk musicians in recent history. His album The Man From God Knows Where may very well be a staple in American folk of the 1990s, but you'd never know it because he's been incredibly unlucky with popularity. The Man From God Knows Where is an epic, 74-minute-long collection of songs, telling the tale of Russell's family tree. Almost every track is in some way a Tear Jerker. Here's a sample.
Bruce Hornsby might've gotten a Grammy or two, and a few really big hits, but he doesn't seem to be known for more than those songs. Looking through his discography stretching out over 20 years with too many different artists to count, with clever, indulgent lyrics, amazing piano-playing, and over nine albums with interesting mixes of genres and instrumentalizations, he Needs More Love for sure.
Maybe more people would know of him if they knew that 2Pac sampled one of his songs. (Tupac Shakur's hit song "Changes" sampled Bruce Hornsby's song "The Way It Is".)
Sabaton. Sabaton is a Swedish Power Metal band that does very badass songs mostly about wars and historical battles. They are fairly popular and famous in Europe, doing more or less annual tours throughout the continent. However, they are fairly unknown outside the continent.
A huge percentage of their fanbase is Polish, due to them making several songs about awesome badass deeds that Poland has accomplished, especially during World War II. In the fandom, it's a Running Gag that 40:1 is the unofficial Polish national anthem. They also have a big German fanbase and a large Scandinavian fanbase. They aren't very famous in the Anglosphere. Fortunately, this is changing as they did their first ever tour to the United States in the summer of 2012.
By the standards of Idol Singers with connections to the Disney Channel (although she doesn't record on a Disney-owned label), Emily Osment may count. Since 2009, when she first started seriously pursuing a singing career, she's released a mini-LP, a full length CD and a number of songs for soundtracks, all of which have had relatively modest success compared to, say, the Hollywood Records-signed Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez or the Jonas Brothers. Hersongsare ''insanely'' catchyandwell-written, in many different styles, and she has a unique way of presenting her songs in music videos. Her full-length CD, the techno-dance-flavored Fight Or Flight, was produced by Nellee Hooper and features songs co-written by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains Of Wayne. Osment is a very talented live performer with a low-key, but exciting live show. She also plays guitar, co-writes most of her music and has a very good singing voice. Many music fans and journalists not normally interested in Teen Pop have enjoyed her music, she does have a following, but has yet to really catch on in the mainstream. Unfortunately, perhaps because she's signed to an Alternative Rock music label (Wind-Up Records, which signed Evanescence) not known for promoting pop acts, and she has no Disney shows to cross-promote as of 2012, she winds up (no pun intended) under the radar.
Pet Shop Boys, a 'European Disco' duo, are HUGE in Europe, specifically England, but have almost zero following in America, outside of gay dance clubs. They are the highest-selling duo IN HISTORY. Opportunities was the opening song for Beauty and the Geek. Their range of music is almost staggering and they've been around since 1981.
Blake Lewis, of American Idol fame, is an excellent techno artist. Lyrically catchy and rhythmically talented, his music is instantly enjoyable. Yet, no one knows of either of his CDs. No real explanation for this.
Arthur Brown. While simply known for his 1968 hit "Fire", he was much more than that, delivering delightfully trippy psychedelic music throughout the early 1970s, not to mention being an early pioneer in Shock Rock.
Despite being extremely influential to pretty much every alternative band of the 90's who achieved chart success (from Radiohead to blur) and the fact that those who do know of them absolutely adore them and everything they've ever done, The Cardiacs (described on this very wiki as "that perfect band you've been looking for all your life but couldn't find because they're so damn obscure") have only ever got one song in the charts and that peaked in position 84.
The musical Jersey Boys is a great story, with lots of very heartwarming and very heartbreaking moments. And some really catchy tunes, despite them being a bit dated.
Torae is an underrated Brooklyn rapper (not Bronx, Brooklyn) easily on par with Nas and Jay-Z, but he doesn't have the gimmicks of more popular artists or the sheer shittiness of acts like Solja Boy, Kitty Pryde, and Lil B the Based God.
This is Driftless Pony Club. This is their song, "Legends of Archery". You try and listen to it and not rock out. You can't. You know why? Because it's awesome, that's why! They also hold the title of being the only band to base an album around Buckminster Fuller, aptly titled "Buckminster".
Vancouver-born Craig Smart combines awesome vocals with killer beats ("One Life Stand" is especially good in this regard), although he receives minimal airplay in his native Canada (and is unheard of pretty much everywhere else). In fact, he doesn't even have a Wikipedia article (there is an article with his name, but it's not about him)!
