I don't even remember what caused me to pick up Handsome. Probably saw the cover in a friend's record stack and liked the art. I had likely just discovered the concept of "EPs", so that fits somewhere.
Hadn't heard anything like it. "Seam" was probably the song that really hooked me, and I listened to it over and over. Sheets of sound, kind of swampy cool, really deliberate pacing and vocals. Very Good.
First AmRep purchase. Also, "Antlers" off of the DG&F comp got much rotation.
I was excited when Roundhouse came out and I liked it well enough, though the songs seemed a little straighter and the sounds a little cleaner, a little smoother.
Kind of fell off radar a bit. Knew Jackson had come out but didn't get it until after I saw them for the first time. Live, incredible. The first time I had ever experienced such force of sound. An automatic must see live from then on.
IMHO, Jackson is the album that best represented / captured that live force. It is unrelenting and compelling, with songs as boats and vocals as skipper navigating the sea. A force of nature.
Subsequent albums, I really like many of the songs but they seem to be more sonically tempered to more traditional guitar rock sounds. I first felt this way with Clincher which had songs that I really liked and remembered from seeing them live, but the heft seemed absent.
But man, like someone said earlier, those non-album tracks from that time are a must have. Antlers, Compaction, Deep Throw, Solution 8/Non-alignment Pact etc. A great release on its own, or with Handsome.
Who wants to start a Stickkarter campaign?