Rock The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists  

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3.9k votes 392 voters 20.8k views 117 items

Lo-fi music has a number of definitions and classifications, but for the sake of this list, we're going to define lo-fi bands as being artists whose recordings are of lower quality than normal and are generally recorded on a four-track. Though this is vague and seems defeatist, a lot of the best musicians like recording albums this way. Some of the best lo-fi bands are easily some of the most recognizable in music. This lo-fi musicians list seeks to organize those musicians and determine which is the best lo-fi band and lo-fi musician.

That said, who can be considered the best lo-fi artists? It's not an easy question to answer, especially when there are bands and artists like Neutral Milk Hotel, Beck, The Strokes and Daniel Johnston on this poll. Even lo-fi musicians who died, like Elliott Smith, are on this list because they too should be mentioned in the same breath as the best lo-fi musicians. Again, this lo-fi musicians list includes all bands and artists in the genre, including Pavement and Waaves. 

This list answers the questions "who are the best lo-fi music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest lo-fi music musician ever?" It's not an easy decision to determine who is the best lo-fi musician and artist instead of the most popular lo-fi music bands. But, it's your choice to decide who should be on the l-fi music bands list. If you notice someone is missing, then please add them because all lo-fi music bands should be on this poll. If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular lo-fi music bands that you might've heard of. (117 items)
list ordered by

1
108 38
Neutral Milk Hotel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Psychedelic folk, Rock music

2
97 32
Pavement is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Alternative rock, Noise pop, Indie rock

3
88 31
Ranker Video
Outsider Music added Outsider Music, Lo Fi, Folk Rock -

"Andrew Neil" Maternick.  Outsider music/lo-fi/Grunge-Folk/Alternative Rock Artist.  An artist with some intriguing mystery surrounding him.  Started writing songs following a head injury (car accident) in 2009. Has written 350 songs since then.  Was hospitalized for 3 years.  The 11 songs on his album "Code Purple -Andrew Neil" were written and recorded in his hospital room. Andrew writes songs that ignore standard musical and lyrical conventions.  He had no formal training and does not follow formal rules of songwriting. He  has no idea what notes/chords he is playing or what key he is in or what scales are all about.  He defies music theory. He just plays by ear.... up and down the fretboard.  He manages to wrap his guitar work around the lyrics.  The result is a raw, yet effective and emotionally charged song.  He writes prolifically and in most cases his songs are deep and introspective.... themes of loneliness, angst, mental illness, longing to be "normal".  Some have likened him to a Kurt Cobain meets Nick Drake and Elliot Smith with the simplicity of Daniel Johnston's "pure and childlike soul" thrown in.  Andrew Neil Discography includes two lo-fi albums.  "Andrew Neil Live at Para Coffee" (Feb 2012) and "Code Purple-Andrew Neil" (Oct 2017).  Code Purple is unique in that all the songs were written and recorded in a State Mental Hospital (Western State Hospital) where he was a patient for three years.  He wrote and recorded almost 70 songs there.  The Album includes 11 of those songs…..Exactly the way he recorded them. https://www.discogs.com/artist/5198941-Andrew-Neil-Maternick ;  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Neil_Maternick

4
99 39
Elliott Smith is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Folk rock, Acoustic music

5
59 18
Ween is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia

6
74 32
Daniel Johnston is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Outsider music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

7
65 27
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
ElijahKaganer added Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

8
65 28
Sebadoh is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie rock, Lo-fi music

9
65 30
Guided by Voices is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Alternative rock, Indie rock

10
54 23
The Mountain Goats is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Folk rock, Urban Folk, Indie folk

11
44 16
Beat Happening is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
muzziac added Indie pop, Alternative rock, Punk rock

12
44 18
Lou Barlow is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Alternative rock, Indie rock, Lo-fi music

13
46 20
The Folk Implosion is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Experimental rock, Alternative rock, Indie rock

14
53 28
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

15
39 17
Silver Jews is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
muzziac added Indie, Country rock, Alternative country

16
42 22
John Frusciante is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
ElijahKaganer added Rock music, Electronic dance music, Protopunk

17
37 18
Ariel Pink is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Psychedelic folk, Outsider music, Psychedelic pop

18
27 10
Mickey Melchiondo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia, Alternative rock

19
36 18
Beck Hansen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Alternative hip hop, Anti-folk, Country rap

20
32 16
Car Seat Headrest is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
carrotgirl added

21
33 17
R. Stevie Moore is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
New Wave, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

22
41 24
Wavves is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Pop punk, Noise rock, Garage rock

23
34 18
Beach House is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Shoegazing, Electronic music

24
42 26
The Microphones is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Folktronica, Noise pop, Indie folk

25
26 12
John Darnielle is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Folk music, Folk rock, Indie rock

26
43 29
Deep Fried Vibes is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
1512672154969 added

Alternative, Indie, Lo-fi rock

27
15 4
Mac DeMarco is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
IsabellaBravo added Jangle pop, Indie rock, Psychedelic rock

28
31 19
Robert Pollard is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Rock music

29
23 12
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists

30
24 13
The Kills is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Punk blues, Garage punk, Garage rock

31
27 16
Mount Eerie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Black metal, Indie folk

32
23 13
Elvis Depressedly is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Dominick Ichigo Morales added

33
24 14
The Magnetic Fields is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
muzziac added Indie pop, Synthpop, Pop music

34
24 14
The Olivia Tremor Control is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia

35
26 16
Bill Callahan is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Alternative country, Lo-fi music, Underground music

36
22 13
The Music Tapes is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie, Experimental classical music, Experimental music

37
23 14
Butterglory is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Indie rock, Lo-fi music

38
21 13
Archers of Loaf is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
muzziac added Noise rock, Noise pop, Punk rock

39
19 12
The Capstan Shafts is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
stepbystep added Indie rock

40
20 13
Nite Jewel is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Electronic music, Alternative dance, Lo-fi music

41
20 13
Dum Dum Girls is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
carrotgirl added Indie pop, Indie, Dream pop

42
27 20
Vivian Girls is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Indie pop, Dream pop, Noise pop

43
17 11
Times New Viking is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Shoegazing, Noise pop

44
19 13
Swirlies is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Chimp rock, Shoegazing, Indie rock

45
20 14
Milk Carton Superstars is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
goodvibrations added

46
20 14
Devendra Banhart is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Psychedelic folk, Folk music, New Weird America

47
20 14
Grizzly Bear is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Psychedelic folk, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

48
21 15
Molly Nilsson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
goodvibrations added

49
21 15
Bedhead is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
CarloMarinello added Post-rock, Indie rock, Slowcore

50
22 16
Jason Molina is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Lo-fi Bands/Artists
Folk rock, Alternative country, Indie rock