Indie The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists  

Reference
Originally by
30.8k votes 5.9k voters 696.4k views 197 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! 

Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page. Prices & inventory are accurate as of publish date.
list ordered by

1
1,019 325
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

2
1,002 194
The Lumineers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Americana, Folk rock, Alternative rock

3
1,126 321
Of Monsters and Men is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

4
1,274 284
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

5
618 155
The Head and the Heart is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Indie pop, Folk rock, Indie folk

6
751 212
Iron & Wine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk music, Folk rock, Indie folk

7
548 212
The Civil Wars is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Americana, Folk music, Folk rock

8
410 78
Ranker Video
CamEisen added

9
496 144
Sufjan Stevens is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop

10
503 152
Ben Howard is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
amicalirobinson added Indie, Rock music, Folk music

11
621 199
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Country pop, Folk rock, Neo-psychedelia

12
443 176
The Decemberists is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

13
460 187
Hozier is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Indie pop, Soul music, Blues

14
433 95
Daughter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Folk rock, Indie folk

15
314 104
The Tallest Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Folk music

16
583 203
Passenger is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

17
339 157
Alt-J is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

18
537 115
Vance Joy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Alternative rock, indie folk

19
385 119
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

20
361 124
Noah and the Whale is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk rock, Pop rock, Bluegrass

21
311 103
Damien Rice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Folk music, Folk rock, Indie rock

22
248 136
Ingrid Michaelson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Indie folk

23
310 46
Ranker Video
CamEisen added

24
419 90
José González is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk music, Indie folk, Indie rock

25
388 104
Angus and Julia Stone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
IgnatiusRadityoW added Indie, Folk music, Acoustic music