Ignore the stupid name. Why these guys released their music under a moniker that sounds like something your cousin would have come up with for his shitty junior high school punk band, we may never know. Bitch Magnet only recorded for three short years from 1988 to 1990 and released an equal number of albums, but the impact they had on post-rock and early ’90s indie can’t be understated. Despite this, these releases remained largely out-of-print and criminally underheard. That should hopefully change now, with a new three-disc reissue that packages them all in one bundle.
Their debut EP, Star Booty, feels like an exploratory recording for the band, who are experimenting in a few different styles, with several tracks falling more into a Sonic Youth/Dinosaur Jr. heavy guitar-rock vein than the post-rock sound they’d help pioneer. It’s good, but it’s not what you’ve come for. Their debut full-length, Umber, is where it all begins to get real. By bringing in additional guitarists, Bitch Magnet cemented a melodic two-guitar approach that ranges from aggressive and sharp-cutting (“Motor”, “Navajo Ace”) to slow and, dare we say, pretty (“Douglas Leader”, “Americruiser”). Their final album, Ben Hur, follows in that latter mold, with the near-instrumental opening track “Dragoon” spreading across almost 10 minutes of sonic swerving and beautiful noise. The album spawned some minor success with single “Mesentery”, but it wasn’t enough to keep the band from splitting later that year.
Temporary Residence Limited has remastered the recordings and repackaged them with a bunch of previously unheard outtakes. The service they’ve done in making these nearly lost classics available again is downright admirable, turning out a set that’s a must-have for post-rock fans. Toss in that you can get all of it for the price of a single album? It’s a no-brainer.
Essential Songs: “Knucklehead”, “Motor”, “Douglas Leader”, “Dragoon”, “Mesentery”