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The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists

List Criteria: Vote up and add all of your favorite indie and folk bands out there.

For years, folk music was not popular. However, during the 2000s, the subgenre indie folk began gradually build a captive audience among music listeners. Armed with an acoustic guitar and poignant lyrics, indie folk bands seemed to rise in tandem with American hipsters' love of beards and artisan goods. Indie folk music started to show up on college radio before ultimately exploding around the 2010s with groups like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver going on to become national phenomenons. Since then, these groups have managed to sell out theaters, arenas and even amphitheatres on the strength of music that would have been dismissed as too niche as recently as 10 years prior. 

So, that begs the question, who are the best indie folk bands? Well, there's no easy answer to that. For starters, if you want to measure indie folk artists based solely on popularity, then London's Mumford & Sons has to be near the top of your list. Their second record, Babel, won multiple Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year back in 2013. The same goes for famous folk singer Bon Iver, who took home a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2012. However, Iceland's Of Monsters and Men,  Los Angeles' Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and female folk singer Feist would argue that the strength of their extremely catchy songs and the constant radio play would land them as some of the best indie folk artists.

This list should include every famous indie folk band. If you notice a particular artist is missing, then feel free to add them. The point of this list should be to answer the questions "who are the best indie folk bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest indie folk musician ever?" There's no right or wrong answer, but ultimately, these good indie folk artists' fate is in your hands so choose wisely! 

The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists Bands/Musicians
  • 16 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 723
    - 140

    the people's #1
    For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver

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  2. 2
    + 529
    - 109


    Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes (EP), Fleet Foxes

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  3. 3
    + 501
    - 67

    added by JacksonMay
    My Head Is an Animal, Live from Vatnagarðar, Into the Woods

    ; buy at  
  4. 4
    + 349
    - 83

    most listed
    Barton Hollow, Live at Eddie's Attic, The Civil Wars

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  5. 5
    + 447
    - 91


    The Shepherd's Dog, The Creek Drank the Cradle, Our Endless Numbered Days ...

    ; buy at  
  6. 6
    + 272
    - 35

    added by JacksonMay
    The Head and the Heart, Let's Be Still, iTunes Session

    ; buy at  
  7. 7
    + 232
    - 33

    added by amicalirobinson
    Every Kingdom, These Waters, Old Pine

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  8. 8
    + 409
    - 87


    Up from Below, Here, Here Comes

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  9. 9
    + 232
    - 52


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

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  10. 10
    + 266
    - 101

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    The Hazards of Love, The Crane Wife, Her Majesty the Decemberists

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  11. 11
    + 278
    - 42

    ranked low on reranks & added by lolaschaefer12
    The Lumineers, The Lumineers EP, Winter

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  12. 12
    + 356
    - 111


    Wicked Man’s Rest

    buy at  
  13. 13
    + 259
    - 58


    Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, Last Night on Earth

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  14. 14
    + 149
    - 31

    Ranked High on Reranks & added by JacksonMay
    The Wild Hunt, Shallow Grave, There's No Leaving Now

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  15. 15
    + 151
    - 51

    often listed & added by lolaschaefer12
    An Awesome Wave, iTunes Session, Tessellate (Remixes)

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  16. 16
    + 169
    - 20

    ranked low on reranks & added by lolaschaefer12
    Skin

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  17. 17
    + 232
    - 40

    ranked low on reranks
    In Our Nature, Veneer, Remain EP

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  18. 18
    + 165
    - 73

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Girls and Boys, Be OK, Lights Out

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  19. 19
    + 218
    - 52

    ranked low on reranks
    I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil

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  20. 20
    + 168
    - 64

    often listed & added by lolaschaefer12
    Take Me To Church E.P., Sedated, Hozier

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  21. 21
    + 217
    - 35

    ranked low on reranks & added by IgnatiusRadityoW
    Down the Way, Angus & Julia Stone, A Book Like This

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  22. 22
    + 165
    - 38

    added by selin
    O, 9, B-Sides

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  23. 23
    + 204
    - 43

    added by selin
    God Loves You When You're Dancing, Riptide

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  24. 24
    + 149
    - 75

    added by lolaschaefer12
    Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, Favourite Worst Nightmare ...

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  25. 25
    + 100
    - 35

    added by CamEisen
    The Weatherman, This Empty Northern Hemisphere, Rust Colored Stones

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  26. 26
    + 241
    - 68

    ranked low on reranks
    The Flying Club Cup, Gulag Orkestar, Elephant Gun

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  27. 27
    + 142
    - 60


    The Reminder, Let It Die, Metals

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  28. 28
    + 110
    - 49


    Riot on an Empty Street, Versus, Quiet Is the New Loud

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  29. 29
    + 96
    - 38


    Old World Romance, Leaves in the River, White Water

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  30. 30
    + 92
    - 53


    A Very She & Him Christmas, Volume One, Volume Two

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  31. 31
    + 94
    - 40


    The Soundtrack to My Movie, Conor Oberst, Water

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  32. 32
    + 113
    - 31

    ranked low on reranks & added by CamEisen

    buy at  
  33. 33
    + 69
    - 32


    Tourist History, iTunes Festival: London 2010, Beacon

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  34. 34
    + 86
    - 41


    The Recordings of The Middle East, I Want That You Are Always Happy, Jesus ...

    ; buy at  
  35. 35
    + 67
    - 34


    ; buy at  
  36. 36
    + 42
    - 31

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    The Swell Season, Raleigh, NC @ Meymandi Concert Hall

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  37. 37
    + 46
    - 34


    Time Without Consequence, Four Songs, Towards the Sun

    ; buy at  
  38. 38
    + 50
    - 19

    added by lolaschaefer12
    Long Way Down, Songs from Another Love, The Another Love

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  39. 39
    + 82
    - 48


    Oh Me Oh My... The Way the Day Goes by the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are ...

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  40. 40
    + 67
    - 40


    Monsters of Folk, Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.), The Sandman

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  41. 41
    + 41
    - 21


    Yael Naïm, In a Man's Womb, She Was a Boy

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  42. 42
    + 42
    - 22

    added by MattBonilla

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  43. 43
    + 33
    - 11

    added by lolaschaefer12
    Loma Vista, Where's the Sun, Through the Trees

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  44. 44
    + 47
    - 38


    Divine Providence, War Elephant, Negativity

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  45. 45
    + 23
    - 13

    added by lolaschaefer12
    We Were Here, First Between 3rd and 4th, Simple Times

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  46. 46
    + 41
    - 12


    Drunken Trees, The Big Black and the Blue, You're Not Coming Home

    ; buy at  
  47. 47
    + 15
    - 7
    No image

    added by ChrisFriend

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  48. 48
    + 31
    - 20


    If Children, My Neighbor / My Creator, The Knot

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  49. 49
    + 51
    - 23

    added by CamEisen

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  50. 50
    + 37
    - 30


    Rabbit Fur Coat, Acid Tongue, I'm Having Fun Now

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