14 October 2012

[Artist Picks] What Music is T0W3RS Listening To?

posted by: Lydia Artist Picks | Artists' Choices and Voices
Derek Torres of T0W3RS

Welcome to the 7th On The iPod feature. This is one of my personal favorite features on Sunset. To refresh your memories, let’s recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why? This week we asked Derek Torres of T0W3RS, a band out of North Carolina that Sunset is predicting to be a game changer. There’s a high chance you haven’t heard their music yet, because frankly they’re quite new and haven’t really hit it big in the marketing/PR game yet, but soon enough you will realize what you’re missing. Hopefully that can happen today when you are introduced to the incredible taste of Derek Torres.

A sample song by T0W3RS: “Scout/”

Introductory words from Derek:

It is a fact that when I was 11 years old I really liked Limp Bizkit. Now, it goes without saying, I think they are one of the most god-awful things to come out of the early Millennium, but there was a time in my life when “Break Stuff” got the repeat treatment. If I could now go back to visit my 11-year-old self, I would slap him around, hand him an Iggy Pop record and say, “This is real! You dumb little shit!” I realize tastes always change, and mine has indeed in 14 years. What would my 39-year-old, time-traveling counterpart say to me now? “You really think you’re cool listening to Grimes, you dumb bastard!?” These songs I have chosen, with a few exceptions, are songs I truly love. These are the songs that, after 14 years together, I can still wake up next to and whisper, “Darling, We will be together forever.” 

Hit the jump to read about and hear the entire playlist from Derek Torres of T0W3RS.


1. The Who – Magic Bus

‘Magic Bus’ is one these old lovers. The call & response, the sharp acoustic guitars, and the block-driven rhythm section to this day make me want to get up and thrash my body around. This song wants to implode on itself and I can’t get enough of it. I want the tension to go another 10 minutes, but this 3 minute pop masterpiece never overstays its welcome. That is what I want in a song that I might have to spend the rest of my life with.

2. Pink Floyd – Shine on you Crazy Diamond Parts I-V

While The Who learned to control chaos, Pink Floyd mastered restraint. The intro build-up of Wright’s keyboards and Gilmour’s well placed blue’s licks lead into one of the most triumphant drum & bass introductions of all time. It feels like a kettle finally ready to boil over. The synths descend and the song floats along with an organ and a perfect guitar lead. The song remains patient, and when the band finally finds the right words to say about their old friend (Syd Barrett), the words take the song to transcendent level. This is why I fell in love with music. The next five minutes of this song are for reflection. To reflect on all of your friends and loved ones from the past. I assume If I was alone on an island this would become a favorite past time of mine, and this song would be there for those moments.

3. The Band – Up On Cripple Creek

This isn’t The Band’s best, but is certainly one of their most fun. The Band’s melodic embodiment of inebriation and Levon’s lyrical whimsy makes this track nearly impossible not to sing along to. Even if you can’t remember the verses you can always hop into this wonderfully playful refrain. This song is for those nights when the deserted island gets lonely. I would light a fire, grab a glass of coconut milk and hoot and holler with my eyes closed, letting Robbie, Rick, Richard and Garth fill the roll of all the friends I may never see again. I would put this song on repeat and let the night carry me away.

4. Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

Some days I would just need to dance and moonwalk around the island. Enough said.

5. Paul Simon – Graceland

Paul Simon once said that this was the best song he had ever written, and I can’t agree more. This is songwriting at its best. His guest list of South African musicians takes Paul Simon’s songwriting sensibility to another world. The pulsing rhythm and jangling guitars makes me feel reassured. Like the band is saying, “I know it’s hard, but everything is going to be okay.” The song starts with one man’s pilgrimage to Elvis’s Graceland. The story of a man starting over, halfway through life, but as the song develops it becomes something bigger. It becomes every man’s “fork in the road.” Every person’s tragedy is turned into an opportunity for rediscovery and rebirth. This song would be there to always remind me that everything is going to be okay.

6. Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision

One of the benefits of living on an island is always watching the sunset over the ocean. This is my song to usher in the night. This song just sits right in the middle and holds on for as long as it possibly can. Its lack of dynamics allows it to freeze whatever moment, and experience it for a prolonged time. This song is warm yet reflective. This song is my sunset.

7. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

The thing I would miss most while deserted on an island is the embrace of a woman. A slight kiss on the check, the breath on my neck, and the smell of her hair. This song is that tension before you get to know somebody physically. That fear of the unknown, and that leap of faith. This is the most examined part about love in music, other than losing it. No one has done it as well as Kate Bush. By the end of this song I am ready to throw everything away and abscond with Kate. This song would be reserved for the most lonely of nights.
MP3: “Hounds of Love” – Kate Bush

8. Bjork – Unravel

This song would be there for all the loved ones I left behind. My anger at circumstance juxtaposed with my desire to be with the people I care about. Its slow-paced nature allows that sense of loss to grow deeper and deeper. Bjork, despite the odds, continues to believe that she will make new love one day with this person. Though, she knows circumstance will never let that happen.

9. Vince Guaraldi Trio – O Tannenbaum

I may never see my family again and what better music to reflect on family more than Christmas music. Sweaters, fires, food, and loved ones are all that come to mind when Vince hits those first contemplative notes on the piano. This is my favorite Christmas song from my favorite Christmas album. Also, I’m assuming, like all hypothetical desert islands, that this one is tropical. I surely would begin to resent the perpetual summer and long for a white Christmas. This song would be for those days I caught a big fish and had a need to celebrate. I’d ask the rocks and sand around me, “would you care for more gravy?”
MP3: “O Tannenbaum” – Vince Guaraldi Trio

10. Brian Eno – The Big Ship

This song would only get one play on the iPod. Either on the day I was rescued or the day I knew I was going to die. It’s mediative and calming. Its subtle yet anthemic. Its the end to a movie, my movie. My movie about being on a deserted island with only 10 songs.

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