Top 10 Best Indie Rock Bands

The Top Ten
1 Arctic Monkeys The Arctic Monkeys, otherwise known as the Death Ramps, are a British indie rock band formed in 2002 in Sheffield, England. The band consists of Alex Turner (lead vocalist, songwriter, electric and rhythm guitarist), Jamie Cook (electric and rhythm guitarist, songwriter), Matt Helders (percussionist,... read more

Arctic Monkeys might have at first seemed like just another landfill indie group during the 2000s, but three main things set them apart from the rest: their everyman image, Matt Helders's excellent drumming, and Alex Turner's outstanding songwriting.

Firstly, the Monkeys were in their teens when they started the band, and this is reflected in their early (and by far best) albums. They didn't sound like rock stars. They sounded just like some slightly nerdy British kids who had got together in a garage and started playing songs - except they were really, really good at it. This adds a homegrown charm to their music and makes it very relatable to the younger generation.

Secondly, the Monkeys' Matt Helders is one of the best drummers in rock music today. Even on the first few songs, when the other band members could barely wield their guitars, Helders was always there in the background, pounding out complicated yet visceral drumlines as though he had been doing it since the day he was born. Over time, he's gotten even better, and he's very tasteful in his playing. Just like Ringo Starr before him, he gives the song just what it needs, even if that means drumming out mind-numbingly simple lines - although he is adept at playing more complicated pieces as well.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Alex Turner is perhaps the finest songwriter of the 2000s. He's not that great a singer, but he knows how to write hooks like no one else and has a great understanding of how to use the different instruments in his compositions. But what really sets him apart are his lyrics. Not counting the disappointingly awful lyrics of the completely terrible album AM, Turner uses imagery in his songs to convey his messages. And his songs are actually about things - boredom, love, lust, and just being a teenager. And even when they're not about something, Turner's weird sense of poetry allows him to create vivid, fantastic images in your mind.

For these reasons,... more

2 The Strokes The Strokes are an American rock band formed in New York City in 1998. They consists of Julian Casablancas (lead vocalist), Nick Valensi (guitarist, keyboardist, backing vocalist), Albert Hammond, Jr. (rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, backing vocalist), Nikolai Fraiture (bassist) and Fabrizio Moretti... read more

The Strokes are brilliant. I love their music more than anything, but I also love how real they are. After falling in love with their music, I wanted to know who was behind it, so I watched one of their interviews.

They said that fame wasn't what they cared about. It was all in the music. That's what I just love in a band. In the interview, Julian Casablancas talked about how bands are portrayed through false articles on the internet and in magazines, and how all the bull ruins their image. It's solely about the music to them, and I couldn't ask for more.

3 The Killers The Killers is an American pop rock band formed in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2001, by Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning.

The Killers are my favorite band! I have so much respect for them, and their music inspires me more than anything else in my life at the moment. I respect the fact that Brandon is not afraid to sing about his religious views and his beliefs.

Although I am not a Mormon, I can relate so much to them. The Killers are my idea of perfection, and when Ronnie announced they are currently writing new music, my heart lifted! They may be number 8 on this website, but to me, they will always be number 1!

The Killers are one of my favorite bands! Or maybe my favorite after Sixpence None The Richer. They're absolutely amazing! I love all their albums. Each one has something magical and catchy, plus the lyrics you can dive into.

My dream is to be at one of their concerts. Go Killers, go!

4 Radiohead Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwoood (bass guitar), Phil Selway (drums), and Ed O'Brien (guitar).

My personal favorite indie band. I can definitely understand why groups like The Strokes or The Killers are higher up on this list, as their music is much more accessible and radio-friendly than a lot of Radiohead's music, but when it comes to being the most innovative and bringing the most to the table, Radiohead blows the rest of these groups out of the water.

Quite possibly my favorite band ever! I don't think that they are really indie, though... The clear winners of this list are The Strokes and Arcade Fire, but what is Imagine Dragons doing here? The fact that they are above practically all these bands just shows it really is a bit of a popularity contest in the end!

5 Modest Mouse Modest Mouse is an American rock band formed in 1992 in Issaquah, Washington, and currently based in Portland, Oregon.

Considering more than half of what's on top is not indie rock, it isn't surprising. It's filled with overrated "famous" alternative bands. I was surprised to see the Hoosiers up there, though. I think they're a great band, but I didn't know they were considered in such high regard.

Really, up in the top ten, Arctic Monkeys shouldn't be close to where they are. Oasis isn't indie. The Killers aren't indie. Kings of Leon, for me, The Strokes are awesome, but they aren't really indie. All good bands (maybe except for Kings of Leon), but not indie.

I can't believe that Blur or The Script is even on this list. Also, why isn't Pavement higher? Why isn't Built to Spill on this list? There are plenty of indie bands that need to be on this list, that's for sure, but a lot of the best ones aren't in the higher spots they deserve, like Modest Mouse here.

6 Arcade Fire Arcade Fire are a Canadian indie rock band based in Montreal, Quebec consisting of husband and wife Win Butler and RĂ©gine Chassagne, along with Win's younger brother Will Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara.

Currently, my favorite band has been for the past 9 months. The album "The Suburbs" is a pure masterpiece, describing his childhood and evoking quite an emotional response.

"Reflektor" is much more upbeat but still conveys very important messages. In any album, the words flowing from Win Butler's lips are very poetic and meaningful.

There are few bands that I truly love. Aside from Modest Mouse, Radiohead, and Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire holds a special place in my heart.

Unlike most bands on this list, Arcade Fire is composed of artists in the truest sense of the word.

7 The Black Keys The Black Keys is an American indie rock and blues rock duo formed in Akron, Ohio in 2001 by Dan Auerbach (vocals, guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums).

The band has often been compared to The White Stripes as they are also an indie rock duo, that works with low fidelity equipment... read more

My goodness, this band is just pure drugs for your ears. You can't go wrong with just about any song of The Black Keys. They're blues-rock heaven.

Dan Auerbach's vocals are nothing short of perfect, and the lyrics and instrumentals are addictive. Such a great band, with underrated albums. Look them up and listen to the well-known and underrated songs. If you don't like them, you'll at least respect their evident talent.

How this band is ranked so low, I don't understand. Their music consists of insane guitar solos, beautiful lyrics, and melodies. Every album is something different, and their newest album, in my opinion, is the best one yet.

Just listen to Weight of Love off their new album, and let Dan and Patrick blow you away.

8 Imagine Dragons Imagine Dragons is an American pop rock band from Provo, Utah, and are now based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Imagine Dragons' lineup consists of lead vocalist Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman. The band first gained exposure with the release of their... read more

It makes me laugh how Imagine Dragons haters criticize them while they stan washed-up dad rock acts who do any stupidity just to stay relevant. Imagine Dragons may not be perfect. They have their fair share of flaws, but at least remember where they come from, and their activism is honest.

Imagine Dragons has risen to fame, and rightly so. Their music easily connects to everyone listening. Take Demons, for example, just listen to the lyrics and watch their Demons music video.

I'm pretty sure Demons was a song influenced by their lead vocalist, Dan Reynolds, who went through depression before and during his musical career. This band will continue to rise, and unlike other artists, they don't objectify women, have sexual references, or use vulgar words in their music to attract fans. Imagine Dragons are one of the few bright spots in today's music industry.

9 Oasis Oasis were an English britpop band formed in Manchester in 1991. Developed from an earlier group, the Rain, the band originally consisted of Liam Gallagher (vocals and tambourine), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan, and Tony McCarroll. Noel Gallagher (Liam's Brother) served as the primary... read more

Just listen to "Around The World" from their 1997 album "Be Here Now." It's one of the most epic songs I've ever listened to. It is a lengthy track, but that is one of the reasons it's epic.

The band broke up because the singer and the guitarist fought? FOR REAL? They are awesome, and they broke up because of a fight? They could have replaced one of the members.

I am literally in love with their music. Wonderwall makes me cry every time I hear those words. I love it so much. VOTE FOR OASIS!

10 Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend is an American rock band from New York City, formed in 2006 and currently signed to Columbia Records.

The first time I heard Step, I fell in love with them. They are unique. So I decided to purchase their latest album at the local disc shop, listened to it, and absolutely loved it. I found out they were touring the next month, begged my family to buy me tickets to the concert, and heard so many of their other songs and loved them even more. Now I own all their albums! In a span of 1 and a half months from hearing that one song on the radio.

Their third album, "Modern Vampires of the City," is probably one of the greatest albums of the 21st century. I'm not saying that they should be #1, but as good as Two Door Cinema Club, The Killers, The Strokes, etc., are, it really has to be between VW, Modest Mouse, and perhaps Arctic Monkeys.

I'm not sure if Radiohead qualifies as "indie." If they do, then there is no debating that they are #1. Forget indie. They are THE greatest band since the '90s and right up there in the debate for best ever.

The Contenders
11 Neutral Milk Hotel

NMK has an overwhelmingly unique sound and style. Their stylistic influences expand far beyond those of the bands that were previously mentioned. Jeff Mangum's voice is unique and is capable of striking a chord in your heart.

Listen to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea if you don't believe me. These guys are truly the definition of alternative and are unfortunately underrated. Their two albums have left an unarguable mark on the indie scene. Their contribution to music is so important, so please, please vote for them.

12 Florence and The Machine Florence and the Machine are an English indie rock band that formed in London in 2007, consisting of lead singer Florence Welch, Isabella Summers, and a collaboration of other artists.

Way underrecognized on American radio, I don't know about their status in the UK, but they're way underrated in the US. I mean, it's so much more than Florence Welch. The band itself (the Machine) is some of the finest music I've heard from the 21st century.

I especially love the way they incorporate the harp in their music. So rarely do you hear a harp in popular music anymore. My favorite song is "What the Water Gave Me," but I also really like "Shake it Out," "Seven Devils," and their covers of "You've Got the Love" and "Addicted to Love." An extremely talented and unique band. I'm waiting anxiously for new music from them.

13 Two Door Cinema Club

They are so energetic. Their songs are so vibrant and are all masterpieces. A LEGENDARY band like this that is so consistent, where no songs are fillers in the album, deserves to be at the top.

I love this band as well. I have not heard very many of their songs, but What You Know is one of their songs that I have heard, and I could not stop putting that song on replay.

The guys are just amazing. Their creative use of the guitar separates them from everyone else.

Sun, I Can Talk, and What You Know are must-listen-to songs.

14 The Smiths The Smiths were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1982. The band consisted of vocalist Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce.

The obvious choice. Morrissey's lyrics have also exposed me to lots of brilliant art, such as Oscar Wilde's writing and films such as A Taste of Honey. In addition to that, the band introduced me to Modest Mouse, a band I always knew about but never delved into until I found out about Marr's work on We Were Dead.

I think opening my argument on why The Smiths are the definitive indie band with the obvious choice is probably the most token Smiths-fan thing I'll ever do, but I digress.

Brilliant artists! Joyce and Rourke are also vital to The Smiths, despite what Moz and Marr will try to tell you.

15 Kings of Leon Kings of Leon is an American rock band that formed in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1999. The band is composed of brothers Caleb Followill, Nathan Followill and Jared Followill, with their cousin Matthew Followill.

The Kings embody a dimension of indie rock music like no other. One of the very few bands that I have connected to and cherished for many years. Every piece that they produce has an identity that is so incredibly human.

I hope to see them for a third time in the upcoming future.

I love the Kings. They are such an amazing band because they have raw, natural talent. Caleb Followill has such a unique voice, and he can sing like no other. I love how they have their own sound, and they don't have to play a ton of instruments, yet their sound is still full.

16 Coldplay Coldplay are a British pop rock band formed in 1996. The band consists of Chris Martin (lead vocalist and pianist), Jonny Buckland (lead guitarist), Guy Berryman (bassist) and Will Champion (drummer and backing vocalist). Manager Phil Harvey is often considered an unofficial fifth member. The band renamed... read more

This band has truly changed the indie/alternative rock genre. When you look at today's indie rock bands, 80% of them are influenced by Coldplay. Melodically, lyrically, instrumentally, and emotionally, their music is just transcendent and matchless.

Coldplay is my favorite band, and I think it always will be. My "obsession" started in 2008 when I heard their song "Viva la Vida" playing on the radio. I later bought the CD "Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends." I became hooked and now own every one of their CDs.

This is why I love Coldplay!

17 Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand are a Scottish rock band, formed in 2002 and based in Glasgow. The band's original lineup was composed of Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy, Bob Hardy, and Paul Thomson.

This band is completely amazing. (Listening to No You Girls right now.) Their music is always fresh and new! I never get tired of Franz Ferdinand. Their songs are the best.

Honestly, they should be up there with The White Stripes. They are completely amazing, my favorite band hands down.

Amazing band. How they are able to create such interesting music is beyond me. "Ulysses" is by far one of my favorite songs ever, so deliciously dark.

All their songs have something special about them - definitely worth checking out.

18 Alt-J Alt-J is an English indie rock band formed in 2007 in Leeds, by Joe Newman, Thom Sonny Green, Gus Unger-Hamilton and Gwil Sainsbury.

These guys should definitely be closer to the top. Alt-J was the number one touring band in the world last year. The vocalist, like many indie-rock artists, has a very unique sound, but even more so than the majority. The instrumental structure in their music paints imagery to almost every mood you could possibly imagine.

