Oh Mercy (band)

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Oh Mercy
Origin Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Genres Indie rock
Years active 2007 (2007)–present
Website ohmercy.com.au
  • Alexander Gow
  • Eliza Lam
  • Rohan Sforcina
  • Simon Okely
Past members
  • Thomas Savage
  • Peter McDonald
  • Annabel Griggs
  • Cliff Bowden

Oh Mercy are an indie rock band, formed by Alexander Gow on lead vocals and piano, which expanded to a quartet in 2008. By 2015 they had released four studio albums, Privileged Woes (24 August 2009), Great Barrier Grief (2011) – which peaked at No. 13 on the ARIA Albums Chart, Deep Heat (2012, No. 21) and When We Talk About Love (2015, No. 28). At the ARIA Music Awards of 2015 they won Best Adult Contemporary Album for When We Talk About Love.


Oh Mercy are an indie rock band,[1] formed as a duo in Melbourne in 2006 by former De La Salle College students Alexander Gow on lead vocals and guitar, and Thomas Savage on lead vocals, piano and guitar.[2][3] The band name is from Bob Dylan's September 1989 album of the same name.[4] Their music has received high rotation on Australian national radio station, Triple J, since April 2007.[2][5] Oh Mercy expanded to a quartet by 2008 with Eliza Lam on bass guitar and Peter McDonald on drums.[6][7]

The quartet issued a six-track extended play, In the Nude for Love, in May 2009 which Electric Skeleton's reviewer noticed the group "make the kind of dreamy pop music that even your Grandmother would probably appreciate (although they drop the f-bomb in 'Seems Like a Good Idea', so unless you have a really cool granny, perhaps not). It is very easy to see why they’ve been compared to the likes of The Go-Betweens and Augie March."[8] The reviewer listed the EP as one of the best of that year, "Aside from the brilliant title it has some great pop songs and two instrumentals."[8] Two tracks, "Lay Everything on Me" and "Seemed Like a Good Idea", were issued as singles and were used to promote the group on Triple J and Triple R.[9]

The four-piece released their debut album, Privileged Woes, on 24 August 2009 on the Casadeldisco label and distributed by Shock with Myles Wootton (of the Panics) producing.[10][7] Gow and Savage co-wrote all the tracks. Gow explained the album's content and title, "I realised the problems we had were the problems of privilege. We started poking fun at ourselves. It set the theme for the record. We were 19 and middle class and whingeing about emotions and angst coming out of being that age."[10] Privileged Woes peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA Hitseekers Albums chart a week after its appearance.[11]

In 2009 Rohan Sforcina joined on drums, after the album had been recorded with McDonald.[4] In 2010 Savage left the group and later reflected on his songwriting partnership with Gow, "We'd show each other what we'd done that week and it would be like a friendly competition. It was great for early development."[10] He had left after touring with the group for 18 months to return to Australia and pursued a solo singer-songwriter career.[4] Gow remembered "Tom had flagged with everybody that he wanted to move on at some stage. It wasn't a big surprise for us. He was really not interested in the touring lifestyle."[4] Simon Okely (ex-The Preytells) joined on guitar.

Their first three albums were each a featured album on Triple J.[12]

Achievements and awards[edit]

AMP Award[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2009 "Privileged Woes" Redbull Outstanding Potential Award Won

The Australian Music Prize (The AMP) is an annual award of $30,000 given to an Australian band or solo artist in recognition of the merit of an album released during the year of award. The award made by Australian Music Prize Ltd, a sole-purpose entity sponsored by a variety of music industry figures and record companies. The AMP was established in 2005. Unlike the more mainstream ARIA music awards, The Amp aims to encourage Australian music of excellence - the prize's stated aim is to "financially reward and increase exposure for an Australian artist (or group of artists) who have produced and commercially released what specially appointed judges vote is the best contemporary music album in any one calendar year". In this sense, The AMP is broadly comparable to the UK's Mercury Music Prize.

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards are an annual series of ceremonies celebrating the local industry, presented by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), since 1987. Oh Mercy have won one trophy from five final nominations.[13]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2011 Great Barrier Grief Breakthrough Artist – Album Nominated
Great Barrier GriefKen Done Best Cover Art Nominated
2012 Deep Heat Best Rock Album Nominated
Deep Heat – Rennie Ellis Best Cover Art Nominated
2015 When We Talk About Love Best Adult Contemporary Album Won

EG Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2012 Oh Mercy Best Group Nominated
Oh Mercy Outstanding Achievement Won

In 2012, the band was nominated in the 2012 EG Music Awards, run by The Age newspaper sold in Victoria, Australia, alongside Something For Kate, The Temper Trap and The Dirty Three, among others. Oh Mercy won the 2012 EG Award for Outstanding Achievement. As of 2012, the EG Music Awards is in its seventh year, the EG Awards and is the largest reader-voted music awards in Australia.[14]

Band members[edit]

  • Alexander Gow – lead vocals, guitar, piano (2006–present)
  • Thom Savage – lead vocals, piano, guitar (2006–10)
  • Peter McDonald – drums (2008–09)
  • Eliza Lam – bass guitar (2008–present)
  • Rohan Sforcina – drums (2009–present)
  • Simon Okely – lead guitar
  • Annabel Griggs (touring keys)
  • Cliff Bowden (touring guitar)


Studio albums[edit]

  • Privileged Woes (24 August 2009) - Casadeldisco/Shock[15]
  • Great Barrier Grief (2011) - Casadeldisco/EMI[16][17][18] AUS: No. 13[19]
  • Deep Heat (2012) - Casadeldisco/EMI AUS: No. 21[19]
  • When We Talk About Love (2015) - EMI AUS: No. 28[19]

Extended plays[edit]

  • Expats & Eczema (2007)
  • In the Nude for Love (May 2009) - Casadeldisco[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kuch, Jesse (16 June 2011), "HYPE Life, love and truth", The Cairns Post 
  2. ^ a b "Oh Mercy Biography, Links, J Play Ranking & song listing". jplay.com.au. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "Catch them in the Nude", MX (Australia), 12 June 2009 
  4. ^ a b c d Forster, Robert (October 2012). "Slurring and Purring". The Monthly. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "Big-name help pays off for band", Fremantle Cockburn Gazette, 16 June 2011 
  6. ^ "No woes as Oh Mercy hit road", The Chronicle (Toowoomba), 1 October 2009 
  7. ^ a b Oh Mercy (2000), Privileged Woes, Shock, retrieved 16 December 2015 
  8. ^ a b Lauren. "Oh Mercy". Electric Skeleton. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  9. ^ Wallen, Doug (12 October 2009). "Oh Mercy: From Go to Woes". Mess+Noise. Junkee Media. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Murfett, Simon (25 March 2011). "Oh Mercy have felt the effects of split personalities". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "The ARIA Report" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 31 August 2009. p. 22. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Good grief, Mercy", The Canberra Times, 17 March 2011 
  13. ^ ARIA Music Awards for Oh Mercy:
  14. ^ "The Age 2012 EG Music Awards". The Age. 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Oh Mercy", The Canberra Times, 17 September 2009 
  16. ^ Bastow, Clem (22 May 2011), "Great Barrier Grief review", Sunday Age 
  17. ^ Humphries, Glen (31 March 2011), "Great Barrier Grief review", Illawarra Mercury 
  18. ^ Rodway, Anna (6 March 2011), "Great Barrier Grief review", Sunday Herald Sun 
  19. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Oh Mercy". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  20. ^ Hammond, Graeme (24 May 2009), "In the Nude For Love review", Sunday Herald Sun 

External links[edit]