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Ten Best Indie Bands That Broke Up or Ended Too Soon

Updated on March 13, 2015

The Influence of Indie Rock

In the 1990s and early 2000s, many indie bands paved the way for future music to come. They had a unique and catching sound, but didn't sound like the norm on the radio. Many of these ground breakers broke up leaving a void in the music industry. What they did do is leave a mark on future bands to come. Below is a list of the best indie bands that did this.

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, NC. The members were comprised of Ben Folds (piano, vocal), Darren Jessee (drums, back vocals) and Robert Sledge (bass, back vocals). Their music was infused with pop, rock, and jazz elements and stood out in its time for not incorporating guitars in their music. The band released 4 albums,Ben Folds Five, Whatever and Ever Amen, Naked Baby Photos, and The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. The band broke up in 2000 and went its separate ways. Ben Folds went on to make a name for himself as a solo artist.

*The band "might" be getting back together in 2011 to release a new album


"Underground" - Ben Folds Five - 1995

Elliot Smith

Elliott Smith was a solo artist musician who started to release his music in 1994 in Portland, Oregon. His instrument of choice was the guitar, but he was also played other instruments extremely well like the piano, bass, drums, and harmonica. Smith incorporated many styles of music but much of his focus was on rock and folk. He had a unique vocal style and used multiple vocal tracks to add vocal dimensions. Albums are still being released posthumously. Seven albums were released under his name, Roman Candle, Elliott Smith, Either/Or, XO, Figure 8, From a Basement on the Hill, and New Moon. In 2003, Elliott Smith took his own life, ending his amazing career.


"Waltz #2" - XO - 1998

No Knife

No Knife formed in 1993 and was from San Diego, CA. They combined aspects of math rock, post-hardcore, and other indie rock aspects. The band's consisted of Mitch Wilson (vocals,guitar), Brian Desjean (bass), Ryan Ferguson (guitar,vocals).and Ike Zaremba (drums). The band released four albums; Drunk on the Moon, Hit Man Dreams, Fire in the City of Automatons and Riot for Romance! No knife offically broke up in 2003. They play a few reunion shows in 2009 but never officially got back together.

ALBUM TO START WITH - Fire in the City of Automatons

"Red Bedroom" - Riot for Romance - 2002

Dismemberment Plan

The Dismemberment Plan was formed in 1993 out of Washington D.C. The band displayed differenty form of rock including indie rock, post-punk revival, math rock, and post-hardcore .The band members were made up of Travis Morrison (vocals,guitar), Eric Axelson (bass), Jason Caddell (guitar), and Joe Easley (drums). The band released five LP's; !, The Dismemberment Plan Is Terrified, Emergency & I, Change, A People's History of the Dismemberment Plan. The band eventually broke up in 2003. D-Plan has played a few reunion tours since, but have not regroup formally.


"Time Bomb" - Change - 2001


Dropsonic originated from Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. They blends elements of indie rock, math rock, soul, and post hardcord. One of the unique elements in the band was the lead guitar solos that were featured in many songs the wrote. The lineup included Dan Dixon (guitar, vocals), David Chase (bass), and Brian Hunter (drums), Drop sonic had a very full and complete sound for just being a three piece band. They had six albums released; Sleep With the Fishes, The Big Nothing, Belle, The Low Life, and Insects with Angel Wings. They band went its separate ways this year in 2011.


"Going Down" - The Low Life - 2008


Karate formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1993. The band improvised music and adapted into a strange mix of indie rock, punk, blues, jazz and post-rock. It members Geoff Farina,(guitar, vocals), Eamonn Vitt (guitar), Gavin McCarthy (drums) , Jeff Goddard (bass). Karate released seven studio albums; Karate LP/CD, In Place of Real Insight, The Bed is in the Ocean, Unsolved, Some Boot, Pockets and 595.Farina disband the group in 2005 due to hearing problems from playing live.

ALBUM TO START WITH - In Place of Real Insight

"Sever" - Unsolved - 2000

Sunny Day Real Estate

Sunny Day Real Estate is from Seattle, Washington and formed in 1992. The changed their sound throughout the years but it was comprised of alternative rock, emo, indie rock, and Progressive rock. They were one of the first bands in the 90's to be classified as emo. The band was made up of Dan Hoerner (guitar,vocals), William Goldsmith (drums), Nate Mendel (bass), and Jeremy Enigk (guitar). The band released four album in their existence; Diary, Sunny Day Real Estate, How It Feels to Be Something On, and The Rising Tide. In 1996, Goldsmith and Mendel joined the band the Foo Fighters. The with new members filling in, Sunny Day disbanded in 2001. They have done a few reunion shows since then.


"Killed By an Angel" - The Rising Tide - 2000


Shiner formed in 1992 out of Kansas City, MO. The band's sound was blended the genres of indie rock, post-hardcore and math rock. The band was made up of Allen Epley (guitar, vocals), Paul Malinowski (bass), Josh Newton (guitar) and Jason Gerken (drums). The band released four studio albums; Splay, Lula Divinia, Starless, and The Egg. The band went their separate ways in late 2002.


"Pills" - The Egg - 2001


Failure was an indie rock band from Los Angeles, CA that was formed in 1990. Their sound was a muixture of alternative rock ,indie rock, space rock, alternative metal, and post-grunge. Ken Andrews Greg Edwards, Kellii Scott, Troy Van Leeuwen, Robert Gauss, and John Dargahi. They released five full length albums; Comfort, Magnified, Fantastic Planet, Golden, Essentials. The band broke up in 1997.

ALBUM TO START WITH - Fantastic Planet

"Saturday Savior" - Fantastic Planet - 1996

Codeine Velvet Club

Codeine Velvet Club band formed in 2008 in Glasgow, Scotland. The music stylings are a mixture of Alternative rock, Baroque pop, Cabaret. The band's main members are Lou Hickey (vocals) and Jon Lawler (guitar, vocals). Jon Lawler is famous for former his band called The Fratellis. This was a short lived band. They had a short run and came out with one album, self titled, Codeine Velvet Club. In 2010, both members proclaimed a split in the band and were pursuing solo careers.

ALBUM TO START WITH - Codeine Velvet Club

"Vanity Kills" - Codeine Velvet Club - 2010


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    • Jon Peterz profile image

      Jon Peterz 6 years ago from California

      Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar were band mates In Uncle Tupelo. They pretty much invented the whole "Alt-Country" genre. Their finest album in my opinion was their last, 1993's "Anodyne". Gorgeous, my short words here can't do it justice. Check it out.

    • newblender profile image

      newblender 6 years ago from Milwaukee

      I like Wilco a lot. I did not know about tweedy's early projects. I'll have to give it a listen.

    • Jon Peterz profile image

      Jon Peterz 6 years ago from California

      Great Hub. That Elliot Smith song I've heard before but never knew who did it. I'll have to dig into his stuff a bit more. What about Uncle Tupelo? I've been listening to them a lot this year. Kind of discovered Son Volt and Wilco (Farrar and Tweedy) and worked my way backwords. Love the album "Anodyne". Peace.

    • newblender profile image

      newblender 6 years ago from Milwaukee

      Thanks! Those bands really influenced what I listen to today!!

    • Dorian Bodnariuc profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 6 years ago from Kanata, Ontario, Canada

      I liked your hub, it's very informative, I didn't know almost any of those bands.