The second I heard Breezeblocks, my mood dramatically changed from stressed and busy to totally calm, and my mind was astounded by the beauty and sound of their music. Truly my favorite band, and they write so poetically.

If you haven't heard this band, you are missing out!

19 Muse Muse are an English alternative rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994. The members are Matt Bellamy (lead vocal, lead guitar, piano, keyboard), Dom Howard (drums, percussion) and Chris Wolstenholme (bass, backing vocals). They've won several awards including 5 MTV Awards, 8 NME Awards, 2... read more

Muse were indie, but they became commercial after Black Holes and Revelations. Anyway, you can always find some of their good songs on the internet.

Happy search, and long live Muse.

Um, why is Muse down here and not in first? Some would say that they aren't in this genre, but Muse is so good that they should be at the top of lists for folk, country, classical, rock, heavy metal, and pop.

Why are they not higher up on this list? Maybe they're a bit more alternative and electro than indie, but still, they are one of the best bands. I'm shocked.

20 Young the Giant

Rarely do I find albums where I like every song. That is the case with both of Young the Giant's albums. I absolutely love them and can't believe they aren't more popular.

I just heard their newest single "Something to Believe in". Once again, it was amazing!

That band deserves to be much higher on this list. All their songs are wicked! It's beautiful, talented, and original.

If you don't know them, it's worth trying to spend some time listening to them. I guarantee you'll love it!

I don't know how these guys aren't more popular by now! They're better than 90% of the popular music today.

21 Foster the People Foster the People is an American indie pop band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2009. It currently consists of lead vocalist Mark Foster, lead guitarist Sean Cimino, keyboardist Isom Innis, and drummer Mark Pontius.

I think Foster the People should be #1 because of their innovative music. Their "Torches" album displays creativity in vocals and rhythms. Their new album "Supermodel" expands on that creativity in a variety of moods not found on the first album.

Watch this band's fan base grow.

I find this interesting because their first single, Pumped Up Kicks, hit the mainstream and hit it hard. However, by all means, their work afterwards is still indie. I've just always been unsure when it comes to including these guys on a best indie rock list.

22 Never Shout Never

Indigo was a masterpiece, and their song Trouble is just amazing.

They are fantastic and should be number one on this list!

23 Foals

Foals are just one of the best indie rock bands and one of the most original too. Songs from their first album have math rock and dance-punk elements. Their second album, "Total Life Forever," features elements of post-punk and electro-rock, while their third album is a combination of the first two. I love this band. Start by listening to "Cassius" and go on from there.

Foals! They're just amazing. I mean, Providence, Spanish Sahara, Late Night are just awesome songs.

I haven't decided which one of their latest albums I like the most! Listen to both of them!

24 Blur Blur are an English rock band, formed in London in 1988. The group consists of singer/keyboardist/guitarist Damon Albarn, guitarist/singer Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree.

I LOVE BLUR! They were one of my first tastes of indie rock back in the '90s, and I've loved them ever since I was little.

I love their style. They made British pop what it is. What else can I say?

An overall great indie band. They cover a wide range of styles, from Manchester in their 1991 album Leisure, with songs like Sing being the highlight of the album. From there, they only got better with their second album Modern Life Is Rubbish, which has a very original and indie feel. Songs such as Chemical World/Intermission show Blur could create enjoyable while new and fun music.

With the 1994 release of Parklife, Blur solidified their status as a marvelous British band with a wide selection of songs, from the fun and slightly poppy Girls and Boys to the calm and heartfelt To the End. This album also stays quite consistent with amazing non-single songs such as Badhead.

Later, Blur reinvented themselves again, taking on a more lo-fi approach.

25 Pixies The Pixies are an American alternative rock band formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts. The group disbanded in 1993 in acrimonious circumstances, but reunited in 2004. The group currently consists of founders Black Francis, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering.

Heck, the Pixies are an incredible band. Their music is weird, imaginative, and often rude, I know, but it's groundbreaking as well. The Pixies are a major influence on so many of the really famous bands everyone knows, yet their contribution is shamefully overlooked. These guys deserve to be No. 1. They're way better than all those listed above (and I am a fan of some, too), especially better than the Arctic Monkeys. Just... yeah. Incredible.

This is one of the most important bands in rock history. Most bands on this list owe a lot to the Pixies, and somehow they are at 50.

The Pixies may not be the best band in the genre, but they still deserve to be WAY higher.

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