If you're on Twitter, there are 25 music-related accounts (some from real artists, others satirical) you should follow. They won't give you any info on releases or retweets from fans, but a healthy dose of hate, irony, and freakism.
If you have a Twitter account, you know what's happening on the social network: it's often a mountain of microscopic and irrelevant information, a flood of messages from (almost) famous people. Amateur comedians and journos; most of the time it's all rather unsubstantial. People telling you where they are (at the airport, at home, on the bog) or what they've had for dinner; basically, people just virtually talking so they don't feel so alone. There are millions of Twitter accounts, but we don't follow all of them, otherwise we'd be buried in drivel. Even record labels aren't strangers to this dynamic: most of the accounts (and the artist's accounts) are just another vehicle for shameless self-promotion, telling you who's playing where tonight, when this or that record is coming out, retweets of admirers and so on.
In that whole mishmash of tweets, there's a minority of artists using their accounts as a means of free expression, as a tool to actually communicate with friends and fans, to talk about aspects of life that have little or nothing to do with their work. Those are the accounts that are worth following, because they make for healthy doses of hate, fun, unbiased opinions, madness, and moments of sheer conceptual terrorism. We selected 25 of them that we think you should follow. For they are the cherry on the cake.
1. Andrew Hung
Andrew Hung is not going to tell you anything about Fuck Buttons on his account. He's just not bothered. Even when their songs were playing during the London Olympics opening ceremony, he didn't even blink. What he does talk about is Apple products, the frequency with which Luke Abbott appears on Gmail chat and his failed attempts to find people to play online chess with. During the European Football Championships, he dared complain about Spain's 'boring' game. Though he humbly kept silent during the final, of course.
2. Bret Easton Ellis
It's not exactly a music-related account, but he's probably one of the most pop writers of these days. To enter his account is to get into his mind and to know his musical, cinematic, literary and TV preferences. It turns out our Bret is as much of a “Mad Men” fan as the next one, that he thinks “Let England Shake” is PJ Harvey's big masterpiece and that he approves of the film adaptation of “Cosmopolis”.
“Settling down to some MGS4.” That's the only tweet on Burial's account since he started it in November 2008. An apparently trivial phrase, yet perfectly descriptive of the character; allergic to any media activity, just happy playing video games and making music. You should follow him just in case he decides to pick it up again, so you'll be “the first” to know.
4. Christopher Owens
Apart from announcing he was leaving Girls, Christopher Owens' account got us up to speed about his love for Miley Cyrus and FC Barcelona (on a hardcore level, even including an exchange of messages with famous streaker Jimmy Jump). Between praising Messi, Xavi and company, he usually talks about what he's been reading, posts self-portraits and vindicates musicians like Art Garfunkel. Another thing he does a lot is writing tweets of exactly 140 characters, and then stresses that.
There are people who feel the need to tell you what they're doing and where at all times. Diplo is one of those. And he often does it using an Instagram picture. Like your little sister, so to speak. But, like everyone else, he has a gossipy side, and if you want to know everything about a big star, about the girls he hooks up with, and how hard he parties, follow his account. You can even forgive him for retweeting every single tweet from people saying how great he is.
6. Dizzee Rascal
A few weeks ago, Dizzee wished the British people a good first day at school. And that's where his good manners on Twitter end. Never mind that the boy in da corner carried the Olympic torch, and that he's a global star now. His recurring exchanges of insults with other users, or his Gucci Mane imitations show he's still the rude genius who grew up in Bow (East London). An example: in order to say thank you for all the birthday wishes, he posted a pic of his face next to a giant booty.
7. DJs Complaining
DJs are carrying their record bags (well, if they still play vinyl records, of course) all over the world, earning loads of money, and they moan a lot. So this account starting is only logical. It basically retweets messages from DJs moaning about how bad airports and room service are, and how stressful it is to wear new trainers in a club. The only account this account follows is Scuba's, which sparked the rumour (more like a joke than anything else) that Paul Rose is behind the account (it's not for nothing he's the biggest moaner of them all; see below). He denies categorically.
8. DJ Spooky
If you're not up for a scroll down to Space Ghetto, don't follow this account. The grime DJ and producer (not to be confused with New York's intellectual DJ Spooky) is anything but subtle, both musically and on the internet. Merciless memes, vaginal herpes, breasts, bad joke images and acidic comments are all over his account's image section, though he always makes room to show off his grime white label collection. He's seen his account being shut down more than once already.
9. Dylan Ettinger
He's barely 20 years old, but he's already an adorable grumpy young man using his Twitter account to show his love for primitive synth-pop, talk about his partying, and, most of all, diss everything he doesn't like; for example Cold Cave's latest album, Nebraska police, European basketball, and Bruce Springsteen's “Nebraska” (referencing the police thing). Things he does like: the Dune saga and the Tour de France. In summer it's mandatory to follow him and Antonio Alix.
10. 50 Cent
Eight million followers know that 50Cent's account is more about business than Josef Ajram's or Rafa Mora's, but every now and then he gives us a personal tweet, like the ones threatening Apple he's going to switch to Samsung if they don't clear up the mess that is iPhone 5. With the power he's got, the Apple CEOs (and any other company he's not satisfied with) can start trembling.
11. Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean is all deep sophistication and mystery, and his Twitter account reflects that. His feed is a wealth of brief and abstract reflections, with the odd mundane observation. In spite of the laconic tone and apparent arbitrariness, it helps complete the image of one of the most seductive figures in recent music. His account reflects his love of cars, his sensitive soul and the ins and outs of his rise to fame.
