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.
Bitch Magnet 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.
In January 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 “Valmead.”
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.
Bitch Magnet played its final show on December 30, 1990 in Holland at Groningen’s 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.