indie The Best Indie Bands & Artists  

58k votes 5.7k voters 144k views 507 items Follow Embed

List Rules 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.

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Arctic Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Arctic Monkeys Trip hop, Dance-punk, Garage rock

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The Strokes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The Strokes Garage rock, Power pop, Alternative rock

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+ - 695 408
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

4
+ - 842 505
The Killers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The Killers Pop punk, Synthpop, New Wave

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+ - 720 575
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Arcade Fire Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

6
+ - 789 559
Vampire Weekend is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Vampire Weekend New Wave, Synthpop, Jazz fusion

7
+ - 497 105
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The Arcana Baroque pop/rock

8
+ - 612 490
Muse is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

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+ - 550 358
Modest Mouse is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Modest Mouse Indie pop, Garage rock, Space rock

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+ - 554 335
Tame Impala is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Tame Impala Space rock, Neo-psychedelia, Dream pop

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+ - 431 151
The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The Smiths Jangle pop, Indie pop, Alternative rock

12
+ - 800 490
Florence and the Machine is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Florence and the Machine Neo soul, Baroque pop, Electronica

13
+ - 606 280
Cage the Elephant is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Cage the Elephant Punk blues, Garage rock, Garage punk

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+ - 293 227
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

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Neutral Milk Hotel is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Neutral Milk Hotel Indie pop, Psychedelic folk, Rock music

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Pixies is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise

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Mumford & Sons is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Mumford & Sons Pop music, Folk rock, Pop rock

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+ - 481 228
The Kooks is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The Kooks Indie pop, Pop music, Rock music

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The Black Keys is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The Black Keys Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music

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+ - 300 254
Interpol is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Interpol Alternative rock, Indie rock, Post-punk revival

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+ - 352 314
The National is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The National Indie folk, Indie rock

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+ - 612 365
Alt-J is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Alt-J Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

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+ - 526 303
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Bon Iver Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

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+ - 425 311
Franz Ferdinand is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Franz Ferdinand New Wave, Rock music, Dance-punk

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Wilco is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Wilco Rock music, Experimental rock, Folk rock

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R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
R.E.M. Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

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Of Monsters and Men is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Of Monsters and Men Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

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Two Door Cinema Club is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Two Door Cinema Club Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave

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The Decemberists is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The Decemberists Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

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Foster the People is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Foster the People Indie pop, Synthpop, Rock music

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+ - 250 191
Sufjan Stevens is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Sufjan Stevens Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop

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+ - 216 174
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Bright Eyes Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

33
+ - 184 109
Foals is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Foals Dance-punk, New Prog, Alternative dance

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+ - 132 41
Joy Division is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Joy Division Punk rock, Post-punk

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+ - 194 54
Gorillaz is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Gorillaz Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop

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+ - 182 159
St. Vincent is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
St. Vincent Indie pop, Downtempo, Folk music

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+ - 166 45
MGMT is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
MGMT Synthpop, New Wave, Dance-punk

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+ - 310 178
Snow Patrol is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Snow Patrol Post-Britpop, Folk rock, Power pop

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+ - 461 230
Hozier is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Hozier Indie rock, Folk, Soul

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+ - 356 223
Passion Pit is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Passion Pit Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave

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+ - 175 55
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock

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+ - 570 311
Imagine Dragons is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Imagine Dragons Indie pop, Pop music, Alternative rock

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+ - 598 333
Bastille is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Bastille Synthpop, Alternative rock

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The Cure is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
The Cure New Wave, Gothic rock, Rock music

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+ - 211 120
Ranker Video v
Phoenix Synthpop, New Wave, French rock

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+ - 234 183
Regina Spektor is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Regina Spektor Indie pop, Anti-folk, Pop music

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+ - 179 147
Spoon is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Spoon Third-wave of ska, Garage rock, Alternative rock

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+ - 177 149
Pavement is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Pavement Alternative rock, Noise pop, Indie rock

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+ - 134 73
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Fleet Foxes Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

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+ - 197 174
Belle & Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists
Belle & Sebastian Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rock music