Part of the extended Squirrel Bait family tree, Bitch Magnet was one of two bands that guitarist David Grubbs joined in the wake of his departure. Unlike the other one, Bastro, Grubbs wasn't a charter member of Bitch Magnet, nor was he the leader; that duty fell to bassist/vocalist Sooyoung Park. Much like Bastro, however, Bitch Magnet played a blistering and intellectual brand of post-hardcore punk, which often drew comparisons to Steve Albini's Big Black; they were also grouped with a more direct Squirrel Bait descendant, Slint, albeit more relentless and somewhat less nuanced.
Sooyoung Park founded Bitch Magnet in 1986 while a student at Oberlin College in Ohio, joining with guitarist Jon Fine and drummer Orestes Delatorre (aka Orestes Morfin); despite their Oberlin roots, the trio was actually based in Chapel Hill, NC. Bitch Magnet signed with the indie label Communion and debuted in 1988 with the Star Booty 12" EP, which was produced by Steve Albini himself and earned the band some notice on the underground rock scene. For the follow-up, 1989's full-length Umber, they added second guitarist David Galt (a later CD issue appended Star Booty as well). Galt's place was taken by David Grubbs later in 1989, and Grubbs toured with the group in between commitments with Bastro. Grubbs appeared on the EP Valmead and on Bitch Magnet's final album, Ben Hur, both issued in 1990. After Bitch Magnet's breakup late that year, all four members went on to other projects: Park formed the acclaimed Seam; Grubbs returned to Bastro, which evolved into the seminal Gastr del Sol; Fine played with Vineland and Don Caballero; and Orestes Morfin resurfaced in Walt Mink. In 2011, the band's entire catalog was remastered and reissued by Temporary Residence, and the band -- Park, Fine, and Morfin -- accompanied the release with live dates in Europe, Asia, and during 2012, North America. ~ Steve Huey