12. Funk Butcher
This UK funky DJ and producer can be heard every Wednesday on Rinse FM, and read 24/7 on Twitter. A self-confessed Twittaholic, easily amused (hence the countless 'hahaha's) and a consumer of British trash TV, the best thing about the Butcher is that he always wants to know what his followers think, feeding on their feedback and greasy chicken wings, like any self-respecting UK funky DJ.
13. Geoff Barrow
If you want to know about Portishead, Geoff Barrow is not the one to follow. But if you like a grumpy old man moaning about everything and unafraid to put up a virtual fight, you should. For example, in the past couple of days he's slagged off Mumford & Sons and the new American trip-hop, and he's been retweeting messages from people dissing the mayor of Bristol and Nestlé.
14. George Michael
A absolutely naïve account: George Michael takes every chance he gets to recommend his next gig or single, but then suddenly he wishes you a good morning, encouraging you to go out and look at the blue sky, or he tells you where he is, or about him being nervous about singing in an opera house without having his voice trained for it. And if Duran Duran are playing on the radio, he'll tell you quickly before the song ends.
You can see Grimes' account is managed by Claire Boucher herself. You can read some philosophical reflection one moment, and comments about how bad vodka-with-a-taste is the next, or about the love she feels for Pikachu, or about the noisy neighbours having sex in the hotel room next to hers. Of course, there's a bit of promotion, both for herself and for others, but it's always interesting, with info from kindred spirits or retweets from stars like Rihanna.
The tweets from the Das Racist rapper are as sharp as his lyrics. Between the bold humour and the political references (lately mainly about Mitt Romney), his feed oscillates between puzzling references and hilarious observations. Some of his favourite subjects are the vindication of his Indian roots and stories about his mum.
17. Hudson Mohawke
The flaming new producer of Kanye West is more enthusiastic about unveiling first world excesses or celebrating silly humour than communicating his latest advances as an artist, which is why his account is interesting. If you're looking for strong emotions, we recommend you follow his mate and promoter Joe Shabadu as well. Their tweet exchanges in Scottish slang are worthy of putting a bag of popcorn in the microwave.
18. Kanye West
Kanye West is an erratic tweeter. He can go days without posting anything, and then suddenly wreak havoc. The last one was on 2nd September, when he posted a series of tweets about the question whether the use of the word 'bitch' was legit in rap. Some people weren't amused at all, but he did have some interesting things to say, comparing it to the use of the word 'nigga', and stating that Stevie Wonder has never needed to use the word to make himself understood.
Whether you like his music or not, whether you're interested in Hotflush releases or not, you're not going to read anything about them on Scuba's account. Paul Rose is, literally, the missing man in TV shows like Match of the Day or any talkshow for that matter. His comments about the Premier League and his beloved Arsenal, or his statements about international politics, generate waves of venom, which he also retweets. It is even said that he's the man behind DJs Complaining…
The Sound Pellegrino boss had us all laughing about his Ramadan joke. While you're waiting for the next joke, you can practice your French, find out about the new things going on with his label and read what he has to say about the state of modern music. The joke will come, no worries, just check the T-shirt he's wearing on his profile pic.
21. That’s a Par
But, what's “par”? Par is to grime what the troll is to the internet. Basically, par is a piss-take. By destiny, or by another person. So you can imagine what this account is about. Badness masterly wrapped in British irony, and a clear objective: to give unwanted advice to aspiring DJs and/or electronica producers, and other wannabe frauds. That’s A Par is persistently reading between the lines.
Tiga's account is one of the most active ones in the Twitter universe, and apart from messages about festivals and complaints (he's a DjsComplaining regular), there are always some interesting observations about football (he never misses a Barça game, though it's been a while since he commented on them in real time, because he was losing followers), literature, religion, food and all the things that make life pleasant. He also talks a lot about other people's music (last Monday he expressed his love for The xx), and not so much about his own stuff, which suits him.
23. Tyler, The Creator
He defined himself as a walking paradox and his tweets confirm this. He can say Odd Future are shit one minute and congratulate himself on another great production the next. The sinister humour and scatological references are a constant, as are jokes about other rappers and his crew mates. His account also serves as a tour diary and as a wailing wall when he's wishing he was at the skate-park with his buddies.
24. Whoisdubstep / Dubstepisland
A parody by a foreign dubstep fan who wants to become a DJ, the who is dubstep account is a succession of surreal digressions fed by the imagery of British bass music. Burial, James Blake and Skrillex are often the subject of his rhetorical questions, asking them about all kinds of things, from production methods to how to start a club. The now defunct (but still readable) Dubstep Island account was in the same vein, commenting on an imaginary “Survivor” show starring electronic music stars.
Weed, expensive clothes, grime, Max B, old school hardcore, his dog, Abbey Road and, lately, tattoos. Zomby's Twitter account is a faithful reflection of his hobbies. And of his fears; modern dubstep, mediocre producers, bad taste in fashion and sheep-like behaviour in general. All that, while laughing at those who criticise him and threatening to leave Twitter overnight. Hilarious and boring, sensitive and disrespectful, deep and frivolous. Black and white. Allergic to grey. If there's one electronic producer you should follow, this is him. Ah, and sometimes he gives away unreleased tracks.