Wednesday, August 29, 2007


California quartet the Willowz bring their blend of garage-alt-folk rock to Chicago

by Dani Garcia

The Willowz have managed to pull off what few bands have: incorporate rock 'n' roll—in all its forms and manifestations, from garage rock to alt-folk to retro ballads—into one surprisingly cohesive sound. With hints of influences like punk, soul, and blues in their music, the Willowz could have made their niche in the music industry anytime from the 1960s through now.

Want proof? Pick up their latest album, Chautauqua (Dim Mack), which dropped earlier this year. "Nobody" is made up of psychedelic, fuzzy funk beats that any flower child could dance to, while "Jubilee" has more of a folksy, country twang in its melody—it's a song that you wouldn't be surprised to hear being played somewhere in rural Alabama. Which seems odd, considering Richie James Follin (vocals, guitar), Aric Christopher Bohn (guitar, vocals), Jessica Anne Reynoza (bass, vocals) and Loren Shane Humphrey (drums) are four young 20-somthings out of Anaheim, Calif.

You're probably more familiar with their sound than you think you are. Since their founding in 2002, their fans have come to include renowned filmmaker Michel Gondry. That scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when Kirsten Dunst's character is jumping on the bed? Cue the Willowz in the background. Gondry also asked them to join the soundtrack for The Science of Sleep last year ("Ulcer Soul" and "Making Certain"). Not bad for a fledgling indie rock-of-ages band.

The Willowz play the Double Door (1572 N. Milwaukee, 773/489-3160) August 31 with Detroit Cobras