Blast First

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Blast First
Blast First logo.jpg
Parent companyMute Records
FounderPaul Smith
Distributor(s)Alternative Distribution Alliance (Back catalogue)
Caroline Distribution, PIAS (New catalogue)
GenreAlternative rock, indie rock, noise rock
Country of originUnited Kingdom

Blast First is a sub label of one-time independent record label Mute Records, founded in approximately 1985. It was named after a phrase taken from the first number of the radical Vorticist journal Blast, published by Wyndham Lewis in 1914. Lewis's "Manifesto" begins with the words "BLAST First (from politeness) ENGLAND".


The label was founded by Paul Smith to give UK release to albums by Sonic Youth, a US band with which he was then working closely. It went on to feature more hardcore rock bands than the master label of its synthpop-oriented parent company. Before Mute Records was sold to the EMI group, Blast First fit into the company's profile, which included labels such as the Fine Line and the Grey Area.

The labels employees included the sisters Pat and Liz Naylor,[1] and the novelist Alistair Fruish.[2]

The label released a range of alternative music from 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 Disobey experimental club nights, with Russell Haswell and Bruce Gilbert (aka DJ Beekeeper) of the Post-punk band Wire.


Compilation series[edit]

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

Noted albums[edit]

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

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Turner, Luke (25 April 2012). "How Soon is Now". The Quietus.
  2. ^ "Epic four-hour reading of Alistair Fruish's novel is a return to arts as resistance". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 9 February 2018.

External links[edit]