How is it that I have never written a full screed on this fantastic band?
I can't remember which one of my friends discovered Star Booty but it was directly after the first wave of getting into Big Black, Husker Du, Scratch Acid, the first couple Lemonheads records, Butthole Surfers, Minutemen etc.
I played the shit out of this record. Eight songs, so short, so infinitely repeatable.
The production never bugged me because there was no other output to measure it against, and you could tell it was LOUD, so much louder than some of the other music I enjoyed. I still hear the opening bass riff to "Carnation" clear as a bell, and then the feedback and then the drum fill into the song launching off, it is a clear and resounding recall that goes through my head regularly to this day, top five favorite starts to a record.
There certainly was a smartness to the music that I hadn't particularly keyed into before. My high school band was pretty verse/chorus/verse, without many additional flourishes. But for basic rock music, nothing was articulated as smartly as Bitch Magnet in my head at the time, especially given the magnificent propulsive architecture of the drums, which really set this little record apart, and helped (along with Bastro's Rode Hard And Put Up Wet to secure me on the road away from a majority of more "standard" music.
The following year firmly cemented me in this camp with the release of both Umber and Diablo Guapo. Both were revelations. The first time I heard Umber, I thought "Oh, right". The clarity of the recording was impressive, especially due to the amount of time I sunk into the EP. Edging right up against metal in sound signature, it existed in isolation to any other records (excepting the Bastro record, which pummels where Umber soars, not that either description doesn't cross-apply). It exists mostly in a flow of musical moods and movements in my head, not as a song-by-song album, but without a doubt the last 1-2 knockout punch of "Punch And Judy" into "Americruiser" perfectly encapsulate the edges of Bitch Magnet to me - the former utterly destroys, the latter, sublime and hints at the magnificence of "Dragoon".
Was slightly offput by the "Valmead b/w Pea" single, as it didn't hit quite as hard. However, when Ben Hur hit in full, it hit quite solidly, defining what little space was left for Bitch Magnet. "Dragoon" awoke what Spiderland would develop, Tortoise & Gastr del Sol would massage, and what Earth and Jerusalem / Dopesmoker would come to define.
And that this band could also produce "Mesentary", one of my top ten favorite songs on an album that was a direct line from the leap of Umber but somehow containing more brutal looks, more simple beauty.
Appropriate that they stopped. I don't know if they could have done much more without folding back upon themselves. I enjoyed the first three Seam releases (and the shows, particularly the brief minute when Bundy Brown and John McEntire were the rhythm section) and it was great to get more Jon Fine in Vineland and more Orestes on those two Walt Mink records.
But holy crap I still cannot believe that I get to see this music played live in a short period of time.
THE DRUMS THE DRUMS! THE EVERYTHING ELSE! THE DRUMS!