11 geekiest musical artists of all time

Artists who were able to keep their geekiness intact after gaining a following, ranging in music style from hip-hop to experimental folk.

Geek culture has popped up everywhere from the movies to real estate in recent years, and one place it has really taken hold is in the music industry. Here are some of the geekiest (and proud of it!) musical artists of the past and present:

They Might Be Giants are an alternative band, formed in Brooklyn in 1982, that take their name from the play turned movie of the same name, about a man who retreats into a fantasy in which he imagines himself as being Sherlock Holmes. Pretty geeky stuff. On top of the many geeky references found throughout their lyrics catalogue, TMBG have released four educational albums aimed at children, the most popular of the bunch being 2009's Here Comes Science.

SAMPLE: “Birdhouse In Your Soul” Music Video

Animal Collective is an experimental psychedelic band (and a personal favorite) originally from Baltimore and currently based in New York City. Animal Collective consists of David Portner, Noah Lennox, Josh Dibb and Brian Weitz, better known by their geeky stage names Avery Tare, Panda Bear, Deakin and Geologist, respectively. The band members take their personas very seriously and can often be seen dressing to portray their stage names. They also happen to have geeky roots, Geologist, named for the headlamp he wears on stage, has a degree in marine biology and hosted a noise radio show while attending NYU.

SAMPLE: "Grass"

Daft Punk: The French house music duo's geekiness goes far beyond their ever changing robot costumes that they are seemingly always hidden behind. Besides being featured in the new video game franchise DJ Hero and a robotic themed album, Daft Punk also composed the entire soundtrack to the new Tron film, and provided an easter egg of an Ascii image of a young Kevin Flynn from the 1982 original Tron, on the soundtrack's website .

SAMPLE: "Technologic" Music Video

Weezer is widely known as being one of the geekiest bands of all time. Not too surprising considering a fair deal of their discography is material relating to social awkwardness and unobtainable desires. The band's lead singer, Rivers Cuomo, is an admittedly big fan of Dungeons & Dragons, has an English degree from Harvard and has mentioned everything from Giacomo Puccini to Kitty Pryde in his songs. Weezer also wrote an unreleased concept rock-opera, Songs from the Black Hole, that takes place in space.

SAMPLE: "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here"

Autechre are an English electronic music duo who were heavily involved in the IDM (intelligent dance music) movement of the 1990s. Over the years they have rounded up a rather geeky fan base by means of subtle hints that they too are geeks. Autechre's album and track titles often follow a similar pattern, combining obscure references, acronyms, portmanteau words, unpredictable grammar, and deliberate misspellings. They are also confirmed members of many online music boards that discuss music theory in great detail.

SAMPLE: "Doctrine"

Blackalicious is an American hip-hop duo from northern California made up of rapper Gift of Gab and DJ/producer Chief Xcel. They are often noted for Gift of Gab's "tongue-twisting", multisyllabic, complex rhymes but he has also been known to let some of his geeky side show in his lyrics. On one of his most critically acclaimed tracks, Chemical Calisthenics, Gift of Gab manages to write an entire rap revolving around and using most of the elements of the periodic table. They have also been known to be frequent collaborators with fellow geeky musician, George Clinton .

"I'll give sodium, silicate N-O-2-S-1-O-3, a water glass borax flexure full of brimstone sulfur boraxic acid, hip-hop preserver C-O-2 could never put away the fire style aroma is scientific; the lyrical fuse would be connected
to teach you chemical calisthenics"

SAMPLE: "Chemical Calisthenics"

Battles are an experimental rock group, founded in Manhattan in early 2002. While they have been around for almost a decade, the impact they have made is remarkable. They became a huge part of the creation of a sub genre of rock, known as Math-rock . Math rock frequently uses asymmetrical time signatures such as 7/8, 11/8, or 13/8, or features constantly changing meters based on various groupings of 2 and 3, as opposed to the typical 4/4-meter. This rhythmic complexity, seen as "mathematical" in character by many listeners and critics, is what gives the genre its name.

SAMPLE: "Ddiamondd"

Gregg Gillis, better known by his stage name Girl Talk , is a Pittsburgh musician who specializes in mash-ups and mass digital sampling. He started the solo Girl Talk project and continued making music under the Girl Talk alias while studying biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In school, Gillis focused on tissue engineering. He later worked as an engineer, but quit in May 2007 to focus solely on music. Arguably the geekiest origins of any musical artist to date. He got the name for his project from an early side project from Merzbow, an artist known for his geeky technique.

SAMPLE: "Triple Double"

(Download Girl Talk's latest album for free on its site )

Art Brut are an English and German rock band formed in 2003. Most of the band members are not shy about their art-related geekiness; all of the band members have either some education in art or are collectors. The lead singer, Eddie Argos, updates his art blog often and sells his own work on the site from time to time. He is also a huge comic book fan, and has written many songs about and inspired by them, most notably DC Comics and Chocolate off of their third full-length album, Art Brut vs Satan.

SAMPLE: "DC Comics And Chocolate Milkshakes"

Plumtree was an all-girl indie rock band that disbanded in the early aughts. While they are no longer together, their geeky legacy has indeed continued throughout the years. Along with being a geekier band than most, their song "Scott Pilgrim" was the sole inspiration for the very geeky graphic novel series, written by Bryan Lee O'Malley, of the same name. The comics were such a success, they were later adapted into a movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, in 2010.

SAMPLES: "Scott Pilgrim" Music Video

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Trailer

Perhaps the single geekiest artist of all time, MC Frontalot is a Brooklyn-based hip-hop musician and self-proclaimed "world's 579th greatest rapper." In 2000 he released the song "Nerdcore Hiphop". The song became an immediate hit in the geek community. The rap subgenre of nerdcore hip-hop, which had been around though unnamed beforehand, embraced the title and has since been expanding rapidly. A majority of his music is about video games and other various forms of modern technology. He has degrees in English and Electronic Music from Wesleyan University.

SAMPLE: "Final Boss"

More geeky stuff:

Geeky vacation plans

10 geeky items you're embarrassed to admit you want

Geekiest marriage proposals of all time

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.