Tim Oxton, the figure behind local lo-fi rock project Wakes, is a man of many artistic endeavors, yet all of them complement his introspective persona. Oxton’s songs match the mystique of his black-and-white films and the curious perceptions of his photography — he’s a master of using the negative space around him, building melodies that resonate instead of sink immediately.

But in the same vein, his songwriting isn’t always built for convenience. The bedroom pop recording style cloaks his lyrics in reverb, but all over an oft-minimal rhythmic component, giving the listener good reason to uncover its meanings and mysteries. Wakes’ debut LP, “Feral Youth,” is a collection of musings emanating straight from one cranium, giving a raw and cohesive point of view throughout the work in full. The album will be released both digitally and on 12″ vinyl on June 2, in the US as an independent release and in the UK via Shape Records. You can pre-order the vinyl now on his bandcamp.

Today, Oxton lends us his musical interests to craft our mid-week playlist. His theme: good prom songs. “A lotta people have told me that my music seems like a soundtrack for someone getting stood up at prom, going back and dancing in their room, which I’d like to think is a good thing?” No, his jams likely don’t match up with Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” but there definitely is a bittersweet level of defeat in his tone. “In high school I never went to prom because I was playing a show the night of prom. Plus I didnt have a date, which helped. So here are some songs that I’d play at my prom, if I’d had a prom to get stood up at.”


1. The Corlettes – “How Do You Feel”
“Underrated classic. This song conjures up images of malted shakes and jukeboxes of a bygone era. I want to dance with someone to this song at some point in my life. I’d die happy.”

2. Littlefoot – “Fever Dream”
“I feel like if someone broke up with me to this song I’d feel OK about it. I found this gem through a friend’s recommendation and I don’t think there’s been a day since that I haven’t listened to it. By far my favorite part of this song is the vocals – they’re perfectly nostalgic without sounding derivative – and they emote such a crazy feeling of longing. Its like a roller coaster ride of a failed relationship condensed into a 2:50 pop song.”


3. Sam Cooke – “Having a Party”
“‘Having A Party’ is another song that delivers a giant wave of nostalgia. His live version I like a bajillion times better than his recorded version for a few reasons: For starters, his live vocals are strained as all hell, as if you took recorded Sam Cooke and scuffed it up with some sand paper. You FEEL the strain in his voice – you can practically smell the cigarette smoke in the club. He also messes up the lyrics constantly, which, for some reason I like. He just kinda makes it up as he goes along and you’re there for the ride.”

4. Surf Curse – “Ponyboy”
“I fucking love this entire album. If I ever have a shit day, I put this song on. It’s initially upbeat but the more you listen, the more you realize this song’s dark as hell, which is perfect for those days you want to revel in your bad day but also stop moping about it. The lyrics, ‘you promised me everything was gonna be alright’ for some reason just hit me hard. It’s a song adventures were made for.”

5. Televisions – “Summer”
“The band is the solo project of the singer from Surf Curse. I’ve never seen ’16 Candles,’ ‘Heathers,’ ‘Say Anything,’ or ‘The Breakfast Club’ when it wasn’t edited for TV, but if I had to summarize all of those movies I haven’t seen into a song, it’d be “Summer.” I wanna sit on the grass on a hot summer night next to a girl I like and listen to this song.”

6. Observer Drift – “Marina”

7. La Luz – “Call Me In The Day”
“I read ‘Devil in a Blue Dress’ while commuting to work while listening to this song on repeat. I can’t listen to this song without seeing late 1940s LA – which I’m sure is unique to me – but I feel like it captures that neo-noir vibe I love and puts into song form. I want to get into a slow motion bar fight at a 1950s speak easy while this song plays in the background.”

8. Crocodiles – “I Wanna Kill”
“This is the song that really started Wakes. I had a solo project that was essentially acoustic because I didn’t know how to record or play drums so I just kept everything quiet. This song taught me that drum machines can be badass. So I started writing songs with drums and electric guitars, which later became Wakes. So thanks Crocs.”