Top 10 Indie Bands 2008

Who were the top 10 indie bands in 2008? It was an excellent year for indie music in 2008, as warranted by how some of the year's top bands are still considered for any shortlist of best independent artists today. Both familiar names and relative obscure artists made incredible music during 2008.

  1. Death Cab for Cutie. Still riding the success of their 2005 Atlantic album, "Plans," Death Cab for Cutie released "Narrow Stairs." The band's sixth studio album had "teeth," according to guitarist Chris Walla and was an ambitious departure from previous efforts.
  2. The Killers. Few bands have been both as prolific or as popular in mainstream music as The Killers have been since they arrived on the indie scene in 2001. "Sam's Town" in 2006, "Sawdust" in 2007 and finally, "Day & Age" in 2008 were all well received critically and had singles that were played on mainstream radio stations.  Lead vocalist lead vocalist Brandon Flowers said the album was the band's "most playful" to date.
  3. Rilo Kiley. While the alternative rock band didn't put out an album in 2008, their 2007 release "Under the Blacklight" was so popular with both critics and fans that the Jenny Lewis-fronted band was still considered one of the top indie bands during 2008.
  4. The Rocket Summer. 2007's release of "Do You Feel" (along with his two other follow-ups to his debut self-titled album) showed that Bryce Avery wasn't just a one-hit wonder. This very likable album become an easy gateway into the world of indie music.
  5. Modest Mouse. A longtime staple of the indie music scene, Modest Mouse was still considered one of the powerhouses for independent bands during 2008. "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank" was so successful, it was exposed to gamers through Microsoft's XBOX Live Network.
  6. Elliot Smith. This one-man-show was a tour de force in the indie music scene. The 2007 album "New Moon" was released posthumously and had 24 previously unreleased songs from earlier in Smith's career.
  7. Neva Dinova. The band's first album from Saddle Creek Records, "You May Already Be Dreaming," was released in 2008 and continues the group's foray into an unclassifiable sound—combinations of folk, psychedelia, rock and country.
  8. Arctic Monkeys. Alternative rock band Arctic Monkeys released "Favourite Worst Nightmare" in 2007 and was considered more ambitious and brighter than their previous projects. The record went pentuple platinum. 
  9. Animal Collective. This experimental group blends instruments and melodies to create addictive and pleasant music. They followed their 2007 album "Strawberry Jam" with 2008's EP "Water Curses."
  10. The Magnetic Fields. Although no synthesizers were used in "Distortion," The Magnetic Fields did change its synth-pop sound by distorting certain musical qualities throughout the album.
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