Sara Bareilles. You can't be a human being and not know "Love Song," but she has other good songs too. The Ben Folds produced Lie To Me and Sweet as Whole come to mind.
Speaking of OneHitWonders that have so many other great songs, Gotye! "Somebody That I Used To Know" is great, if slightly overplayed. "Smoke and Mirrors", the feel-good "Eyes Wide Open", and 60s-esque "Easy Way Out" are all fantastic songs. "Smoke and Mirrors" in particular is awesome.
In the U.K, she's as famous as her former backing band Mumford & Sons, but in the United States, Laura Marling has somewhat of a cult following. This should change as soon as possible.
Similarly, Tom Odell has been touted as the next big thing in the UK, but one would have to search for miles in the US to find anyone that knows about him. His music rivals Coldplay in it's awesome bombast and sheer emotion.
The moral panic of a (relatively) sexierMiley Cyrus in cleavage-revealing clothing in the video for the title track took over much of the publicity for her third full-length studio album, Can't Be Tamed. Rather than the steamy, explicit, sexual/profane album many in the media painted it as, the album is a catchy, well-written, honest and heartfelt techno-inspired work filled with motivational songs like the pro-gay rights anthem "My Heart Beats For Love", "Liberty Walk", which asks those in abusive situations to stand up for themselves, and the title track, which asks men not to exert control over women or hold them down as people. "Permanent December" (an ode to loyalty to a man over temptation), the thoughtful "Who Owns My Heart", and personal ballads like "Take Me Along", "Stay" and "Scars" are also worth checking out. The profanity is only found on the title song ("go to hell"), and the word "sexy" is in "Permanent December", but that's as racy as it gets.
The Free Design and their rich vocal harmonies extraordinaire. Eight albums spanning almost four decades with only a small following to show for it.
Ra. An Egyptain-inspired, prog-rock/alt-metal band with a very distinct sound. They've been around since 1996, and have released six albums (two of which even managed get on the Billboard 200, through nothing but word-of-mouth from their small but dedicated fanbase) with a seventh currently in the works, and yet barely anyone has heard of them.
Pairs, a Shanghai-based punk duo who revel in imperfections, taking "best of the worst" to its logical extreme. Their sound turns lo-fi punk into a visceral, emotional experience, with loads of guitar noise and a vocalist who constantly sounds like he's screaming to be heard over the mix.
Though Dwight Yoakam had quite the fanbase and a few hits in the late 80s and early 90s, he slowly faded out of style and got forgotten. He's considered an important Country Music artist of the era and has influenced many of the major artists out there both inside and outside his genre.
Giovanni Paisiello has undergone this for more than 200 years, so much that all that pops up about him now is that he wrote an opera titled The Barber of Seville, popular at the time Rossini's opera was first presented. His music actually sounds superb and he deserves modern performances of his work.
Outside his native Poland (and possibly his birthplace of Belarus), Stanisław Moniuszko is a complete unknown. His music is actually very decent and has a Rossinian flavor to it.
The same can be said for Ferenc Erkel, pioneer of Hungarian opera. Like Moniuszko, he wrote very wonderful music to his native tongue.
BrianO'Sullivan's song parodies are hilarious, but he has only a few thousand likes on Facebook and individual video views on YouTube.
Pentatonix, the Season 3 winners of the a capella show The Sing Off. A Five-Man Band featuring a trio of extremely talented vocalists, a bass that sounds like it could easily be an instrument, and a vocal percussionist who has been known to play cello and beatbox at the same time, they've put together some fantastic covers of songs including an entire album of Christmas songs and a YouTube video featuring music from the 18th century to the present. Unfortunately, although they are becoming more and more well-known and have a very vocal group of fans, they still have yet to really hit the mainstream, which is notoriously difficult for a capella groups.
Planxty. They formed in the 70's playing Irish folk music, released six albums (three before their first breakup) and all of them are among the best albums of Irish folk music you can find anywhere, yet you'd be lucky to find anyone anywhere who could name them.
Dale Watson is a very talented country singer who happens to detest the Nashville musical establishment. Yet his music is accessible and maintains a stone country feel and swagger (the latter prevalent in his songs skewering the Nashville scene).
Johann Sebastien Bach's religious works, especially his cantatas and motets, are very obscure with the general public, in contrast with his secular music. While one is able to find recordings of parts of Bach's passions and the Mass in B Minor, and sometimes even chorale preludes in the music section of major stores, recordings of cantatas are almost nonexistent; no major store carries recordings of Bach's cantatas, and many of the available recordings are, by now, out of print. Indeed, the only accessible way to listen to a Bach cantata is through Youtube, which is filled with low-quality and occasionally incomplete CD rips and performed by unspecified conductors and orchestras. On top of that, the recordings are threatened by potential takedowns by various shadowy rightsholders from the obscure record labels that published the music. About the only people who have ready access to high-quality cantata recordings are scholars who study Bach's music.
