Bring Back The Guns

Y’know, I like a fair number of bands in this town (as evidenced by how freakin’ long this page has gotten), but it’s still pretty rare that anybody just blows me away. Occasionally, though, it happens — and these guys’re one of the truly awesome few that’ve bowled me over. Bring Back The Guns (formerly known as Groceries, and before that known as Gandhi in Vegas, and known even for a really short while as “One Mighty Leg”) are one of the coolest bands I’ve ever seen/heard, from Houston or otherwise.

They also happen to be an indie-rock band, which means that chances are they won’t see major success while living here in H-town, even though they might well be the closest we’ve got to the Archers of Loaf, Spoon, or Pavement (the Houston Press Music Awards or two they’ve won(? been nominated for? can’t remember…) can’t hurt, tho’). Skewed, quirky, almost prog-rock-ish pop songs that’re smart as hell and won’t ever get played on the radio ’cause they’re too weird, peppered with a self-deprecating sense of humor. All nice guys, too. They’ve garnered some controversy over the past few years, and singer/guitarist/ringleader Matt Brownlie has become almost as well-known for his confrontational stage “persona” as for the actual music. But hey, what’s rock-n-roll without a little drama?

Either way, these guys have stuck it out a lot longer than I ever would’ve expected, and good for them, because they’ve remained a unique, uncompromising musical voice in this city. They’ve gone through a personnel change or two (their original bassist left to become an airline pilot, I’m told) and they’ve gotten increasingly complex with the songwriting, but it’s still damn good. As one fellow Houston musician noted to me once about Brownlie, it’s like he can write a brilliant, catchy, melodic pop song, but he knows he can, and since it doesn’t challenge him, he goes instead for something more complex while still keeping things infectious and interesting. Every time I see them, it’s impossible not to watch and smile, even if things go haywire (like they did at the ’05 Press Music Awards festival, when the power blew halfway through their second(?) song).

The band’s got an EP out as under the most recent of their old names Groceries, Knuckleheads & Icons, which is pretty darn good, and as of spring 2007 they’ve finally released their long-promised (as in, 2+ years long-promised) full-length, Dry Futures. And thankfully, it very much compensates for the lengthy wait, ’cause it’s freakin’ great. Beyond that, they’ve had two split-7″s that I know of, one with Drillbox Ignition and another with So Many Dynamos, and they’ve popped up on at least one compilation, the Demons & Rare Meat comp (Mission). They’ve also continued to play around town relentlessly and even charge out into the unknown to tour & make fans elsewhere, which is cool — hopefully they won’t go the way of so many other Houston bands, though, and skip town for more band-friendly climes…

Post by . This entry was posted on Saturday, August 4th, 2007. Filed under Past Bands.

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