Blast First  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Blast First is a sublabel of one-time indie label Mute Records, founded in approximately 1985. It was named after the first edition of the radical Vorticist journal Blast, published by Wyndham Lewis.



The label was founded by Paul Smith to give U.K. release to albums by Sonic Youth, a U.S. band with which he was then working closely. It went on to specialise in music at the more extreme end of the spectrum, and featured more hardcore rock bands than the master label of its synth pop-oriented parent company. Before Mute Records was sold to the EMI group, Blast First fitted into the company's profile, which included labels such as the Fine Line and the Grey Area.

The label released a range of alternative music from The Butthole Surfers and Labradford through Suicide and Sonic Youth to The William Fairey Band's Acid Brass collection. The latter, a departure for a label noted for its guitar based rock bands, was a covers album of tunes such as A Guy Called Gerald's "Voodoo Ray" and 808 State's "Pacific," all replayed by a brass band. Blast First also organised the highly influential Disobey experimental club nights, with Russell Haswell and Bruce Gilbert (aka DJ Beekeeper) of the punk band Wire.

Blast First Petite

After the sale of Mute to EMI, Paul Smith released a number of records on a new independent sublabel, Blast First Petite. Records on this label were insufficiently commercial to be released through Mute's deal with EMI Distribution.


Compilation series

  • Sonic Mook Experiment
  • The Devil's Jukebox (Nothing Short Of Total War) - deleted limited edition box set; 3000 U.K. copies and 1500 U.S. copies were made.

Noted Albums

Albums on Blast First that have either reached the UK Top 75 or have become prime examples of the indie/alternative genre:

(Note: Blast First was merely the U.K. label for these U.S. bands, which were all primarily signed to deals with American labels.)

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Blast First" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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