Juno Reactor's music transcends genres and they did part of the soundtrack to The Matrix along with a few other minor projects.
Her Name Is Calla: the beautiful love-child of Radiohead and classical music.
Breed 77, and how! For those who don't know, they are an Alternative Metal band from Gibraltar that mixes the genre with flamenco music and Mediterranean influences. They craft some of the catchiest, most melodic, original, and overall awesome metal out there right now. Yet, they get spots on festivals but are always at the very bottom of the roster every time, they get virtually no promotion at all, and basically no one knows who they are.
LOVE Nandayo was originally released in Early 2009 by a Japanese band Murasa Shikibu (Stilts-riding clone of a popular Japanese band Hikaru Genji) but this song didn't get much recognition with a lot of viewers outside of Japan despite it's catchy song and awesome stilts dances moves.
And Murasa Shikibu released only two songs incuding this above and it was known that the band was discontinued.
A Tribe Called Red deserves a mention. They are probably one of the most unique electronic groups currently playing today in spite of very few people paying attention to them. They have a really unique style that makes dance music out of samples of First Nations powwows is a style that they call "Powwow Step" which is quite honestly, one of the freshest sounds that I have heard in electronic music in years. Not only are they unique, but their songs are very well crafted. One would expect techno and dubstep would clash with the powwow music but they blend together so seamlessly that they create a very awesome style all in their own with songs that are very catchy and easy to dance to. I will say they are probably one of the best dance music groups out there today.
Tarot, a heavy metal band from Finland. Most people only about them because their frontman Marco Hietala plays in Nightwish. They've been active since 1984 and have released 9 albums, and all of them should be essential for any fan of old-school metal.
The Italian band spellblast. To many of the fans, the band that proves that folk-metal should be taken seriously. Listen here.
Haiku D'Etat, a West Coast rap supergroup comprised of two members of the Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone and Myka 9, and fellow rapper Abstract Rude. All three rappers are already decent on their own; together, they make awesome hip-hop music that's still stylistically unique from most other West Coast rap, particularly with their focus on more poetic rhymes and lyrics, as hinted by their group name.
Micheal Larsen, a.k.a. Eyedea, a rapper from Minnesota, who sadly passed away in 2010. Despite being of Caucasian descent like Eminem, Eyedea is a completely different kind of artist. He has more philosophical and contemplative lyrics than usual, but other times, he can prove to be just as aggressive as most other rappers as well.
MAE (an acronym for Multisensory Aesthetic Experience), an alternative-rock band who were contemporaries of The Starting Line, Yellowcard, Deas Vail, and others. Unlike the aforementioned bands, though, MAE distinguishes themselves with their well-written lyrics, melodic drum and piano hooks, and a very distinct way of weaving guitars, vocals, pianos and drums together in their songs. Check out their concept album The Everglow to get an idea.
Charlotte Martin, a former opera singer who decided to write contemporary music instead. She's been compared to Tori Amos, Kate Bush, and New Order, but the beauty of her music is how she shows that she's clearly a very talented singer (almost, if not coloratura soprano range) but never lets it get in the way of the emotions depicted in her lyrics. She's also good with mixing both piano and electronic sounds in her songs. Probably the most recognizable of her songs is The Dance, which featured on So You Think You Can Dance. But most of her more impressive songs are from the albums On Your Shore; Reproductions, a cover album including songs by Pearl Jam, Snow Patrol, The Cure and Massive Attack, among others; and Dancing on Needles, the story behind which is just awesome in itself.
The Reign of Kindo, a progressive rock/jazz band from Buffalo, New York. Inspired by classical and jazz bands, as well as video game music, they make some damn awesome music by mixing together John Mayer-esque guitar riffs, jazz piano melodies, and very technical drum beats. They love video game music so much, for the hell of it, they even release 8-bit versions of some of their albums! Check 'em out here.
The Panic Division, a San Antonio, Texas-based band — actually, now mostly a solo project of vocalist Colton Holliday. Combining hard-rock riffs with ambient electronic sounds, and Colton's impressive vocals, this is probably what Tears for Fears would have sounded like had they started in this decade instead of back then. Check out their cover of Mr. Mister's Broken Wings and hear how awesome the 80's could sound like.
Antonio Salieri. Mozart's "rival" desrves the attention of people too.