Indie The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists  

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29.3k votes 5.6k voters 685.4k 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! 

list ordered by

1
934 174
The Lumineers is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Americana, Folk rock, Alternative rock

2
1,080 300
Of Monsters and Men is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

3
970 307
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

4
1,223 275
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

5
577 145
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
715 199
Iron & Wine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk music, Folk rock, Indie folk

7
528 199
The Civil Wars is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Americana, Folk music, Folk rock

8
467 137
Sufjan Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop

9
476 145
Ben Howard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
amicalirobinson added Indie, Rock music, Folk music

10
369 74
Ranker Video
CamEisen added

11
600 190
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
419 171
The Decemberists is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

13
420 174
Hozier is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Indie pop, Soul music, Blues

14
298 98
The Tallest Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Folk music

15
556 193
Passenger is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

16
400 90
Daughter is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Folk rock, Indie folk

17
376 113
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

18
319 147
Alt-J is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

19
505 106
Vance Joy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Alternative rock, indie folk

20
353 118
Noah and the Whale is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk rock, Pop rock, Bluegrass

21
301 100
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
241 132
Ingrid Michaelson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Indie folk

23
404 87
José González is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk music, Indie folk, Indie rock

24
273 43
Ranker Video
CamEisen added

25
368 100
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

26
139 26
Band of Horses is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
-1449913396271 added Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock

27
153 24
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacobHuneycutt added Folk music, Folk rock, Bluegrass

28
193 40
First Aid Kit is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Americana, Folk music

29
208 117
Feist is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Anti-folk, Folk music

30
348 120
Beirut is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Pop music, Folk music, World music

31
151 46
The Oh Hellos is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added Folk rock

32
143 89
Conor Oberst is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Emo, Folk rock

33
106 25
Radical Face is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added

34
172 95
Kings of Convenience is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Folk rock, Electronic dance music

35
98 35
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Indie pop, Indie folk, Indie rock

36
122 62
Tom Odell is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Indie pop, Folk music, Acoustic music

37
87 70
Alexi Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Acoustic music, Alternative rock, Indie folk

38
127 47
Boy & Bear is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JoelGarrison added Folk music, Indie rock - Indie folk
 

39
141 82
Father John Misty is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists

40
132 80
Sea Wolf is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Alternative rock, Indie folk, Indie rock

41
110 80
Devendra Banhart is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Psychedelic folk, Folk music, New Weird America

42
218 74
City and Colour is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added

43
68 42
Family of the Year is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Americana, Folk music, Indie rock

44
135 94
Two Door Cinema Club is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave

45
93 75
Monsters of Folk is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

46
133 97
She & Him is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Pop music, Rock music

47
100 45
The Mountain Goats is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk rock, Urban Folk, Indie folk

48
64 32
Bear's Den is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
ChrisFriend added

49
50 23
Adam Torres is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
dreamingtree added Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Chamber Folk

50
74 63
The Swell Season is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk rock, Indie folk