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Buzz Bands

April 29, 2004|Kevin Bronson

Plucked from the Internet

One minute you're in a garage in Whittier recording songs you barely know. Next thing you know, you're watching a major motion picture, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and Kirsten Dunst is dancing in her underwear to your song. Are you dreaming? Not if you're 19-year-old Richie Eaton, who with Jessica Reynoza, 19, and Alex Willow, 17, comprise the Anaheim punk band the Willowz.

"It's been pretty crazy," Eaton says. "These were the first songs I'd ever written, so it's amazing anybody liked 'em." It wasn't just anybody, though, it was "Eternal Sunshine" director Michel Gondry, who made his filmmaking mark by doing groundbreaking music videos for the likes of Bjork and the White Stripes. Gondry wanted a couple of raw-sounding tracks, but his first choice, the White Stripes, doesn't license songs for movies. So Gondry's assistant started trolling the Internet for sound-alikes. Bingo. "Something" and "Keep On Looking" are in the movie. Gondry even ended up directing the video for the Willowz song "I Wonder."

"We recorded the album in a couple days in a wet, freezing-cold garage," says Eaton, whose band (which opens for the Fall on May 14 at the Echo) plans to tour this summer before recording another album in the autumn. "Those songs are like our demos -- we were kind of making some of them up while we were recording.... So I honestly don't quite know what to make of it. I mean, it's hard to think about something you really didn't have any intentions for."

Fast forward

Not all roads lead to Coachella -- there are some enticing club shows for those who want a warm-up for the big festival or who can't attend. Tonight, the New York hipster Shout! DJs have a blowout at the El Rey Theatre featuring the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Tyde.... Also tonight, Paul McCartney sideman Rusty Anderson headlines the Roxy.... San Diego's daunting Black Heart Procession, which features ambient music whiz and Sigur Ros collaborator Jimmy Lavalle on bass, plays the Knitting Factory on Friday.... Likable locals the Like play the Troubadour on Friday night before opening up their May residency at Spaceland on Monday.... On Saturday night at the Hotel Cafe, there's a formidable quartet of singer/songwriters anchored by AM.... And From Bubblegum to Sky plays Spaceland on Tuesday to toast the release of a new album, "Nothing Sadder Than Lonely Queen."

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