bands/musicians The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists  

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List Rules 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! 
list ordered by

1
825 192
Of Monsters and Men is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Of Monsters and Men Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

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2
790 211
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Fleet Foxes Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

3
648 105
The Lumineers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added The Lumineers Americana, Folk rock, Alternative rock

4
1,037 221
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Bon Iver Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

5
448 108
The Head and the Heart is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added The Head and the Heart Indie pop, Folk rock, Indie folk

6
611 160
Iron & Wine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Iron & Wine Folk music, Folk rock, Indie folk

7
457 154
The Civil Wars is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
The Civil Wars Americana, Folk music, Folk rock

8
379 98
Ben Howard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
amicalirobinson added Ben Howard Indie, Rock music, Folk music

9
362 115
Sufjan Stevens is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sufjan Stevens Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop

10
529 161
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Country pop, Folk rock, Neo-psychedelia

11
245 58
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Gregory Alan Isakov

12
256 72
The Tallest Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added The Tallest Man on Earth Folk music

13
349 150
The Decemberists is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
The Decemberists Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

14
313 61
Daughter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Daughter

15
310 136
Hozier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Hozier Indie pop, Soul music, Blues

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16
264 111
Alt-J is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Alt-J Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

17
329 97
Noah and the Whale is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Noah and the Whale Folk rock, Pop rock, Bluegrass

18
479 169
/Passenger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
/Passenger Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

19
318 94
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Bright Eyes Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

20
380 89
Vance Joy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Vance Joy Alternative rock, indie folk

21
248 83
Damien Rice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Damien Rice Folk music, Folk rock, Indie rock

22
216 118
Ingrid Michaelson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Ingrid Michaelson Indie pop, Indie folk

23
259 152
Arctic Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Arctic Monkeys Trip hop, Dance-punk, Garage rock

24
335 81
José González is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
José González Folk music, Indie folk, Indie rock

25
305 84
Angus and Julia Stone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
IgnatiusRadityoW added Angus and Julia Stone Indie, Folk music, Acoustic music

26
145 35
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Lord Huron

27
315 107
Beirut is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Beirut Pop music, Folk music, World music

28
79 12
Band of Horses is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
-1449913396271 added Band of Horses Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock

29
188 101
Feist is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Feist Indie pop, Anti-folk, Folk music

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30
189 66
City and Colour is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added City and Colour

31
122 75
Conor Oberst is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Conor Oberst Indie pop, Emo, Folk rock

32
59 14
Sigur Rós is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sigur Rós Shoegazing, Experimental rock, Minimalist Post Rock

33
118 34
First Aid Kit is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
First Aid Kit Indie pop, Americana, Folk music

34
109 36
Boy & Bear is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JoelGarrison added Boy & Bear Folk music, Indie rock - Indie folk  

35
151 85
Kings of Convenience is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Kings of Convenience Indie pop, Folk rock, Electronic dance music

36
92 39
The Oh Hellos is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added The Oh Hellos Folk rock

37
66 21
Radical Face is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Radical Face

38
100 50
Tom Odell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Tom Odell Indie pop, Folk music, Acoustic music

39
62 19
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacobHuneycutt added The Avett Brothers Folk music, Folk rock, Bluegrass

40
52 13
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
DaNerd added Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

41
118 73
Sea Wolf is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sea Wolf Alternative rock, Indie folk, Indie rock

42
98 72
Devendra Banhart is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Devendra Banhart Psychedelic folk, Folk music, New Weird America

43
48 16
Adam Torres is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
dreamingtree added Adam Torres Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Chamber Folk

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44
65 28
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Blind Pilot Indie pop, Indie folk, Indie rock

45
108 67
Father John Misty is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists

46
86 64
Monsters of Folk is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Monsters of Folk Folk music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

47
53 32
Family of the Year is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Family of the Year Americana, Folk music, Indie rock

48
64 61
Alexi Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Alexi Murdoch Acoustic music, Alternative rock, Indie folk

49
118 87
She & Him is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
She & Him Indie pop, Pop music, Rock music

50
112 82
Two Door Cinema Club is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Two Door Cinema Club Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave