Reaping Willowz

Beer Drinkers in Space Showgirls: Fully Exposed Edition
Having a song tapped for a movie or TV show typically means a sudden windfall of cash is on the way. But most new artists really don’t like to play up the fact that their deeply personal tune about, say, overcoming heroin addiction was used during a make-out scene between two hot doctors on some prime-time hit.

But most up-and-coming musicians aren’t fortunate enough to have their songs spotlighted in works by one of their generation’s most innovative filmmakers. The Anaheim-based Willowz’s most dedicated fan is director Michel Gondry, who included some of their tracks in the hipster-approved films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep. Little surprise that the band is quite proud of this. “We didn’t even have a record out, and we were still in school,” says Willowz frontman Richie James Follin. “He pretty much gave us a chance to stop going to school. Whenever he comes to our shows, he’s in the front rocking out.” Gondry also directed a buzzed-about video for the group. He even picked up the tab. “He said he had a dream about one of our songs,” says Follin. “He drew it on a napkin for me.” The Willowz’s new CD, Chautauqua, was made at a house in upstate New York. The blurry indie-rock of the band’s previous two albums has mellowed into a lazier, almost-rustic groove this time around. Follin says the locale, plus being under the rootsy influence of the Band’s self-titled 1969 opus, contributed to the sound. “We recorded our other records in California, where our schedules would always get in the way,” he says. “All of the new songs just came together [in New York].” Yet, there’s still quite a bit of garage-based rattle and hum on Chautauqua. Follin says it’s a part of the Willowz that they’ll probably never shake -- even if they could. “We wanted to make a Pet Sounds,” he says. “It at least sounds more like an album than anything we’ve ever done.”
Sat., April 21, 9 p.m.

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