let the murky photo fool ya. BLURT can testify firsthand, having seen the band
a number of times in the late 80s: one of the best outfits ever to come out of Ohio/North
By Blurt Staff
Today may be April 1, but this is no joke,
kids: Bitch Magnet, the pioneering post-punk band from the 80s (and some of the
90s), will reunite at All Tomorrow’s Parties “Nightmare Before
Christmas” festival, which will take place Dec 9-11 at Butlins Holiday
Camp in Minehead, UK.
The show will
mark Bitch Magnet’s first live performance since 1990, and the first onstage
appearance of the band’s original recorded lineup – Orestes Morfín (drums), Sooyoung Park (bass and vocals) and Jon Fine
(guitar) – since 1989.
was formed in the fall of 1986 by Fine and Park, when the two were sophomores
at Oberlin College. In 1987, they convinced Morfín
– then known as Orestes Delatorre – to sign on.
1988, they recorded their debut mini-LP Star Booty in three days. The band self-released
it in the fall of that year on their Roman Candle label, and the band began
performing and building a following in key US cities. The pressing of 1,000
copies sold out quickly and the band was signed to The Communion Label in the US and Shigaku/What Goes On in the UK. Both labels
reissued Star Booty and released the widely-acclaimed Umber.
Amid a wave of
extraordinarily positive notices in the British and European press, the band
toured Europe, with Dave Galt and
Bastro/Squirrel Bait founder David Grubbs on guitar, in fall of 1989. Following
the tour, with Grubbs on guitar, the band recorded the single
The trio lineup
of Fine, Morfín, and Park reconvened in the early spring of 1990 to record what
would be their final album, the hugely influential Ben Hur. The album is now
often cited as a key inspiration for what would become known as
“post-rock.” The “Valmead” single cracked the Top 20 on the
British independent charts, and the band toured the US
and Europe that year.
played its final show on December 30, 1990 in Holland
Vera Club. After the band quietly split up, its video for Ben Hur’s
“Mesentery” garnered airtime on MTV in the US
and Europe. In 2004, Mojo magazine named Umber
one of its “Lost Albums You Must Own.”
Much like their
contemporaries in Slint, in the years following their breakup, Bitch Magnet has
been recognized as a significant influence on generations of aggressive and
musically complex bands, including Don Caballero, Rodan, June of 44 and Battles.