Indie The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists  

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28.6k votes 5.5k voters 681.6k 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
1,067 293
Of Monsters and Men is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

2
959 299
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

3
910 172
The Lumineers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Americana, Folk rock, Alternative rock

4
1,214 265
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

5
568 143
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
709 193
Iron & Wine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk music, Folk rock, Indie folk

7
524 192
The Civil Wars is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Americana, Folk music, Folk rock

8
474 139
Ben Howard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
amicalirobinson added Indie, Rock music, Folk music

9
456 136
Sufjan Stevens is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop

10
357 73
Ranker Video
CamEisen added

11
596 186
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
411 168
Hozier is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Indie pop, Soul music, Blues

13
410 169
The Decemberists is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

14
293 92
The Tallest Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Folk music

15
393 84
Daughter is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Folk rock, Indie folk

16
548 190
Passenger is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

17
315 141
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
497 103
Vance Joy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Alternative rock, indie folk

19
366 109
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

20
350 112
Noah and the Whale is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk rock, Pop rock, Bluegrass

21
297 95
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
239 130
Ingrid Michaelson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Indie folk

23
399 87
José González is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk music, Indie folk, Indie rock

24
255 43
Ranker Video
CamEisen added

25
364 96
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
132 22
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
345 115
Beirut is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Pop music, Folk music, World music

28
134 23
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacobHuneycutt added Folk music, Folk rock, Bluegrass

29
205 112
Feist is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Anti-folk, Folk music

30
185 40
First Aid Kit is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Americana, Folk music

31
145 45
The Oh Hellos is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added Folk rock

32
142 85
Conor Oberst is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Emo, Folk rock

33
100 25
Radical Face is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added

34
172 91
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
94 32
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Indie pop, Indie folk, Indie rock

36
87 67
Alexi Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Acoustic music, Alternative rock, Indie folk

37
125 45
Boy & Bear is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JoelGarrison added Folk music, Indie rock - Indie folk
 

38
119 60
Tom Odell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Indie pop, Folk music, Acoustic music

39
137 79
Father John Misty is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists

40
131 78
Sea Wolf is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Alternative rock, Indie folk, Indie rock

41
109 78
Devendra Banhart is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Psychedelic folk, Folk music, New Weird America

42
216 72
City and Colour is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added

43
68 40
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
93 73
Monsters of Folk is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

45
131 92
Two Door Cinema Club is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave

46
99 43
The Mountain Goats is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Folk rock, Urban Folk, Indie folk

47
50 21
Adam Torres is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
dreamingtree added Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Chamber Folk

48
131 95
She & Him is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Indie pop, Pop music, Rock music

49
59 30
Bear's Den is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
ChrisFriend added

50
75 62
Deer Tick is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Rock music, Alternative country, Indie folk