(Make Me A) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 103: Oceans


Oceans are Thomas Lee (guitar, vocals), Michael Fox (lead guitar), Sam Black (rhythm guitar), Tom Mcmullin (bass), and Mitch Hicks (drums), a five piece shoegaze band based in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. With inspirations varying from Joy Division and Slowdive to Boards of Canada and Tycho, the heart of Oceans’ sound is a dedication to experimentation and timbre, creating vast sonic landscapes inspired by ambient, new wave and 90’s shoegaze. Across Oceans’ breakthrough EP’s Come So Far, Live at Dangertone Studios and collaborative effort with UK’s self-titled Wilt, they’ve landed features from Beat Magazine, Backseat Mafia and Trouble Juice, and shows alongside the likes of Grazer and Allysha Joy. As stalwarts in the local scene with their sights firmly set on an international stage, Oceans return to deliver a hard-hitting and emotive ten track LP Dreamers in Dark Cities via Portland label Shelflife Records. Recorded and produced with legendary Australian producer Lindsay Gravina (Rowland S. Howard, Magic Dirt), the LP was written during the 2020 lockdown period, exploring the themes of living in isolation in a once vibrant city that now stands silent as one of the longest locked down cities in the world. The album, which combines lush synth pads with haunting melodies of the baritone guitar setting a moody soundscape for the emotive vocal harmonies, will be out on March 24th.

What They Say: “Writing Soft was much more emotional, I was trying to encapsulate the feelings of hopelessness and loss I was experiencing during the 2020 lockdown period. The lyrics are emotional and close to my heart and represent the darker side of the album not shown in Pure.”

Pure was written a long time ago. Oceans was asked to play at a house party and we didn’t have any uptempo songs! So I quickly wrote a fun bassline and fast drumbeat and this sound slowly became the sound of the Oceans LP”

Their Mixtape:

John Frusciante – Outside Space

John Frusciante was one of my first ventures into what i would call ‘abstract’ music. He abandons typical song structures and chord shapes and effortlessly flows through melodies. His songwriting craft and pure talent shines through due to the low fi format of his early recordings as there is no separation between his guitar and voice and the listener.

CB Radio – You’ve done it again

I needed to include a fellow Australian on this list! This song has stayed with me long after its release. It’s smooth synths and catchy guitar riffs are infectious and it deserves more recognition! This is an amazing project, he recorded 10 albums (230+ demos) across a 5 year period from 2017 – 2022.

Flyying Colours – Reaction Time

This is another new release Australian shoegaze track that I love. It has a more electronic uptempo electronic vibe that I’ve been really getting into lately.

Polar Lows – Yesterday is Today

I met Megumie (alcala, leader of the Philipino shoegaze band, n.d.r.) at an Oceans show late 2022 and discovered a kindred spirit in the Australian Shoegaze community. Their release is one of my favourite new shoegaze tracks and is a great reminder that our genre is still going strong!


M83 – Unrecorded

Another massively influential track for my development as an artist, this song is so effective at expressing raw emotion in a 4 minute instrumental track. The roaring guitars and uplifting synth pads start the song at what would be the emotional climax of any other song, but manages to maintain its grip on you as the synth arpeggios begin and the drums lift the intensity even further. Just as the song approaches breaking point the drums drop out and you’re left with the bit crushed cry of a vocoded voice, a moment of reprieve after the emotional whirlwind of the first half of the track.

Youth Lagoon – 17

I first heard this song whilst acclimatizing in my hostel in Cusco before travelling the Inca Trail. I immediately became obsessed and it’s a song that still resonates with me to this day. The frail, wavering vocals read like a diary entry, so incredibly personal yet i also felt a close connection to it. I was also going through a period of self reflection and personal discovery and this song is the perfect example of how music can make you feel like you’re not alone. I love the lo-fi aesthetic on this whole record and to my delight, found the recording diary of the recording engineer, which I read like a bible.

Dreamers in Dark Cities will be out March 24th on Shelflife Records. Look HERE for more information on Oceans.



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