Radiohead one of the best bands of the 2000s
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The 13 Best 2000s Alternative Bands

When selecting a list of the best 2000s alternative rock bands, there are lots to choose from. Therefore, it is probably best to lay down some rules so we are all on the same page before we get into the list. We will select them based on their influence in the decade, the quality of their output, and their overall impact. 

The band does not have to have started in the 2000s, but they have to have been active and at least successful in the decade. Anyway, let’s get on with the list! 

The Best 2000s alternative bands


Placebo did some of their best work within the late 1990s, but their output continued well into the 2000s. Releasing four albums in the ’00s, Placebo still a high amount of commercial success within the UK and Europe. 

Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal took their guitar-heavy tone, and within this era, they morphed it with the inclusion of more electronic elements and an elevated level of musicianship. Their most successful album during this decade was Meds, which sold 1 million records worldwide.  

While not receiving recognition to the levels of other artists on this list, it is difficult to deny the band’s output and their effect on alternative rock within Europe. 

Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse were integral to the continued development of indie rock within the 2000s. Their unique blend of indie, folk, and punk gave them a distinct edge compared to other 2000s alternative bands, allowing them to see critical acclaim for their diverse influences and some commercial success. 

Their most well-known single is “Float On”, which was released on their 2004 album Good News for People Who Love Bad News. They ascended further into the landscape when they added iconic indie guitarist Johnny Marr to their line-up for their next album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. The latter album would receive great reviews and was influential for bringing Marr back to the indie/alternative music scene.


Paramore are an example of a band mixing a multitude of influences. The perfect blend of pop-punk, new-wave emo, pop-rock, and alternative rock makes their sound unique solely to them. Elevated by the impressive vocal performances of Hayley Williams, the band would take their brand of honest-speaking, pop-based alternative rock to the top.

I do have to say All We Know Is Falling isn’t exactly a flying start, although they did rocket themselves into this conversation with the release of Riot! in 2007. Hits such as “Crushcrushcrush” and “Misery Business” are so iconic for the ’00s and are some of the catchiest pop-rock songs of all time. 

Paramore belong on this list but do not place higher due to their relatively simplistic compositions, something I think is fixed in their post-2010 output. There’s not a lot of groundbreaking stuff here, but what is here is now iconic. 

Bloc Party

I believe Bloc Party are a band that don’t get their fair share of praise, considering their influence and impact on indie rock. Their debut album, Silent Alarm, announced the band to the world, showcasing their ability to create songs that contain poignant and personal lyrics and energetic indie rock guitar patterns.

Hits like “Helicopter” and “Banquet” gained a lot of radio play and placed them alongside other successful bands in the post-punk and garage rock scenes. With a big focus on rhythm, the band would continuously add elements to their music, eventually infusing their unique blend of indie with dance elements in singles such as “Flux”.

I think the band’s foundations in reality, while not being scared to push the boundaries of alternative rock, make them one of the best alternative rock bands of the 2000s.

The Strokes

The Strokes set the precedent for all other 2000s indie bands. Capturing a minimalistic aesthetic and a simplistic guitar-driven sound, the band would influence how other bands in the early 2000s would approach their music. Their debut album, This Is It, released in 2001, is now regarded as one of the decade’s best albums. 

Julien Clasablancas’ raspy and raw vocal approach perfectly blends with Nick Valensi’s robust but melodic guitar playing perfectly. This sound would become somewhat of a benchmark for other alternative bands. You can see elements of garage rock, early British indie, and pop music’s infectious melodies within their music. 

Decade defining. That is the only way to speak about The Strokes.


Interpol solidified themselves within the alternative rock scene with their intricate guitar lines and moody undertones. This combination resulted in a unique brand of post-punk. These compositional elements are evident within tracks such as “Obstacle 1” and “PDA”. 

Interpol, unlike others on this list, may not have had a large amount of commercial success, but they were influential enough to garner a cult following. Their follow-up albums would earn the band praise for their compositions with massively positive reviews. 

Interpol’s role in the post-punk revival, combined with their distinctive sound, made them a pivotal band in the alternative and indie rock landscape of the era. 

Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age’s heavy psychedelic blend of alternative rock establishes them as one of the 2000s best alternative bands. The super-distortion driven sound of Josh Homme and Troy Van Leeuwen’s guitar playing is iconic for adding depth and texture to the band’s music. Homme’s vocals and showmanship defined the band’s style and made them an intriguing band to follow.

