indie The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists  

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26.9k votes 5.2k voters 668.6k views 208 items

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 folk songs and 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! 

1
913 271
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Fleet Foxes Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

2
999 268
Of Monsters and Men is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Of Monsters and Men Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

3
834 155
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
1,171 249
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Bon Iver Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

5
534 137
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
682 183
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
508 180
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
444 123
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
427 132
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
313 69
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Gregory Alan Isakov

11
574 179
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Country pop, Folk rock, Neo-psychedelia

12
379 156
Hozier is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Hozier Indie pop, Soul music, Blues

13
392 165
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
380 77
Daughter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Daughter Folk rock, Indie folk

The Best Folk Songs of 2018

15
279 84
The Tallest Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added The Tallest Man on Earth Folk music

16
353 101
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Bright Eyes Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

17
305 130
Alt-J is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Alt-J Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

18
460 97
Vance Joy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Vance Joy Alternative rock, indie folk

19
523 184
/Passenger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
/Passenger Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

20
344 105
Noah and the Whale is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Noah and the Whale Folk rock, Pop rock, Bluegrass

21
284 91
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

The Best Wineries in France

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234 126
Ingrid Michaelson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Ingrid Michaelson Indie pop, Indie folk

23
380 87
José González is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
José González Folk music, Indie folk, Indie rock

24
288 188
Arctic Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Arctic Monkeys Trip hop, Dance-punk, Garage rock

25
350 91
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

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221 40
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Lord Huron

27
117 17
Band of Horses is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
-1449913396271 added Band of Horses Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock

28
335 112
Beirut is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Beirut Pop music, Folk music, World music

The Best Indie Songs of 2018

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202 107
Feist is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Feist Indie pop, Anti-folk, Folk music

30
162 40
First Aid Kit is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
First Aid Kit Indie pop, Americana, Folk music

31
108 22
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacobHuneycutt added The Avett Brothers Folk music, Folk rock, Bluegrass

32
139 82
Conor Oberst is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Conor Oberst Indie pop, Emo, Folk rock

33
78 20
Sigur Rós is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sigur Rós Shoegazing, Experimental rock, Minimalist Post Rock

34
128 44
The Oh Hellos is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added The Oh Hellos Folk rock

35
97 22
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
DaNerd added Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

Great One Hit Wonder Artists of the '90s

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92 25
Radical Face is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Radical Face

37
165 88
Kings of Convenience is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Kings of Convenience Indie pop, Folk rock, Electronic dance music

38
121 41
Boy & Bear is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JoelGarrison added Boy & Bear Folk music, Indie rock - Indie folk  

39
85 29
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Blind Pilot Indie pop, Indie folk, Indie rock

40
111 55
Tom Odell is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Tom Odell Indie pop, Folk music, Acoustic music

41
79 63
Alexi Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Alexi Murdoch Acoustic music, Alternative rock, Indie folk

42
211 69
City and Colour is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added City and Colour

The Best R&B Songs of 2018

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129 73
Father John Misty is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists

44
107 74
Devendra Banhart is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Devendra Banhart Psychedelic folk, Folk music, New Weird America

45
125 74
Sea Wolf is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sea Wolf Alternative rock, Indie folk, Indie rock

46
65 36
Family of the Year is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Family of the Year Americana, Folk music, Indie rock

47
92 69
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
49 18
Adam Torres is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
dreamingtree added Adam Torres Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Chamber Folk

49
93 38
The Mountain Goats is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
The Mountain Goats Folk rock, Urban Folk, Indie folk

50
127 86
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