indie 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 building 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, while still making some of the best indie songs of 2018. 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
862 201
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

The Best Indie Songs of 2018 The Best Current TV Shows Starring Movie Stars

2
808 220
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
687 107
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
1,058 224
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Bon Iver Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

5
466 112
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
626 162
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
466 156
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
388 103
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
369 118
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
537 164
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
259 60
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Gregory Alan Isakov

12
263 75
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
328 63
Daughter is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Daughter Folk rock, Indie folk

14
355 152
The Decemberists is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
The Decemberists Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

15
274 114
Alt-J is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Alt-J Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

Indie Musicians You Didn’t Know Were a Couple Incredibly Famous Bands Playing Shows You Would Never Imagine They Would

16
321 140
Hozier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Hozier Indie pop, Soul music, Blues

17
333 99
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
488 173
/Passenger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
/Passenger Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

19
322 96
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Bright Eyes Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

20
388 91
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
256 85
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
218 120
Ingrid Michaelson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Ingrid Michaelson Indie pop, Indie folk

23
263 157
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
343 83
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
312 86
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
157 36
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Lord Huron

27
320 109
Beirut is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Beirut Pop music, Folk music, World music

28
192 103
Feist is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Feist Indie pop, Anti-folk, Folk music

29
85 14
Band of Horses is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
-1449913396271 added Band of Horses Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock

The Best Indie Bands & Artists How Do You Want to Be Remembered When You Die?

30
124 76
Conor Oberst is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Conor Oberst Indie pop, Emo, Folk rock

31
64 14
Sigur Rós is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sigur Rós Shoegazing, Experimental rock, Minimalist Post Rock

32
128 35
First Aid Kit is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
First Aid Kit Indie pop, Americana, Folk music

33
97 39
The Oh Hellos is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added The Oh Hellos Folk rock

34
72 21
Radical Face is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Radical Face

35
153 86
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
110 38
Boy & Bear is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JoelGarrison added Boy & Bear Folk music, Indie rock - Indie folk  

37
67 19
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacobHuneycutt added The Avett Brothers Folk music, Folk rock, Bluegrass

38
102 51
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
58 14
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
DaNerd added Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

40
69 28
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Blind Pilot Indie pop, Indie folk, Indie rock

41
120 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
101 73
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
192 67
City and Colour is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added City and Colour

The Best Folk Jazz Bands/Artists The Worst Qualities in Politicians

44
110 68
Father John Misty is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists

45
56 33
Family of the Year is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Family of the Year Americana, Folk music, Indie rock

46
48 17
Adam Torres is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
dreamingtree added Adam Torres Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Chamber Folk

47
87 65
Monsters of Folk is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Monsters of Folk Folk music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

48
65 62
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
119 88
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
70 58
Deer Tick is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Deer Tick Rock music, Alternative country, Indie folk