24 986 votes 2 802 voters 108 362 views 462 items tags f p @

The Best Indie Bands & Artists

List Criteria: Bands that are on independent music labels - bands that started on indie labels, but later signed with big labels are okay too

Before the genre became mainstream (which in itself is paradoxical) indie bands meant that a particular group was signed to an independent record label. Over time, indie music, and thus, the best indie bands, have come to be defined as a particular sound that strays from the mainstream and experiments with new sounds, melodies, and lyrics. Many of the top indie rock bands do remain loyal to the labels that took a chance on them when they were up-and-comers and stay on independent labels. Most good indie bands (and fans of the genre) are proud to say that they've eschewed the mainstream and have maintained their freedom as an indie artist. It's a great perk to have, and all of the best indie rock bands may not have the biggest album sales - but by retaining their indie cred, it allows them to become popular beyond the scope of indie music.

So, what are the best indie bands? Any list of of indie bands has to include the likes of The Strokes, Alt-J, Cage the Elephant, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend and Florence and the Machine. These indie bands are singers widely known for their popularity and bringing indie music to the mainstream. They've headlined arenas and festivals and even with this widespread success, they're true to their indie ethos and remain the best indie rock bands.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best indie bands. If you know indie music, feel free to chime in and vote on this list. If you notice that a band isn't on this list and should be, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best indie bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest indie 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 indie musicians that you might've heard of.

The Best Indie Bands & Artists Bands/Musicians
  • 22 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 905
    - 300

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, Favourite Worst Nightmare ...

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  2. 2
    + 506
    - 155


    Is This It, Room on Fire, First Impressions of Earth

    ; buy at  
  3. 3
    + 434
    - 206

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Funeral, The Suburbs, Neon Bible

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  4. 4
    + 452
    - 219

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Vampire Weekend, Contra, Modern Vampires of the City

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  5. 5
    + 215
    - 45

    ranked low on reranks
    Kid A, OK Computer, The Bends

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  6. 6
    + 216
    - 75

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Innerspeaker, Lonerism, Tame Impala

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  7. 7
    + 433
    - 148

    added by MarioArley
    Sam’s Town, Hot Fuss, Day & Age

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  8. 8
    + 284
    - 83

    ranked low on reranks & added by ShaneBird
    The Moon & Antarctica, Good News for People Who Love Bad News, We Were ...

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  9. 9
    + 444
    - 194

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Lungs, Ceremonials, Dog Days Are Over

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  10. 10
    + 207
    - 44

    ranked low on reranks & added by muzziac
    Doolittle, Surfer Rosa, Bossanova

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  11. 11
    + 306
    - 136

    added by MarioArley
    Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, The 2nd Law

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  12. 12
    + 336
    - 136


    An Awesome Wave, iTunes Session, Tessellate (Remixes)

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  13. 13
    + 323
    - 101

    ranked low on reranks
    Tourist History, iTunes Festival: London 2010, Beacon

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  14. 14
    + 131
    - 37

    added by muzziac
    Daydream Nation, Goo, Dirty

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  15. 15
    + 242
    - 95


    Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better, Tonight: Franz ...

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  16. 16
    + 365
    - 188


    Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (Deluxe Companion), Babel

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  17. 17
    + 393
    - 136

    ranked low on reranks
    My Head Is an Animal, Live from Vatnagarðar, Into the Woods

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  18. 18
    + 217
    - 62

    added by CatalinaEspinoza
    Inside In/Inside Out, Stormy Weather, Inside In/Inside Out Acoustic

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  19. 19
    + 216
    - 124

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    High Violet, Trouble Will Find Me, Boxer

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  20. 20
    + 188
    - 79

    added by ShaneBird
    In the Aeroplane over the Sea, On Avery Island, Beauty

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  21. 21
    + 283
    - 85

    ranked low on reranks
    Thank You, Happy Birthday, Cage the Elephant

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  22. 22
    + 171
    - 84

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Turn On the Bright Lights, Antics, Our Love to Admire

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  23. 23
    + 291
    - 122


    For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver

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  24. 24
    + 331
    - 133


    Bad Blood, No One’s Here to Sleep, Remixed

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  25. 25
    + 279
    - 80

    ranked low on reranks
    Torches, Supermodel, Pumped Up Kicks

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  26. 26
    + 219
    - 85

    added by HoserUSC
    Gossamer, Manners, Chunk of Change

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  27. 27
    + 137
    - 64

    added by eveholt3141
    Illinois, Ding! Dong! Songs for Christmas - Vol. III, Ding! Dong! Songs ...

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  28. 28
    + 266
    - 118


    Night Visions, Continued Silence EP, Night Visions Live

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  29. 29
    + 151
    - 86

    added by elise
    The Hazards of Love, The Crane Wife, Her Majesty the Decemberists

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  30. 30
    + 121
    - 74


    If You’re Feeling Sinister, The Boy With the Arab Strap, Fold Your Hands ...

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  31. 31
    + 180
    - 87


    Everything All the Time, Cease to Begin, Mirage Rock

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  32. 32
    + 214
    - 99

    ranked low on reranks & added by ShaneBird
    Take Me To Church E.P., Sedated, Hozier

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  33. 33
    + 108
    - 57

    often listed & added by ShaneBird
    Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Slanted and Enchanted

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  34. 34
    + 122
    - 57


    Veckatimest, Shields, Yellow House

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  35. 35
    + 167
    - 62

    ranked low on reranks
    Fever to Tell, It's Blitz!, Show Your Bones

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  36. 36
    + 126
    - 60

    added by HoserUSC
    A Weekend in the City, Silent Alarm, Intimacy

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  37. 37
    + 42
    - 4

    ranked low on reranks & added by julian-matthias
    Rubber Factory, Attack & Release, Brothers

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  38. 38
    + 53
    - 20

    added by WarrenMitchell
    Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Summerteeth, Being There

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  39. 39
    + 60
    - 17


    buy at  
  40. 40
    + 127
    - 73

    added by HoserUSC
    Far, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats, Begin to Hope

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  41. 41
    + 100
    - 56

    added by eveholt3141
    Strange Mercy, Actor, Marry Me

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  42. 42
    + 60
    - 9

    ranked low on reranks & added by julian-matthias
    The Queen Is Dead, Meat Is Murder, The Smiths

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  43. 43
    + 109
    - 46

    added by ShaneBird
    Farm, Beyond, You're Living All Over Me

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  44. 44
    + 104
    - 64

    added by HoserUSC
    Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Kill the Moonlight, Gimme Fiction

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  45. 45
    + 120
    - 77

    added by elise
    I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil

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  46. 46
    + 157
    - 70

    ranked low on reranks & added by MarioArley
    Eyes Open, Final Straw, Live and Acoustic at Park Ave.

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  47. 47
    + 65
    - 27

    added by HoserUSC
    What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, Come of Age, Melody Calling

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  48. 48
    + 78
    - 49

    added by elise
    Perfect From Now On, There’s Nothing Wrong With Love, Ancient Melodies of ...

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  49. 49
    + 90
    - 58


    The Flying Club Cup, Gulag Orkestar, Elephant Gun

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  50. 50
    + 67
    - 31

    added by HoserUSC
    Boys & Girls, iTunes Session, Alabama Shakes

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