The Best Indie Bands & Artists

51k votes 5.3k voters 184k views 501 items tags f p @

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.
  • 35 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1,412
    - 645

    most listed
    Trip hop, Dance-punk, Garage rock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 831
    - 465


    Garage rock, Power pop, Alternative rock

    ;
  3. 3
    + 670
    - 501

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

    ;
  4. 4
    + 575
    - 337


    Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

    ;
  5. 5
    + 325
    - 52
    The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

    the people's #1 but ranked low on reranks
    Baroque pop/rock

  6. 6
    + 705
    - 514


    New Wave, Synthpop, Jazz fusion

    ;
  7. 7
    + 736
    - 426

    ranked low on reranks & added by MarioArley
    Pop punk, Synthpop, New Wave

    ;
  8. 8
    + 530
    - 412

    added by MarioArley
    Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

    ;
  9. 9
    + 484
    - 324

    added by ShaneBird
    Indie pop, Garage rock, Space rock

    ;
  10. 10
    + 719
    - 453


    Neo soul, Baroque pop, Electronica

    ;
  11. 11
    + 462
    - 309


    Space rock, Neo-psychedelia, Dream pop

    ;
  12. 12
    + 324
    - 274

    often listed & added by ShaneBird
    Indie pop, Psychedelic folk, Rock music

    ;
  13. 13
    + 252
    - 208

    often listed & added by muzziac
    Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

    ;
  14. 14
    + 332
    - 135

    ranked low on reranks & added by julian-matthias
    Jangle pop, Indie pop, Alternative rock

    ;
  15. 15
    + 400
    - 233

    ranked low on reranks & added by muzziac
    Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise

    ;
  16. 16
    + 577
    - 441

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Pop music, Folk rock, Pop rock

    ;
  17. 17
    + 516
    - 261


    Punk blues, Garage rock, Garage punk

    ;
  18. 18
    + 538
    - 301


    Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave

    ;
  19. 19
    + 323
    - 292

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Indie folk, Indie rock

    ;
  20. 20
    + 551
    - 340

    ranked low on reranks
    Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

    ;
  21. 21
    + 264
    - 234

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Alternative rock, Indie rock, Post-punk revival

    ;
  22. 22
    + 383
    - 287

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    New Wave, Rock music, Dance-punk

    ;
  23. 23
    + 635
    - 334

    ranked low on reranks
    Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

    ;
  24. 24
    + 225
    - 210

    often listed & added by Elise Hennigan
    Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

    ;
  25. 25
    + 510
    - 220

    ranked low on reranks
    Indie pop, Synthpop, Rock music

    ;
  26. 26
    + 398
    - 211

    ranked low on reranks & added by CatalinaEspinoza
    Indie pop, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  27. 27
    + 222
    - 173

    often listed & added by eveholt3141
    Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop

    ;
  28. 28
    + 229
    - 78

    ranked low on reranks & added by julian-matthias
    Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music

    ;
  29. 29
    + 473
    - 278


    Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

    ;
  30. 30
    + 204
    - 166

    added by HoserUSC
    Indie pop, Anti-folk, Pop music

    ;
  31. 31
    + 193
    - 158

    added by Elise Hennigan
    Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

    ;
  32. 32
    + 150
    - 89

    added by Elise Hennigan
    Dance-punk, New Prog, Alternative dance

    ;
  33. 33
    + 169
    - 142

    often listed & added by eveholt3141
    Indie pop, Downtempo, Folk music

    ;
  34. 34
    + 119
    - 100

    often listed & added by WarrenMitchell
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Folk rock

    ;
  35. 35
    + 331
    - 198

    ranked low on reranks & added by HoserUSC
    Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave

    ;
  36. 36
    + 497
    - 270

    ranked low on reranks
    Indie pop, Pop music, Alternative rock

    ;
  37. 37
    + 400
    - 209

    ranked low on reranks & added by ShaneBird
    Indie rock, Folk, Soul

    ;
  38. 38
    + 106
    - 41

    added by julian-matthias
    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

    ;
  39. 39
    + 534
    - 309


    Synthpop, Alternative rock

    ;
  40. 40
    + 174
    - 102

    added by julian-matthias
    Synthpop, New Wave, French rock

    ;
  41. 41
    + 165
    - 132

    added by ShaneBird
    Alternative rock, Noise pop, Indie rock

    ;
  42. 42
    + 160
    - 131

    added by HoserUSC
    Third-wave of ska, Garage rock, Alternative rock

    ;
  43. 43
    + 116
    - 40

    ranked low on reranks & added by julian-matthias
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop

    ;
  44. 44
    + 166
    - 108

    added by ShaneBird
    Noise rock, Grunge, Alternative rock

    ;
  45. 45
    + 183
    - 164

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rock music

    ;
  46. 46
    + 281
    - 156

    ranked low on reranks & added by MarioArley
    Post-Britpop, Folk rock, Power pop

    ;
  47. 47
    + 145
    - 90

    added by HoserUSC
    Pop music, Garage rock, Indie rock

    ;
  48. 48
    + 106
    - 62

    added by Whitney Van Laningham
    Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  49. 49
    + 125
    - 81

    added by Elise Hennigan
    Indie pop, Shoegazing, Electronic music

    ;
  50. 50
    + 188
    - 140

    added by HoserUSC
    Dance-punk, Rock music, Post-Britpop

    ;
502 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >