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The Haul: Bravo Fucking Bravo and Ulrich Schnauss

Receipt of trip to Bull Moose Music in Salem, NH

I went up to Salem, NH to buy a tax-free iPhone (please don’t tell Deval Patrick), not tax-free records. But when I noticed that there was a Bull Moose Music location along the main drag, I convinced my friends to let me browse for a few minutes. I had a brief chat with the owner as he let me look through some just-in crates. When asked what I was interested in, I responded “post-punk” (“Midwestern indie rock” might be more accurate, but I’ve learned my lesson about relating micro-genres), and he recommended going to their Portsmouth location, since it had more vinyl stock. No, I did not immediately head up to Portsmouth.

This particular Bull Moose location had a solid punk/hardcore/metal vinyl section, as evidenced by my first purchase, and some tempting mark-down records, as evidenced by my second purchase. The used vinyl was all too familiar, however, consisting primarily of overpriced classic rock wax and those just-in crates of 1970s disco and 1980s dance-pop that a Madonna fan was thrilled to donate to the store. If only she’d liked Wire…

Bravo Fucking Bravo's self-titled LP

19. Bravo Fucking Bravo – Bravo Fucking Bravo LP – Friends Forever, 2003 – $5

Here’s how I knew of Bravo Fucking Bravo: my friend Charlie from This Flood Covers the Earth joined up with three of this group’s former members in Luau, but departed from that band before they played more than a few shows. Between the five-dollar price tag and the etched lyrics on the flip side, I was willing to take a rare shot at a hardcore record. I enjoyed This Flood Covers the Earth because of the prevailing Drive Like Jehu post-hardcore influence (they were from San Diego, after all), but Bravo Fucking Bravo relies less on those dynamic shifts and more on unrelenting forward propulsion. Apparently Bravo Fucking Bravo II, which came out in 2005, is the superior album, but I didn’t see that one at Bull Moose. I wish I had something more substantial to say about the music, but most hardcore (excluding some key 1980s groups like Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat) tends to blur together for me unless their prevailing outside influences are noticeable and something I’m more interested in.

Ulrich Schnauss's Passing By LP

20. Ulrich Schnauss – …Passing By LP – Domino, 2006 – $1

An Ulrich Schnauss twelve-inch marked down to $0.99 involves no decision-making brainpower—I didn’t even look at which songs were included—but I’ll apply some after the fact. “…Passing By” was originally included on Schnauss’s 2001 album Far Away Trains Passing By, so it’s hardly a logical candidate to push an EP five years later. The EP includes a song from his 2003 album A Strangely Isolated Place (which I recommend checking out) and from the Morr Music Slowdive tribute, but it’s not his cover of Slowdive, it’s his song inspired by Slowdive. Newsflash, Schnaussages: all of his songs are inspired by Slowdive. To cap this off, there’s a remix of a Strangely Isolated Place track by Mojave 3, i.e. the members of Slowdive. I understand that Schnauss hadn’t released an album in a few years and probably needed to remind audiences that he still existed before his vocal-equipped shoegaze album Goodbye came out in 2007, but typically these sampler EPs (Afghan Whigs’ Historectomy, Silkworm’s New School / Old School) are promo-only. Maybe what Domino needed to do was pull a Watery, Domestic or a Fake Train and just draw all over the cover of Slowdive’s Just for a Day. I would pay more than a dollar for that EP.