Since its launch nearly seven years ago, tumblr has rapidly picked up speed as the go-to alt social medium. Recently, more and more musicians have started taking to the multi-media blogging platform, adding to the site's appeal and allowing fans and followers newly intimate and personal interface with artists that sites like Facebook and Twitter are incapable of providing. We've assembled a list of 11 need-to-follow musicians on tumblr, whose use of the website ranges from highly personal to purely promotion and everywhere in between.
Featuring an "Adult Cat Finder" add-on and an About Me that describes herself as a "surrealist yuppie, an urban faery" and an herbivore, the blog of Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) reads more like it belongs to a close friend than Canada's witch-pop destroyer angel. Content ranges from PhotoBooth selfies, to feminist critiques of the industry, to updates on her music, to the standard reblogged cute animal gif. Boucher's super accessible (but far from mundane) internet presence is a rarity amongst artists of her magnitude, placing her at the top of our list of musicians to add to your dash.
2. Sufjan Stevens
Indie folk messiah Sufjan Stevens started low-key blogging in September 2012, slipping inconspicuously into the ranks like a unicorn in sheep's clothing to promote his third Christmas album, Silver & Gold
. The blog, formerly titled "thesufjanstevensmodel5000," is signature Stevens eccentricity. His posts mingle sporadic artist shout-outs (such as to former band member St. Vincent) with inexplicable lessons on grammar, landscape photography, and excerpts from the writing of Flannery O'Connor. Strangely enough, tumblr's been slow to register his arrival. We want to spread the word — go forth and follow.
3. Frank Ocean
In 2012, when artist and Odd Future legionnaire Frank Ocean published an open letter on his tumblr describing a relationship he'd had with a man, a cascade dialogue surrounding homosexuality in hip-hop ensued, with big names like Beyonce and Jay Z stepping forward to give their support. Ocean's maintained his tumblr presence since then, providing plenty of shirtless photos, life updates, and moody, cryptic text posts ("what crosses my mind gets hit by a car") to hold followers over until new music materializes.
4. Rostam Batmanglij (of Vampire Weekend)
Most people will know Rostam Batmanglij as a member and producer of Vampire Weekend, but the songwriter and Columbia graduate's artistic endeavors reach well beyond just the four-piece. Through genre-straddling projects such as Discovery and the self-titled ROSTAM, Batmanglij has collaborated with a number of artists, including Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles, Dirty Projectors' Angel Deradoorian, Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori, and Jenny Lewis. His blog's sporadically updated, but has always served as a great first-account source for his new solo tracks, as well as news on Vampire Weekend and his various collaborations.
5. Lower Dens
Though Lower Dens started out as something of a little sister to fellow Baltimore band Beach House, they've steadily come into their own, cultivating a sound and an image that's a little less dreamy and a little more crass (one track off their premier album is titled "A Dog's Dick.") Their blog, operated by frontwoman Jana Hunter, is nothing to miss either, combining glitch gifs of Toronto mayor/disaster Rob Ford with serious, uncensored critique. One post made in the wake of Macklemore's Grammy sweep writes: "... it'd be a whole lot cooler if meritorious people of color and the LGBTQ community got recognition for their immeasurable cultural contributions." The voice of the people.
6. Major Lazer
Producer powerhouse Diplo's collaborative project Major Lazer is constantly shuffling members, morphing, spanning multiple genres but never failing to spawn explosive, enduring hits (2012's "Express Yourself" featuring Nicky da B comes to mind). The project's tumblr turns Major Lazer's signature explosiveness visual, glutted with absurd graphics, pictures of asses, video of live shows, and a lot of gifs of the group's name.
Fresh off the debut of her third album, The Future's Void
, now is probably your last chance to claim indie cred amongst your friends by following singer-songwriter EMA's tumblr before more widespread recognition hauls in the masses and renders her inscrutable. The South Dakota native (full name Erika M. Anderson) does a little bit of promotion, but her tumblr is largely a museum to her personal aesthetic — meaning a lot of outlander, grunge photography to match her music's sonic landscape.
Brooklyn's rising star — indie quintet Lucius — has been accumulating hype in recent days, and deservedly so. The crisp, cloned aesthetics of Berklee-trained frontwomen, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laesig, round off the band's uncanny charisma with visuals that perfectly match a forceful and iconic sound. Lucius' charisma keeps coming blog-side, where Jess and Holly take questions from fans, feature art that's piqued their interest, and post photos and video from their tour.
9. Little Dragon
Sweden's emissary to electronic music, Little Dragon, has taken to tumblr to promote their latest LP, Nabuma Rubberband
, and it suits them well. Original comics about the band (drawn by Brian Butler) get posted daily; the band answers followers' questions; selfies and song lyrics and homages to Janet Jackson (and other influences) abound.
10. Andrea Estella (of Twin Sister)
This week, Brooklyn-based Mr. Twin Sister returned to the world after an almost year-long radio silence, complete with a name change, a new song (aptly titled "Out of the Dark"), and a list of dates for summer performances with The Antlers. Although the band's Twitter is still in operation, you can also keep up with vocalist/lyricist Andrea Estella's personal tumblr for more personal glimpses into the tour that are sure to come. In the meantime, Twin Sister's music videos and Estella's artwork she's made in the interim are all available for your viewing pleasure.
11. Mykki Blanco
Mykki Blanco is one of the most notable, exciting artists at the helm of what some have termed "queer hip-hop" and its emergence from the drag ballroom into the mainstream. Outspoken about her commitment to challenging ideas of gender, Mykki's is an audio-visual project, alternating androgyny with masculinity, combining a personal process of identity with the theatricality of hip-hop performance and stage identity. Mykki's tumblr is an extension of that performance, filled with photos of Mykki (sometimes Michael) in and out of drag; it's also a place where she debuts new music to followers.