Music

The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists 

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Updated August 28, 2018 36k votes 6.8k voters 734.5k views 180 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
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Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Of Monsters and Men is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Iron & Wine is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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The Head and the Heart ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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The Lumineers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Edward Sharpe and the Ma... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Vance Joy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added
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Sufjan Stevens is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Ben Howard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Hozier is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Passenger is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Daughter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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The Civil Wars is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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The Decemberists is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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José Gonzá... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Noah and the Whale is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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The Tallest Man on Earth... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Alt-J is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Ingrid Michaelson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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First Aid Kit is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
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Angus and Julia Stone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists