The Best Indie Bands & Artists Bands/Musicians

The Best Indie Bands & Artists

35k votes 4.2k voters 145k views 474 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.
List Photo: user uploaded image
  • 24 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,202
    - 372

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Trip hop, Dance-punk, Garage rock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 703
    - 224


    Garage rock, Power pop, Alternative rock

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  3. 3
    + 434
    - 106
    Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists


    Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

  4. 4
    + 587
    - 269
    Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists


    Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

  5. 5
    + 601
    - 285


    New Wave, Synthpop, Jazz fusion

    ;
  6. 6
    + 624
    - 206

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

    ;
  7. 7
    + 353
    - 129


    Space rock, Neo-psychedelia, Dream pop

    ;
  8. 8
    + 403
    - 140

    added by ShaneBird
    Indie pop, Garage rock, Space rock

    ;
  9. 9
    + 610
    - 248
    Florence and the Machine is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists


    Neo soul, Baroque pop, Electronica

  10. 10
    + 322
    - 81
    Pixies is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

    added by muzziac
    Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise

  11. 11
    + 443
    - 207

    often listed & added by MarioArley
    Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

    ;
  12. 12
    + 413
    - 126
    Cage the Elephant is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists


    Punk blues, Garage rock, Garage punk

  13. 13
    + 442
    - 144


    Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave

    ;
  14. 14
    + 463
    - 182


    Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

    ;
  15. 15
    + 199
    - 72

    added by muzziac
    Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

    ;
  16. 16
    + 270
    - 115
    Neutral Milk Hotel is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

    added by ShaneBird
    Indie pop, Psychedelic folk, Rock music

  17. 17
    + 334
    - 134
    Franz Ferdinand is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists


    New Wave, Rock music, Dance-punk

  18. 18
    + 492
    - 250

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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 214
    - 35
    The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

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

  20. 20
    + 539
    - 188

    ranked low on reranks
    Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

    ;
  21. 21
    + 323
    - 98

    added by CatalinaEspinoza
    Indie pop, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  22. 22
    + 278
    - 166

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

    ;
  23. 23
    + 384
    - 161


    Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

    ;
  24. 24
    + 230
    - 121

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

    ;
  25. 25
    + 409
    - 121
    Foster the People is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

    ranked low on reranks
    Indie pop, Synthpop, Rock music

  26. 26
    + 444
    - 187


    Synthpop, Alternative rock

    ;
  27. 27
    + 291
    - 123

    added by HoserUSC
    Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave

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  28. 28
    + 409
    - 170
    Imagine Dragons is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists


    Indie pop, Pop music, Alternative rock

  29. 29
    + 149
    - 27

    added by julian-matthias
    Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music

    ;
  30. 30
    + 330
    - 137

    added by ShaneBird
    Indie rock, Folk, Soul

    ;
  31. 31
    + 132
    - 47

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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 197
    - 119

    added by elise
    Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

    ;
  33. 33
    + 182
    - 103

    added by eveholt3141
    Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop

    ;
  34. 34
    + 131
    - 22
    The Cure is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

    ranked low on reranks & added by julian-matthias
    New Wave, Gothic rock, Rock music

  35. 35
    + 236
    - 120


    Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock

    ;
  36. 36
    + 159
    - 104

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

    ;
  37. 37
    + 109
    - 41

    added by elise
    Dance-punk, New Prog, Alternative dance

    ;
  38. 38
    + 174
    - 102
    Regina Spektor is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

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

  39. 39
    + 172
    - 87

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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 230
    - 91

    ranked low on reranks
    Dance-punk, Rock music, Garage punk

    ;
  41. 41
    + 115
    - 50

    added by HoserUSC
    Pop music, Garage rock, Indie rock

    ;
  42. 42
    + 142
    - 87
    Pavement is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

    added by ShaneBird
    Alternative rock, Noise pop, Indie rock

  43. 43
    + 141
    - 71

    added by ShaneBird
    Noise rock, Grunge, Alternative rock

    ;
  44. 44
    + 233
    - 100

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

    ;
  45. 45
    + 161
    - 103
    Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Indie Bands & Artists

    added by elise
    Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

  46. 46
    + 90
    - 49

    added by WarrenMitchell
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Folk rock

    ;
  47. 47
    + 77
    - 28

    added by whitneyvanlaningham
    Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  48. 48
    + 113
    - 42

    ranked low on reranks & added by HoserUSC
    Blues-rock, Soul music, Punk rock

    ;
  49. 49
    + 142
    - 92

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

    ;
  50. 50
    + 159
    - 90


    Psychedelic folk, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

    ;
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