Their album Songs for the Deaf is often hailed as one of the best albums of the decade and showcases the band’s songwriting ability. Containing hits like “No One Knows” and “Go With The Flow”, this album would propel the band into the mainstream with its success. This allowed them to work with incredible artists such as Dave Grohl, who drummed for the aforementioned album.

It is without a doubt that QOTSA belong in the list of best 2000s alternative bands. 

Kings of Leon

Love or hate them, Kings Of Leon are one of the most influential artists of the 2000s, and that’s a fact. Southern American charm and musicality meet the world of alternative rock. Now, that is a recipe for success. The band started with a raw borderline-rockabilly tone and style, showcasing their brilliance on albums such as Youth & Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak. 

The band would go on to write possibly the most successful alternative rock record of the decade, excluding Coldplay, in the form of Only by the Night, although this is where the alt-rockers lost their loyalty to the band. This album was arena rock, composed with filling stadiums in mind and the process lost the authenticity of the band. 

Despite becoming dreaded “sell-outs”, you cannot deny their impact on the indie rock scene.

Foo Fighters

Any list of the best bands of the 2000s would be incomplete without featuring the Foo Fighters. Formed in the 90s as Grohl’s solo project, the band would hit its stride by 1999 and continue this dominance into the ’00s. The band would hit the ground running, releasing One by One in 2002, which earned the band a Grammy for Best Rock Album.

Despite having only three studio albums in the decade, the band would still be a permanent feature, touring the world and headlining festivals. They would gig so much that in 2008, they had to take a hiatus from touring. This was primarily to spend time with their families. This level of exposure would sustain their popularity at the top of the alternative rock tree and establish them as a mainstay in the world of rock.

Despite being a ’90s band, their work in the ’00s is almost unfathomable. 

My Chemical Romance

You cannot mention alternative rock bands of the 2000s without speaking about My Chemical Romance. The band formed a unique style of music with intriguing dress codes and honest, angst-filled lyrics, to form a fanbase that was, and still is, feral like a cult.

The band had three albums in the decade. Each album would see the band get progressively more refined and experimental. From the raw and anger-filled “I Brought You My Bullets” to “The Black Parade” the band changed the face of the alternative and punk rock scenes of the ’00s. 

Even to this day, fans flock to every ounce of news about MCR, so they have to be on this list for impact alone.  

Arctic Monkeys

The British indie scene would not be the same without the Arctic Monkeys… that is a fact. One of the most successful bands from the UK, this band’s influence placed them firmly within the best 2000s British bands. Their unique brand of fast-paced indie rock charmed the radio stations in the UK. This was so much so that it became the fastest-selling debut album in UK history. 

The band would continue this success well after Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not with their sophomore album, Favourite Worst Nightmare. This album, in itself, would feature some hits such as Brian Storm and 505. The UK music scene would then see a flux of indie bands after their surge, and they would also manage to break America. 

If you ever want to see the influence of this band, go to any local indie gig in the UK, and you will hear a band that sounds like their tribute. 


Radiohead may have started as a product of jumping onto the grunge hype with their track “Creep”, but they soon moved to more experimental horizons with albums like Ok ComputerThey would continue this experimental exploration in the 2000s with albums such as Kid A and its companion Amnesiac. Both of these albums received mass critical acclaim and positioned the band as a spearhead of the development of alternative rock. 

Radiohead would follow this up with two other acclaimed albums in the form of Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows. Their ability to transcend genres and include groundbreaking elements allowed them to break through in America, building a devoted fanbase within the country. 

Radiohead, when all is said and done, will be, if they aren’t already, not just one of the best bands of the 2000s but one of the best bands of all time.

The White Stripes

The piece de resistance of 2000s alternative bands, The White Stripes! Who else could it be? The band is responsible for the majority of the garage rock scene revival. They would achieve massive success with their DIY musical style, blending fuzz-ridden, bassy guitar riffs with simplistic but hard-hit drum patterns. 

Commercial success and critical acclaim is sometimes a tough balance for alternative rock bands, although The White Stripes would achieve both. Of their five albums released in this decade, two would get platinum certification in the UK and US, and three would win the Grammy for Best Alternative Album. 

The band’s impact despite their relatively short tenure is unquestionable. Hits such as the “Seven Nation Army”, “Fell In Love With a Girl”, and “Icky Thump” are still regularly featured on every Spotify playlist. It should be no surprise that they are ranked this high since White Blood Cells took the number one spot on this list. 

Some 2000s bands just missing the cut

  • The Hives
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Muse
  • Arcade Fire
  • Kasabian 
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Metric

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