It’s time for the annual Fedivision contest (you know, like Eurovision, but for the Fediverse) so here’s a special super edition of the weekly OPM writeup, covering 16 artists. That’s 3x what I usually cover, and it’s still less than a quarter of the total entries (I limited my coverage to mutuals on Mastodon). And don’t worry: even if you DGAF about any of this Fedivision business, you still get intros to a bunch of new music that you can listen to in one convenient location: (if that URL dies by the time you’re reading this, you should be able to find these tracks via the “more from this artist” links listed at the end of each blurb). For your convenience, I’ve included the voting codes for each entry, which can also be used to find them on the Fedivision site/app. Enjoy the music, and best of luck to all the competitors!

Moule – “Webpunks” Code: MOUL

I covered a different Moule song just last week, and while this one incorporates a lot of the same restless energy and all–over-the-place approach to jamming ideas in, I have to admit, this track jells with my own personal taste a bit better with a dark, heavy cyberpunk techno vibe that reminds me a bit of early EBM/industrial without being remotely retro sounding. Throw in some topical samples about the enshittification of the internet and buddy, you got a stew going! Or a banger of a track, to be more precise.

More from this artist:

Postwar Vulgar – “Snork (We’re OK)” Code: SNOR

This puts me pleasantly in mind of the glory days of Weird Indie Rock, when bands like the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and some of the Elephant 6 acts were putting out distinctive and idiosyncratic oddball pop/rock with little concern for its marketability or widespread appeal. This pairs a quietly relentless (drum machine?) beat with some vaguely surf-meets-folk guitar lines and a layered (or heavily chorused) vocal and some lyrics about being okay. This won’t appeal to everyone but for my money, it’s better than okay by a fair margin.

More from this artist:

UXdB – “In the Wind” Code: ODTH

In the artist’s own words, this is “electro gaze” and sure, that seems reasonable. A weird, almost reversed sounding beat (in 6/8 time!) underpins a slow burn synth workout big on dramatic sounding timbres and vibe with a minimal expenditure of notes. Add some wordless, ethereal vocal lines swimming over, around and thru the mix and all of the sudden this becomes quite an enchanting little piece of music. Then we get a little breakdown and a nice reprise of the main elements before it’s all over and you’re left reaching for that “more from this artist” link at the bottom…

More from this artist:

Randy Resnick – “Fediverse Fans Forever” Code FVIA

Another artist I’ve covered before! Here Randy shows off his roots with a bluesy rocker about, of all things, how much better the Fediverse is than all other social media. I agree with the sentiment, but even if you don’t there’s no denying the musicianship behind this track (and all of his work). Some really nice guitar work is the main appeal here, along with the Mastodon love, of course. Definitely one for anyone who thinks pop music went awry when everyone traded their guitars for synthesizers. 

More from this artist:

MTP – “She’s All of Me” Code: INTK

Another artist I’ve previously covered, and in this case it’s even a song on the album I covered. That being the case, you’ll have to forgive me for repeating myself to some degree (what can I say, I nailed it the first time). This is a melancholy pop/rock song about that Special One we all have (or hope to, at the least), delivered in an idiom that’s deeply indebted to the vibes of ‘90s grunge despite not sounding all that grungy. There’s some influence from later and earlier rock as well, but I’d definitely point this one out for anyone who thinks music never got any better after ‘95 or so.

More from this artist:

The1Goit – “Threaded Invasion” Code: TBSC

Some muscular electro rock with a chiptune edge, in service of an anti-Meta/Threads message? Well, don’t mind if I do! I do love when I can’t tell if I am listening to a heavily processed guitar or something entirely electronic and the lead on this is a perfect example – I almost want to call it a chiptune guitar line. Underneath that is a powerful rock and roll beat (presumably programmed but it doesn’t necessarily sound like it) and a few supporting elements. In total it sounds like a soundtrack to a videogame or anime boss battle, and I am always down to battle the bosses.

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Fennifith Media Transmitter – “Mauver than a Joopleberry” Code: BKTH

This one opens with some delightful synth arpeggios and bass tones before breaking into an absolutely manic drum and bass track. Front and center is a slamming breakbeat that will give you whiplash, decorated with some heavy bass drops. Then it all breaks down into a surprisingly pretty middle section before winding itself back up to maximum intensity (but with added pretty synth lines over the top!) for its exit. Massive track.

More from this artist:

daYs ending in Y – “aAa freestyle” Code: CANA

This is a weird little tune! Over a distorted, somewhat tinny Casio-sounding beat, we get a largely unintelligible (at least on initial listens; 3 listens in and I can sort of start to understand a few words here and there, as long as I am focused) freestyle rap. The whole thing is over in just a touch over 2 minutes, so those repeat listens won’t take a big bite out of your day, in any case, and reveal a few tiny interesting flourishes in the underlying beat as a bonus. If you like your rap on the weird and experimental side, this one is for you.

More from this artist:

Rob of Walthamstow – “The Optically Pumped Rubidium Maser” Code: TPSB

A languorous and laconic guitar-forward instrumental track that unspools like smoke out of your speakers (or headphones). Goes nowhere fast, but the ride is pleasant enough and there’s some nice guitar tone to be heard. Could work well as background music for a pensive video or just something to put on your mix of laidback instrumental music to zone out to. 

More from this artist:

Dgar – “All Zombies Go To Heaven” Code: DIZZ

A sung-spoken vocal and some fuzzy guitar are the main elements here, backed up by a straightforward rock beat and some skeletal production. Lyrically, it’s a meditation on the existence and ultimate spiritual destination of zombies, which is a topic I can always get behind. Short, sweet and to the point, it’s over almost as soon as it’s begun. Puts me in mind of something like the Fall or similar (as if there is anything similar) post punk smart alecks.

More from this artist:

Socool – “Without You” Code: EMPW

A shuffling, laidback beat, a subterranean bassline and some whisper-sung vocals about fear of getting attached to something you might lose – sounds like a recipe for some downtempo magic. And it is, kind of – but there’s something a little too intense, and maybe just a hint too weird, for this to slot neatly into that genre. That’s for the good, tho – as much as I love me some downtempo, it is a genre that can tend to slide into generic territory. This is anything but – love it or hate it, there’s something very distinctive about it. 

More from this artist:

Shakti – “Fire Me Straight Into a Falling Star” Code: BELT

With its selection of iconic synth tones, robot-voiced lyrics, uncomplicated production and old-school electro breakbeat underpinning, this is some solid, nostalgic electronica. You could call it synthwave adjacent (the creator called it retrowave) but honestly, regardless of what you call it, it’s just a pleasant little beep-boop bop that’s here and gone before you even know what hit you.

More from this artist:

Key 13 – “Misaligned Aardvarks” Code: NOTH

Another artist that’s been covered before! Gotta say, this is a bit of a departure from the material previously covered. That was a slightly unusual take on early IDM, while this is straight up techno pop. Opening on some pleasant arpeggios and a bit of sound designed ambience and a sample talking about nature, it isn’t long before it takes a sharp turn into rock beats, guitars and waves of muscular synth to make a very new-school retro pop tune – an artifact from an alternate ‘80s that never happened where synth pop took over the throne of butt rock and songs like this (albeit perhaps with slightly less silly lyrics) took over the charts. 

More from this artist:

Xym – “zwikąt” Code: OBTG

Some atmospheric synth work and a bit of made-up language gibberish provide a minimal accompaniment for a simple recurring synth motif, but those few elements punch well above their weight here. Just as the creator acknowledges no translation of the lyrics is possible, it’s similarly impossible (or at least very difficult) to classify this. It’s ambient of a sort, but not like anything that gets called that… it wouldn’t feel out of place filling the space between more song-oriented material on any number of art rock or prog records… maybe we’ll just call it experimental and leave it at that. Intriguing, unusual and distinctive, in any case. 

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Leigh Harrison – “Tap Your Toes” Code: CABA

You love to see this kind of variety! Another track that all but defies easy categorization. It’s a bit jazzy, and has something of a cabaret vibe and it’s kind of pop, but it’s weird enough not to slot neatly into any of those boxes. The main ingredients are upright bass, real (or very realistic) drums, and a husky female vocal but there are some nice, subtle production flourishes that add a lot of depth and personality to that core. To me it feels like it came from a surreal, technicolor musical from the love child of David Lynch and Baz Luhrmann. I mean, I’d watch that movie, and probably so would you, so come give this a listen. 

More from this artist:

Dace Merryweather – “The Roses Outside Grow Suspiciously Red” Code: MIRR

And let’s wrap with yet another artist I’ve covered before, tho in the days before I did it on this blog. Dace’s work is classic twee psychedelic pop, recalling anything and everything from the Kinks to Robyn Hitchcock. This song is apparently inspired by giallo and Columbo reruns, which is a potent combo! The title rings true to the giallo vibe (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a giallo title…) but the music is a little too upbeat to feel like a giallo. Instead, it feels very much like a solid heir to the tradition of those aforementioned artists, with its clever lyricism, storytelling and solid musicianship, and isn’t that even more important?

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